Friday, May 24, 2024

New HEC Policy Removes MS/MPhil Programs Leading to PhDs

The Higher Education Commission (HEC) is at the center of the controversy because it has unilaterally introduced a new policy to allow applicants to take up doctoral studies after their BS degree.

Under the new policy (the document is available with Dawn), candidates with a BS degree or similar degree may be accepted to a PhD programme and may obtain a degree in another discipline as well. The policy eliminates the need to submit PhD dissertations for examination to international experts and dissertations can now be submitted to Pakistani experts as well.

The stakeholders, including academics and public and private sector university administration, reported that none of them had been consulted by the Commission when drafting and launching the new PhD policy.

Under the new policy, after completion of the Bachelor’s degrees, students will obtain a Ph.D. degree. Nevertheless, this is just a minimum requirement and universities are free to establish their own structures for admission.

A PhD degree would have a maximum length of eight years, with a minimum of three years. During their PhD studies, students would need to spend at least two years in their home country.

Universities with fewer than 10 years of existence have been prohibited from beginning advanced Ph.D. programmes according to the latest policy paper, and further admissions to these programmes have been forbidden. More than two Ph.D. programmes a year have also been barred from being initiated by universities.

In addition, the minimum CGPA required to apply for a doctoral degree is 3.0 (in the semester system) or First Division (in the annual system) in the most recent degree of the candidate.

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