Interviews are held twice a year at NCL (usually in May/June and November/December) to screen and then accept students who have qualified the NET / GATE exam. Following their clearing the interview, the selected students then find guides from among the NCL scientists. This involves the selected student interacting with NCL scientists in fields of his/her interest, and finding a scientist who is willing to accept and guide the student. Following this, the students then join the research group of the scientist as a junior research fellow (JRF). After having spent a minimum of two years as a JRF, the student can then be upgraded to the status of a senior research fellow (SRF). Subsequent to that the student becomes eligible to get a PhD. after a minimum of two years as an SRF.
During the course of his/her PhD., the student receives training and mentorship in his/her chosen field from the guide (and co-guide, if he/she opts for more than one guide). In addition to this, the student is also expected to attend coursework. If the student registers for his/her PhD. under the ACSIR, then a minimum of 16 credits of coursework has to be cleared by the student. Furthermore, the student also has to clear two compulsory proposal related courses: 401 and 402. In the 401 course, the student has to submit a proposal on a subject unrelated to his/her field. This proposal is reviewed by a committee, before which the student has to then defend the proposal. The same procedure is followed for the 402, with the sole difference that, in this case, the student has to submit a proposal on a subject related to his/her field. In addition to this, PhD. students also have to clear the 800 level course, which involves spending a few weeks doing field activities outside NCL, in appropriate locations selected by CSIR. Finally, the Ph.D student has to submit and defend a thesis for the work during th eduration of his/her PhD.