CSIR NET Exam 2021

Eligibility | Dates | Pattern | Syllabus

Last Updated on 12th October, 2021

National Testing Agency (NTA) conducts the CSIR NET exam twice a year annually in basically five subjects namely, chemical sciences, physical sciences, earth sciences, mathematical sciences, and life sciences. Each paper is fragmented into three parts A, B, and C, and each part contains a different number off questions. A total time duration of three hours is allotted to each paper. Each segment of the paper even carries varied negative markings as well.

The part A consists of the common question for all the papers such as questions from puzzles, reasoning ability, etc. while part B and C consists of questions from the concerned subject. The questions are all objective in nature in the form of MCQs. with the award of fellowship, candidates are awarded a specific amount of money required for their research project. While the candidates awarded lectureship can apply for the posts of lecturer in any Indian university or college.

Exam Highlights
Level of Exam Graduate, National Level
Exam Medium English, Hindi
Exam Frequency Twice in a year
Purpose of the Exam CSIR NET exam is conducted to select candidates for the award of Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) and for determining the eligibility of the candidates for selection to the posts of lecturers in Indian colleges and universities.
Conducting Body National Testing Agency
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CSIR NET Exam Eligibity Criteria 2021

  1. Nationality
  2. Candidate must be a citizen of India.

  3. Educational Qualification
    • M.Sc. or equivalent degree/ Integrated BS-MS/BS-4 years/BE/B. Tech/B. Pharma/MBBS with at least 55% marks for General (UR)/General-EWS and OBC candidates and 50% for SC/ST, Persons with Disability (PwD) candidates.
    • Candidates enrolled for M.Sc or having completed 10+2+3 years of the above qualifying examination as on the closing date of online submission of Application Form, are also eligible to apply under the Result Awaited (RA) category.
    • B.Sc (Hons) or equivalent degree holders or students enrolled in Integrated MS-PhD program with at least 55% marks for General (UR)/General-EWS and OBC candidates; 50% marks for SC/ST, Persons with Disability (PwD) candidates are also eligible to apply.
    • Candidates who have completed graduation in engineering or science background and have registered for Ph.D or Ph.D. integrated program within 2 years.

  4. Age Limit
  5. The upper age limit for CSIR NET Exam are:

    • JRF: Maximum 28 years.
    • Lectureship (LS)/ Assistant Professor: No upper age limit.

    However, there are age relaxations for candidates belonging to the reserved categories. They are given below in the table:
    Category Upper Age Limit
    JRF (SC/ST) 33 years
    JRF (PWD) 33 years
    JRF (OBC-Non Creamy Layer) 31 years

  6. Restrictions on Attempts
  7. There is no attempt restriction as long as candidate fulfills the age criteria.

CSIR NET Exam Important Dates 2021

Event Date
Starting Date of Application To be notified
Last Date of Application To be notified
Admit Card Download Date To be notified
Date of Examination To be notified
Date of Result To be notified

CSIR NET Exam Pattern 2021

Important points regarding the pattern of the exam:

  • There are a total of 5 subjects namely Chemical Sciences, Earth Sciences, Life Sciences, Mathematical Sciences and Physical Sciences.
  • The Test will consist of three parts.
  • All the parts will consist of Objective (Multiple Choice) questions.
  • There will be no break between papers.

Pattern for Chemical Science

A composite time of 3 hours is given for the Chemical Science exam.

Sl. No. Name of the Paper/Section Nature Nos. of Questions Question Type Duration Negative Marking Marks
1 Part A

This part shall carry 20 questions pertaining to General Science, Quantitative Reasoning & Analysis and Research Aptitude

Merit Ranking Nature 20 Objective (Multiple Choice) 0.5 30
2 Part B

This part shall contain 40 Multiple Choice Questions(MCQs) generally covering the topics given in the syllabus.

Merit Ranking Nature 40 Objective (Multiple Choice) 0.5 70
3 Part C

This part shall contain 60 questions that are designed to test a candidate’s knowledge of scientific concepts and/or application of the scientific concepts.

Merit Ranking Nature 60 Objective (Multiple Choice) 1 100
Total Marks* 200

*The total marks shown here are considered for merit ranking purposes.

Pattern for Earth, Atmospheric, Ocean and Planetary Science

A composite time of 3 hours is given for Earth Science exam.

Sl. No. Name of the Paper/Section Nature Nos. of Questions Question Type Duration Negative Marking Marks
1 Part A

This part shall carry 20 questions pertaining to General Science, Quantitative Reasoning & Analysis and Research Aptitude

Merit Ranking Nature 20 Objective (Multiple Choice) 0.5 30
2 Part B

This part shall contain 50 Multiple Choice Questions(MCQs) generally covering the topics given in the syllabus.

Merit Ranking Nature 50 Objective (Multiple Choice) 0.5 70
3 Part C

This part shall contain 80 questions that are designed to test a candidate’s knowledge of scientific concepts and/or application of the scientific concepts.

Merit Ranking Nature 80 Objective (Multiple Choice) 1.32 100
Total Marks* 200

*The total marks shown here are considered for merit ranking purposes.

Pattern for Life Science

A composite time of 3 hours is given for the Life Science exam.

Sl. No. Name of the Paper/Section Nature Nos. of Questions Question Type Duration Negative Marking Marks
1 Part A

This part shall carry 20 questions pertaining to General Science, Quantitative Reasoning & Analysis and Research Aptitude.

Merit Ranking Nature 20 Objective (Multiple Choice) 0.5 30
2 Part B

This part shall contain 50 Multiple Choice Questions(MCQs) generally covering the topics given in the syllabus.

Merit Ranking Nature 50 Objective (Multiple Choice) 0.5 70
3 Part C

This part shall contain 75 questions that are designed to test a candidate’s knowledge of scientific concepts and/or application of the scientific concepts.

Merit Ranking Nature 75 Objective (Multiple Choice) 1 100
Total Marks* 200

*The total marks shown here are considered for merit ranking purposes.

Pattern for Mathematical Science

A composite time of 3 hours is given for the Mathematical Science exam.

Sl. No. Name of the Paper/Section Nature Nos. of Questions Question Type Duration Negative Marking Marks
1 Part A

This part shall carry 20 questions pertaining to General Science, Quantitative Reasoning & Analysis and Research Aptitude.

Merit Ranking Nature 20 Objective (Multiple Choice) 0.5 30
2 Part B

This part shall contain 40 Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) generally covering the topics given in the syllabus.

Merit Ranking Nature 40 Objective (Multiple Choice) 0.75 75
3 Part C

This part shall contain 60 questions that are designed to test a candidate’s knowledge of scientific concepts and/or application of the scientific concepts.

Merit Ranking Nature 60 Objective (Multiple Choice) 0 35
Total Marks* 200

*The total marks shown here are considered for merit ranking purposes.

Pattern for Physical Science

A composite time of 3 hours is given for the Physical Science exam.

Sl. No. Name of the Paper/Section Nature Nos. of Questions Question Type Duration Negative Marking Marks
1 Part A

This part shall carry 20 questions pertaining to General Science, Quantitative Reasoning & Analysis and Research Aptitude.

Merit Ranking Nature 20 Objective (Multiple Choice) 0.5 30
2 Part B

This part shall contain 25 Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) generally covering the topics given in the Part ‘A’ (CORE) of syllabus

Merit Ranking Nature 25 Objective (Multiple Choice) 0.875 70
3 Part C

This part shall contain 30 questions from Part ‘B’ (Advanced) and Part ‘A’ that are designed to test a candidate’s knowledge of scientific concepts and/or application of the scientific concepts.

Merit Ranking Nature 30 Objective (Multiple Choice) 1.25 100
Total Marks* 200

*The total marks shown here are considered for merit ranking purposes.

CSIR NET Exam Syllabus 2021

Syllabus for Chemical Science

1 Part A

  • General Science,
  • Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis
  • Research Aptitude

2 Part B

Inorganic Chemistry:

  • Chemical periodicity
  • Structure and bonding in homo- and heteronuclear molecules, including shapes of molecules (VSEPR Theory).
  • Concepts of acids and bases, Hard-Soft acid base concept, Non-aqueous solvents.
  • Main group elements and their compounds: Allotropy, synthesis, structure and bonding, industrial importance of the compounds.
  • Transition elements and coordination compounds: structure, bonding theories, spectral and magnetic properties, reaction mechanisms.
  • Inner transition elements: spectral and magnetic properties, redox chemistry, analytical applications.
  • Organometallic compounds: synthesis, bonding and structure, and reactivity. Organometallics in homogeneous catalysis.
  • Cages and metal clusters.
  • Analytical chemistry- separation, spectroscopic, electro- and thermoanalytical methods.
  • Bioinorganic chemistry: photosystems, porphyrins, metalloenzymes, oxygen transport, electron- transfer reactions; nitrogen fixation, metal complexes in medicine.
  • Characterisation of inorganic compounds by IR, Raman, NMR, EPR, Mössbauer, UV-vis, NQR, MS, electron spectroscopy and microscopic techniques.
  • Nuclear chemistry: nuclear reactions, fission and fusion, radio-analytical techniques and activation analysis.

Physical Chemistry:

  • Basic principles of quantum mechanics: Postulates; operator algebra; exactly- solvable systems: particle-in-a-box, harmonic oscillator and the hydrogen atom, including shapes of atomic orbitals; orbital and spin angular momenta; tunneling.
  • Approximate methods of quantum mechanics: Variational principle; perturbation theory up to second order in energy; applications.
  • Atomic structure and spectroscopy; term symbols; many-electron systems and antisymmetry principle.
  • Chemical bonding in diatomics; elementary concepts of MO and VB theories; Huckel theory for conjugated π-electron systems.
  • Chemical applications of group theory; symmetry elements; point groups; character tables; selection rules.
  • Molecular spectroscopy: Rotational and vibrational spectra of diatomic molecules; electronic spectra; IR and Raman activities – selection rules; basic principles of magnetic resonance.
  • Chemical thermodynamics: Laws, state and path functions and their applications; thermodynamic description of various types of processes; Maxwell’s relations; spontaneity and equilibria; temperature and pressure dependence of thermodynamic quantities; Le Chatelier principle; elementary description of phase transitions; phase equilibria and phase rule; thermodynamics of ideal and non-ideal gases, and solutions.
  • Statistical thermodynamics: Boltzmann distribution; kinetic theory of gases; partition functions and their relation to thermodynamic quantities – calculations for model systems.
  • Electrochemistry: Nernst equation, redox systems, electrochemical cells; DebyeHuckel theory; electrolytic conductance – Kohlrausch’s law and its applications; ionic equilibria; conductometric and potentiometric titrations.
  • Chemical kinetics: Empirical rate laws and temperature dependence; complex reactions; steady state approximation; determination of reaction mechanisms; collision and transition state theories of rate constants; unimolecular reactions; enzyme kinetics; salt effects; homogeneous catalysis; photochemical reactions.
  • Colloids and surfaces: Stability and properties of colloids; isotherms and surface area; heterogeneous catalysis.
  • Solid state: Crystal structures; Bragg’s law and applications; band structure of solids.
  • Polymer chemistry: Molar masses; kinetics of polymerization.
  • Data analysis: Mean and standard deviation; absolute and relative errors; linear regression; covariance and correlation coefficient.

Organic Chemistry

  • IUPAC nomenclature of organic molecules including regio- and stereoisomers.
  • Principles of stereochemistry: Configurational and conformational isomerism in acyclic and cyclic compounds; stereogenicity, stereoselectivity, enantioselectivity, diastereoselectivity and asymmetric induction.
  • Aromaticity: Benzenoid and non-benzenoid compounds – generation and reactions.
  • Organic reactive intermediates: Generation, stability and reactivity of carbocations, carbanions, free radicals, carbenes, benzynes and nitrenes.
  • Organic reaction mechanisms involving addition, elimination and substitution reactions with electrophilic, nucleophilic or radical species. Determination of reaction pathways.
  • Common named reactions and rearrangements – applications in organic synthesis.
  • Organic transformations and reagents: Functional group interconversion including oxidations and reductions; common catalysts and reagents (organic, inorganic, organometallic and enzymatic). Chemo, regio and stereoselective transformations.
  • Concepts in organic synthesis: Retrosynthesis, disconnection, synthons, linear and convergent synthesis, umpolung of reactivity and protecting groups.
  • Asymmetric synthesis: Chiral auxiliaries, methods of asymmetric induction – substrate, reagent and catalyst controlled reactions; determination of enantiomeric and diastereomeric excess; enantio-discrimination. Resolution – optical and kinetic.
  • Pericyclic reactions – electrocyclisation, cycloaddition, sigmatropic rearrangements and other related concerted reactions. Principles and applications of photochemical reactions in organic chemistry.
  • Synthesis and reactivity of common heterocyclic compounds containing one or two heteroatoms (O, N, S).
  • Chemistry of natural products: Carbohydrates, proteins and peptides, fatty acids, nucleic acids, terpenes, steroids and alkaloids. Biogenesis of terpenoids and alkaloids.
  • Structure determination of organic compounds by IR, UV-Vis, 1H & 13C NMR and Mass spectroscopic techniques.

Interdisciplinary topics

  • Chemistry in nanoscience and technology.
  • Catalysis and green chemistry.
  • Medicinal chemistry.
  • Supramolecular chemistry.
  • Environmental chemistry

3 Part C

The questions shall be of analytical nature where a candidate is expected to apply the scientific knowledge to arrive at the solution to the given scientific problem.

Syllabus for Earth, Atmospheric, Ocean and Planetary Science

1 Part A

  • General Science,
  • Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis
  • Research Aptitude

2 Part B

The Earth and the Solar System:

  • Milky Way and the solar system.
  • Modern theories on the origin of the Earth and other planetary bodies.
  • Earth‟s orbital parameters,
  • Kepler‟s laws of planetary motion,
  • Geological Time Scale;
  • Space and time scales of processes in the solid Earth, atmosphere and oceans.
  • Radioactive isotopes and their applications.
  • Meteorites Chemical composition and the Primary differentiation of the earth
  • Basic principles of stratigraphy.
  • Theories about the origin of life and the nature of fossil record.
  • Earth‟s gravity and magnetic fields and its thermal structure:
  • Concept of Geoid and, spheroid; Isostasy.

Earth Materials, Surface Features and Processes:

  • Gross composition and physical properties of important minerals and rocks; properties and processes responsible for mineral concentrations; nature and distribution of rocks and minerals in different units of the earth and different parts of India.
  • Physiography of the Earth; weathering, erosion, transportation and deposition of Earth‟s material; formation of soil, sediments and sedimentary rocks; energy balance of the Earth‟s surface processes; physiographic features and river basins in India

Interior of the Earth, Deformation and Tectonics

  • Basic concepts of seismology and internal structure of the Earth.
  • Physico-chemical and seismic properties of Earth‟s interior.
  • Concepts of stress and strain.
  • Behaviour of rocks under stress;
  • Folds, joints and faults.
  • Earthquakes – their causes and measurement.
  • Interplate and intraplate seismicity.
  • Paleomagnetism, sea floor spreading and plate tectonics.

Oceans and Atmosphere

  • Hypsography of the continents and ocean floor –continental shelf, slope, rise and abyssal plains.
  • Physical and chemical properties of sea water and their spatial variations.
  • Residence times of elements in sea water.
  • Ocean currents, waves and tides, important current systems, thermohaline circulation and the oceanic conveyor belt.
  • Major water masses of the world‟s oceans.
  • Biological productivity in the oceans.
  • Motion of fluids, waves in atmospheric and oceanic systems.
  • Atmospheric turbulence and boundary layer.
  • Structure and chemical composition of the atmosphere, lapse rate and stability, scale height, geopotential, greenhouse gases and global warming.
  • Cloud formation and precipitation processes, air- sea interactions on different space and time scales.
  • Insolation and heat budget, radiation balance, general circulation of the atmosphere and ocean.
  • Climatic and sea level changes on different time scales.
  • Coupled ocean-atmosphere system, El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO).
  • General weather systems of India, – Monsoon system, cyclone and jet stream, Western disturbances and severe local convective systems, distribution of precipitation over India.
  • Marine and atmospheric pollution, ozone depletion.

Environmental Earth Sciences

  • Properties of water; hydrological cycle; water resources and management.
  • Energy resources, uses, degradation, alternatives and management;
  • Ecology and biodiversity.
  • Impact of use of energy and land on the environment.
  • Exploitation and conservation of mineral and other natural resources.
  • Natural hazards.
  • Elements of Remote Sensing.

3 Part C

Geology

  • Mineralogy and petrology
  • Structural geology and geotectonics
  • Paleontology and its applications
  • Sedimentology and stratigraphy
  • Marine geology and paleoceanography
  • Geochemistry
  • Economic geology
  • Precambrian geology and crustal evolution
  • Quaternary geology:

Applied geology

  • Remote Sensing and GIS:
  • Engineering Geology
  • Mineral Exploration:
  • Hydrogeology:

Physical Geography

  • Geomorphology
  • Climatology
  • Bio-geography
  • Environmental Geography
  • Geography of India

Geophysics

  • Signal Processing
  • Field theory
  • Numerical analysis and inversion
  • Gravity and Magnetic fields of the earth
  • Plate Tectonics and Geodynamics
  • Seismology Elastic theory
  • Gravity and Magnetic Methods
  • Electrical and Electromagnetic Methods
  • Seismic Methods
  • Well logging:

Meteorology

  • Climatology
  • Physical Meteorology:
  • Atmospheric Electricity
  • Cloud Physics
  • Dynamic Meteorology
  • Numerical Weather Prediction
  • General Circulation and Climate Modelling
  • Synoptic Meteorology
  • Aviation Meteorology
  • Satellite Meteorology

Ocean sciences

  • Physical Oceanography
  • Chemical Oceanography
  • Geological Oceanography
  • Biological Oceanography

Syllabus for Life Science

1 Part A

  • General Science,
  • Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis
  • Research Aptitude

2 Part B

  • Molecules and their Interaction Relevant to Biology
  • Cellular Organization
  • Fundamental Processes
  • Cell Communication and Cell Signaling
  • Developmental Biology
  • System Physiology – Plant
  • System Physiology – Animal
  • Inheritance Biology
  • Diversity of Life Forms
  • Ecological Principles
  • Evolution and Behavior
  • Applied Biology
  • Methods in Biology

3 Part C

The questions shall be of analytical nature where a candidate is expected to apply the scientific knowledge to arrive at the solution to the given scientific problem.

Syllabus for Mathematical Science

1 Part A

  • General Science,
  • Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis
  • Research Aptitude

2 Part B

  • Analysis
  • Linear Algebra
  • Complex Analysis
  • Algebra
  • Topology
  • Ordinary Differential Equations (ODEs)
  • Partial Differential Equations (PDEs
  • Numerical Analysis
  • Calculus of Variation
  • Linear Integral Equation
  • Classical Mechanics
  • Descriptive statistics,
  • exploratory data analysis

3 Part C

  • Analysis
  • Linear Algebra
  • Complex Analysis
  • Algebra
  • Topology
  • Ordinary Differential Equations (ODEs)
  • Partial Differential Equations (PDEs
  • Numerical Analysis
  • Calculus of Variation
  • Linear Integral Equation
  • Classical Mechanics
  • Descriptive statistics,
  • exploratory data analysis

Syllabus for Physical Science

1 Part A

  • General Science,
  • Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis
  • Research Aptitude

2 Part B

I. Mathematical Methods of Physics

  • Dimensional analysis.
  • Vector algebra and vector calculus.
  • Linear algebra, matrices,
  • Cayley-Hamilton Theorem.
  • Eigenvalues and eigenvectors.
  • Linear ordinary differential equations of first & second order,
  • Special functions (Hermite, Bessel, Laguerre and Legendre functions).
  • Fourier series,
  • Fourier and Laplace transforms.
  • Elements of complex analysis, analytic functions;
  • Taylor & Laurent series; poles, residues and evaluation of integrals.
  • Elementary probability theory, random variables, binomial,
  • Poisson and normal distributions.
  • Central limit theorem.

II. Classical Mechanics

  • Newton’s laws.
  • Dynamical systems,
  • Phase space dynamics, stability analysis.
  • Central force motions.
  • Two body Collisions – scattering in laboratory and Centre of mass frames.
  • Rigid body dynamicsmoment of inertia tensor.
  • Non-inertial frames and pseudoforces.
  • Variational principle.
  • Generalized coordinates.
  • Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formalism and equations of motion.
  • Conservation laws and cyclic coordinates.
  • Periodic motion: small oscillations, normal modes.
  • Special theory of relativity
  • Lorentz transformations, relativistic kinematics and mass–energy equivalence.

III. Electromagnetic Theory

  • Electrostatics: Gauss’s law and its applications,
  • Laplace and Poisson equations, boundary value problems
  • Magnetostatics: Biot-Savart law,
  • Ampere’s theorem.
  • Electromagnetic induction.
  • Maxwell’s equations in free space and linear isotropic media; boundary conditions on the fields at interfaces.
  • Scalar and vector potentials, gauge invariance.
  • Electromagnetic waves in free space.
  • Dielectrics and conductors.
  • Reflection and refraction, polarization,
  • Fresnel’s law, interference, coherence, and diffraction.
  • Dynamics of charged particles in static and uniform electromagnetic fields.

IV. Quantum Mechanics

  • Wave-particle duality.
  • Schrödinger equation (time-dependent and time-independent).
  • Eigenvalue problems (particle in a box, harmonic oscillator, etc.).
  • Tunneling through a barrier.
  • Wave-function in coordinate and momentum representations.
  • Commutators and Heisenberg uncertainty principle.
  • Dirac notation for state vectors.
  • Motion in a central potential: orbital angular momentum, angular momentum algebra, spin, addition of angular momenta;
  • Hydrogen atom.
  • Stern-Gerlach experiment.
  • Timeindependent perturbation theory and applications
  • Variational method.
  • Time dependent perturbation theory and Fermi’s golden rule, selection rules.
  • Identical particles,
  • Pauli exclusion principle, spin-statistics connection.

V. Thermodynamic and Statistical Physics

  • Laws of thermodynamics and their consequences.
  • Thermodynamic potentials,
  • Maxwell relations, chemical potential, phase equilibria.
  • Phase space, micro- and macro-states.
  • Micro-canonical, canonical and grand-canonical ensembles and partition functions.
  • Free energy and its connection with thermodynamic quantities.
  • Classical and quantum statistics.
  • Ideal Bose and Fermi gases.
  • Principle of detailed balance.
  • Blackbody radiation and Planck’s distribution law.
  • VI. Electronics and Experimental Methods

    • Semiconductor devices (diodes, junctions, transistors, field effect devices, homo- and hetero-junction devices), device structure, device characteristics, frequency dependence and applications.
    • Opto-electronic devices (solar cells, photo-detectors, LEDs)
    • Operational amplifiers and their applications.
    • Digital techniques and applications (registers, counters, comparators and similar circuits).
    • A/D and D/A converters.
    • Microprocessor and microcontroller basics.
    • Data interpretation and analysis.
    • Precision and accuracy.
    • Error analysis, propagation of errors.
    • Least squares fitting,

3 Part C

  • Mathematical Methods of Physics
  • Classical Mechanics
  • Electromagnetic Theory
  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Thermodynamic and Statistical Physics
  • Electronics and Experimental Methods
  • Mathematical Methods of Physics
  • Classical Mechanics
  • Electromagnetic Theory
  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Thermodynamic and Statistical Physics
  • Electronics and Experimental Methods
  • Atomic & Molecular Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Nuclear and Particle Physics

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