Published: 25th June 2021
Madras University says 'so long' to the MPhil, axes course in all colleges from 2021-22
The course had increasingly become redundant but was being seen as a bridge for researchers who weren't able to get a PhD guide and admission immediately
In a move that will dent the safety net that a great many research scholars have had in the past, the University of Madras has decided to scrap all its MPhil degrees as of this academic year, 2021-22. In a notice sent to all the departments, colleges affiliated to them and research institutions that function under their purview, the Registrar-in-charge, Dr N Mathivanan, did not give any reason for the move — instead explaining that the decision had been taken during a Syndicate meeting held on June 18. Even autonomous colleges will have to withdraw the programme.
The notice said, "Therefore, I am to convey that from this academic year onward, admission to MPhil programmes will not be entertained and allowed in the university departments, affiliated colleges and research institutions."
The notice also clarified that existing students would be allowed to complete their programmes without any trouble, as long as it was within the timelines set by the varsity for the course.
Why was the MPhil important? Or not? The MPhil was long considered a bridge course to students who wished to pursue a PhD, but weren't able to get into a programme right after their masters programs. A great many students have depended on the MPhil programmes and stipends to keep things going as they attempt to clear the JRF and allied exams. However, the UGC had issued a notice a few years ago stating that the focus would be on doctoral courses that fostered research and innovation and sought to do away with the year-long MPhil programme over time.
Madras University has merely brought the axe down first. It remains to be seen how many others read the NEP literally and decide that the MPhil is an excess from an age that has passed us by, that was well past its sell-by date.