United Academy

Master of Philosophy (MPhil) Program in Nepal

January 27, 2021
Last updated September 21, 2021
KMC Lalitpur

 

MPhil (Master of Philosophy) is a postgraduate degree meaning one enrolls in any MPhil program after completing the master’s level. It is universal that the MPhil degree is highly research-intensive and usually paves the way for a PhD program. Many universities around the world have an integrated MPhil-PhD program, which can be enrolled in right after completing master’s level and is usually a 3-5 year program at the end of which students are granted a PhD degree.

Nepali Universities and MPhil program

MPhil is a fairly new program in Nepal compared to the rest of the world as the modern education system only started gaining momentum after the advent of democracy post-1990s. The program in Nepal is guided by the University Grant Commission (UGC). UGC is responsible for publishing ‘minimum standard and procedure for MPhil and PhD Degree’, aimed at bringing uniformity and maintaining the quality of both the degrees awarded by universities of Nepal. MPhil is often perceived as a pre-qualifier for a PhD degree by the majority in the country. Tribhuvan University Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (TUFOHSS) has made it compulsory to acquire MPhil Degree in order to be eligible for a PhD. 

Almost all universities have a fixed duration for the MPhil program, which is 18 months except for Mid- Western University’s MPhil program in Management, which can extend up to 21 months depending on the research requirements.

Evaluation process

Usually, universities around the world evaluate applicants’ research/project proposals as a mandatory requirement for MPhil. In comparison, universities in Nepal do not require a research/project proposal beforehand for a standalone MPhil degree or MPhil leading to a PhD. Far Western University, an exception to this trend, requires applicants to submit a statement of purpose of 500 words and a writing sample of 1000-1500 words for both standalone MPhil degree applications and an integrated MPhil/PhD program. Nonetheless, all universities also evaluate you based on how strong your commitment is to academic research the course demands. And a Master’s degree in the relevant field with university-specific score criteria is a mandatory requirement among Nepali universities. Along with these, applicants must complete the entrance examination process that includes a written test and an interview. Most of the selection is made on a merit basis. Applicants applying to Purbanchal University and Mid-Western University (MWU) are also required to have professional work experience. Most of the selection is made on a merit basis. However, candidates with an MPhil degree are exempted from certain research-related coursework when applying for a PhD. Tribhuvan University (TU) also exempts candidates from submitting three additional research articles, which otherwise is mandatory for PhD application.

A detailed review of the universities and their MPhil practices can be found below:

Tribhuvan University

Tribhuvan University (TU) has standalone MPhil and direct Ph.D. programs across its departments. For an MPhil degree, a master's degree in the relevant field with at least a second division is a mandatory requirement for all disciplines. For MPhil in Management, a two-year work experience is required additionally, and for MPhil in Public Administration, a mandatory sponsorship by the employer along with a two-year work experience is the criteria. Applicants are also required to face entrance examinations including written tests and interviews. 

Kathmandu University

Kathmandu University (KU) offers MPhil under its three different schools; School of Education, School of Management, and School of Science. The University also offers standalone and direct PhD programs across its departments. A master’s degree in the relevant field with a CGPA of at least 3.0 out of 4.0 or 50% aggregate is the common requirement of all faculties for MPhil applicants, along with an entrance examination consisting of a written test followed by an interview. Some departments under Kathmandu University School of Science (KUSOS) evaluate students based on the research proposal and entrance interview but no written entrance test for MPhil degree programs. Kathmandu University also provides part-time MPhil programs of 36 months.

Purbanchal University

Purbanchal University (PU) offers MPhil in Management at the Purbanchal University School of Management (PUSOM). The MPhil program at PUSOM aims at preparing students for research and consultancy and thereby making them eligible for enrollment in the PhD Program of the Faculty of Management, Purbanchal University. The program is thus designed in a way to facilitate the transition into PhD. Applicants are required to have acquired a master's degree in Management or Commerce or Business Administration or Economics with second division or CGPA of B and have a professional experience of at least three years. Upon the completion of the degree, the candidates will be provided with a certificate but can continue with their PhD.

A candidate who has completed MPhil or equivalent courses from a recognized University and met entry requirements of the Faculty of Management will be allowed to directly enroll for Ph.D. However such candidates will be required to undertake the course on Research Proposal Writing and Defense required for the enrollment in the Ph. D. Program.

Pokhara University

The only MPhil program offered by Pokhara University (PU) is MPhil in English under the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Institute of Advanced Communication, Education, and Research (IACER). The University accepts candidates with a master’s degree in any discipline.

Mid-Western University

Mid-Western University School of Management (MUSOM) conducts the only MPhil program offered by the University. MPhil in Management requires applicants to hold a master’s degree in the relevant discipline with a CGPA of at least 2.5 out of 4.0 or 50% in aggregate along with a two-year professional experience after completion of their master’s degree. Applicants with a CGPA of at least 3.0 out of 4.0 or at least 60% are required to have acquired one year of work experience and no work experience is required for the applicants with a CGPA of at least 3.5 out of 4.0 or at least 70%. Even though MPhil is also provided as a standalone degree, it is considered a prerequisite for PhD at Mid Western University (MWU). The MPhil degree has been designed to serve as an academic transition into PhD. The PhD program enrolls students who hold a master's degree in relevant discipline but are only upgraded once they complete credit requirements to clear the MPhil level while maintaining a 3.5 CGPA through the first two semesters. If the criteria don't meet, the students will only receive an MPhil degree, but if the upgrade does occur, they will be considered PhD candidates. MWU also allows anyone with an MPhil degree from a recognized university to enroll in a PhD program.

Far-Western University

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and Faculty of Education all together provide three MPhil options at Far-Western University (FWU). All these options are not standalone MPhil or direct PhD options, but rather the degrees are offered under an integrated MPhil-PhD program (MPhil leading to PhD). Applicants are required to apply with a statement of purpose (500 words) and a writing sample/ research paper (1000-1500 words) besides a master’s degree in any relevant discipline from a recognized university with a minimum CGPA of 3.0 out of 4.0 or second division in aggregate. The minimum three-year program starting with coursework is designed to culminate into a thesis/ dissertation that can extend up to 5 years. FWU boasts of cross-faculty academic engagements as well as the possibility of inter-faculty grade transfer in relevant domains. Students are upgraded to PhD once they complete their MPhil level after completing 30 credit hours out of 60. Meaning after two semesters of coursework consisting of 12 credits, each student is required to carry out a dissertation of 6 credit hours in the third semester. This leads them to acquire an MPhil degree. Only after acquiring an MPhil degree, a student is upgraded to enroll in a PhD program.  

Nepal Open University

Nepal Open University (NOU) offers an MPhil program in three disciplines across two faculties. Faculty of Social Sciences and Education offers MPhil in Education and Social sciences whereas, Faculty of Science, Health and Technology offers MPhil in Information and Communication Technology (ICT). An applicant is required to hold a master’s degree in any discipline with a CGPA of at least 2.7 out of 4.0. Students with a master’s degree in any other discipline besides a master’s degree in education, Pedagogical Sciences, and Educational Studies are required to take up an additional three-credit introductory course.

Others

Nepal Sanskrit University (NSU), Agriculture and Forestry University (AFU), and Lumbini Buddhist University (LBU) do not offer any MPhil program but have direct PhD programs under most of their faculties. Students with an MPhil degree applying for a PhD degree at these universities are exempted from some academic coursework. Similarly, Rajarshi Janak University (RJU) does not have any MPhil or PhD programs available yet.

MPhil in Nepal suffers the same fate if not worse than any other educational program in the country. The governmental measures have often come under criticism for spending the resource capacity largely in advancing the number of programs while quality in terms of the new and existing programs stands largely inept. The same measures when it comes to MPhil or most of the higher educational degrees fall short at improving both quality and quantity. With much of the higher education sector still reeling under both material as well as human crunch, a swift transformation of the country’s educational system seems highly unlikely.

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