ABOUT THE PROGRAMME
The Master of Arts in Public Policy and Governance is a 2 year full time degree programme that systematically and critically explores the nature and practice of complex public problem solving in a developing constitutional democracy.
We aim to equip our graduates to make purposive, pragmatic, ethical and humane interventions in response to pressing problems based on a critical and rigorous understanding of the institutional environment and grammar of public action.
The programme draws on the disciplines of law, economics, history, philosophy, politics and anthropology to devise an interdisciplinary curriculum that encourages deep ethical reflections on public choice, sophisticated empirical analysis of policy choice and programme implementation and field engaged insight into the experience of the everyday Indian state.
The common complaint that the lack of political will in India is why poverty, malnutrition and illiteracy are endemic
obscures the challenge of adequate knowledge for public action. Responses to public problems in India adopt one of two approaches: social scientific frameworks that develop complex explanatory models or techno-managerial frameworks that emphasise the design and choice of solutions. These approaches are individually both necessary but not a sufficient basis for public action.
The Master of Arts in Public Policy and Governance is a novel programme that integrates
the fields of public policy and governance to advance our understanding of public problem solving in India.
Students begin with an appreciation of the foundational constitutional norms and values and its impact of public choice,
the history and justification for political authority and the roles of the state and the market in the allocation of scarce resources.
Further, they engage with the analytical models of the policy process and the empirical research methods
necessary to analyse and explain the success or failure of public interventions.
WHAT WILL YOU LEARN?
The Master of Arts in Public Policy and Governance (MPG) will prepare students to become critical and analytical thinkers who can develop effective and equitable solutions to public policy and governance challenges.Through a carefully designed curriculum, students will be able to:
- Critically analyze the ideas, mechanisms, practices and outcomes that shape public policy problems, programs and policies;
- Identify and frame governance problems, provide purposive programmatic solutions, and undertake critical and impactful governance research;
- Become reflective practitioners in public affairs and pursue careers in the government, development organizations, social enterprises, think tanks, the media and other agencies involved in public affairs.
The M.A. Public Policy and Governance is a full-time two-year year, four- semester programme of 72
credits with credit distribution as follows
i. Twelve core courses 36 Credits – In Semester I, II, III
ii. Seven Electives, 21 Credits – Semester III and IV
iii. Two Open courses, 4 Credits – may be taken in any semester
iv. Field practice, 11 Credits– All semesters and semester breaks
Core courses adopt a multi-disciplinary approach to understand and examine policy and
governance in India and build methodological capacity to analyze and contribute to these domains. They
draw from disciplines such as Anthropology, Economics, History, Law, Political Science, Public
Administration, Sociology, and Statistics which are foundational to the understanding of Public Policy and
Governance domains. They cover the various facets of Public Policy and Governance to prepare students
with the knowledge, skills and temperament to subsequently engage with specific sectors and themes.
Concurrently, methodological courses equip students to identify and define problems, examine underlying
causal and interpretive processes and use sophisticated techniques for policy and governance research. All
12 core courses are worth 3 credits each
First semester courses overview the four pillars – the Constitution, State Authority, the Economy, and Public Policy – which provide the foundation for Governance functioning and Public Policy practices.
The first course explores the fundamental principles and norms that make up the Constitutional Foundations of State Institutions in India and how they in turn guide and constrain the Indian State in its everyday functions. What is the basis behind institutional and constitutional design – i.e. dividing up the power and authority of the Indian state horizontally (between the Legislature, Executive, and Judiciary) and vertically (between the Centre and the States) and how does this in turn limit and enable collective action?
Having gained a critical understanding of the foundational values that guide the Indian Republic, what naturally follows is to examine what has been India’s record of how it has wielded its authority? The State and Governance in India course provides an analytical and historical overview of the functioning of the Indian state as seen through its basic functions and certain critical roles. However, it is not always necessary that what the state proposes, society disposes or vice versa. The course will also examine the limits and pressures upon state authority across its various functions.
Of primary concern within governance is how the state goes about allocating resources especially in a developing country such as ours. The State, Market and Economy course will address the fundamental economic problem of allocation of scarce material resources through market institutions as well as state and non-state institutions and how they map on to concerns over equity and efficiency. Starting with classic ideas of market failure and the multiple logics of state intervention in the economy, the course explores public policy through the lens of expenditure, taxation, production, and regulation.
Many questions and concerns mentioned above are eventually hammered out as Public Policy in India. This course will introduce the subject and its relevance in contemporary India, explain what makes for Public Policy and its administration, what are the basic frameworks that inform the policy process and also what are some basic premises that explain how policies change to achieve transformation.
The final course in the first semester compliments our critical exposure to the primary domains by helping students to independently ascertain public policy and governance problems. The Data, Research Design and Descriptive Methods course introduces students to qualitative and quantitative methods that can help to identify and frame public policy and governance puzzles. Methods of data generation and management, elements of research design, and methods of qualitative and quantitative data description and an introduction to the analysis software ‘R’ are taught as part of the course.
The second semester courses provide a granular understanding of contexts outlined in the first semester. For example, moving beyond the constitution, what values enshrine our institutions and associated decision making? The course titled Values and Ethics in Public Affairs is designed around the following two questions: When one designs institutions and makes public policy decisions, is the right prior to the good? Further, how does one develop a politically acceptable approach to governance and public policy issues in the light of widespread disagreement on the design of institutions and the modes of decision making? This course will introduce students to philosophical foundations of public policy to help the better understand and resolve public policy debates.
Having studied the rationale behind the authority and design of our public institutions, the focus then shifts to understanding the processes that follow from such an architecture. The Processes of State Action course examines the primary modes through which the State acts: legislation, executive action and adjudication. These modes are seen through primary implementation functions such as regulation, procurement and welfare provision. Further, students will develop an analytical approach to understanding decision making and begin to appreciate the conditions under which everyday decision making occurs.
A parallel theme to understanding state action is to understand how it is experienced everyday by its citizens. The Everyday State in India course is an inquiry into the quotidian practices of state institutions and of governance, by extending the focus from a molar, unified state to the the idea of the state in India as disaggregated and locally grounded. A deeper understanding of the nature of modern state within the Indian society enables students to appreciate complex social conditions of workings of public policies on the ground, and challenges faced by practices of governance.
A common institutional practice is the operationalization of public purposes as programmes. The Programme Evaluation course will study outputs and outcomes of policy based programmes, and evaluation is critical for designing and operating effective programmes. This course will help students understand the concepts and methods of evaluation and equip them with skills used as evaluation tools and results to improve programme and policy performance.
Complimenting programme evaluation, the Causal and Inferential Methods course emphasizes the statistical techniques typically employed to understand and evaluate the effects of interventions on policy and governance outcomes. Familiarity with statistical modes of reasoning and the ability to employ appropriate quantitative techniques to data is essential for students to critically evaluate extant research, generate empirically testable policy and governance questions, evaluate empirical evidence systematically, and arrive at valid inferences about public affairs.
Having grasped the foundational elements of Public Policy and Governance in the first year of the programme, the second year core courses round off the core elements of the programme.
The Policy Analysis course analyses different ways of diagnosing policy problems and developing preferred options. It will study policy making and resource allocation given various options. This consists primarily of techniques for forecasting and comparing policy options as well as assessment of institutional alternatives for delivery.
The State Transformation and Governance will examine the theories of governance that have emerged in the wake of the changing role of the state. As the idea of the centralized state began to change in the past few decades under the pressure of globalization, liberalization and civil society movements, the concept of governance has acquired new interpretations. This course will acquaint students with debates, events and conflicts which have shaped the fundamental frameworks for understanding state transformation.
And finally, the Research and Policy Communication course will enable students to critically evaluate policy and governance studies and develop multiple communication skills in policy and advocacy. Students will be able to critically evaluate the design, outcomes, and implications of extant policy and governance studies. Students will learn the practical aspects of policy communication such as writing policy briefs and position papers as well as the tools and strategies of policy advocacy.
All electives are in the second year and will allow students to extend their understanding of the foundation disciplines, deepen their methodological training as well as develop domain expertise in particular fields. An illustrative list of electives will comprise courses on urban/rural governance, e – governance, gender, health, education, environment, budgeting, taxation, public finance, strategic planning, machine learning for public policy etc. Students will have to take 7 electives (21 credits) offered across the third and fourth semester.Elective courses aim to serve three purposes. First, the courses should help to deepen and widen knowledge in core sectors that comprise the Public Policy and Governance domains. Second, the courses will be designed to help students to understand the sectoral practices and contexts in a manner that will ease their transition into the ‘real world’. And third, electives will aim to offer perspectives from the ‘inside’ of the policy and governance worlds, i.e. knowledge that is developed within practitioner spaces not immediately accessible to academic engagement. Courses focused on water and sanitation, urban governance, land governance, social enterprises, development finance, legal system reform, technology and citizenship, and energy sufficiency are currently being developed as elective offerings.
Students who are interested in academic pursuits in the field of public policy may choose to write a dissertation for six credits in lieu of two of the seven elective courses. The aim of the dissertation is to build students’ ability in analytical thinking and academic writing. Through the dissertation writing process student are also expected to demonstrate their ability to apply and integrate knowledge obtained from the courses and the field. The dissertation writing process will consist of a proposal submission, and the writing and defence of the final dissertation.
Students can choose to do a faculty-guided independent study, in the fourth semester, in lieu of one elective course. This gives students the freedom to go beyond the syllabus and explore a topic of their interest, in depth. They will have the freedom not just to define the topic of their study but also to shape the course work and the parameters for evaluation. However, students who have opted for dissertation will not be allowed to do an independent study.
MPG students are required to study two courses (4 credits) which are outside the main policy and governance curriculum. Open Courses are on a wide range of subjects such as literature, arts, cinema, epics, science, history, dance and so on. These courses help student expand their intellectual horizon by engaging with topics and questions which they would otherwise have no chance to study as part of their mainstream curriculum.
Rigorous field-engagements and internships have been designed as part of the programme to help students learn by observing how policy works in practice. The field engagement, comprising 11 credits, will have the following components:
| Field Practice Units
|| Duration / Timing
|Law and Policy Hub(4 credits)
|| 8 Wednesdays through the first and second semester and 3 weeks in the first winter break.
|Summer Internship (3 credits)
||6 weeks between Semester II and III
|Winter Field Project (4 credits)
||8 weeks between Semester III and IV
Law and Policy Hub:
Through the hub projects students will learn to identify and understand a real-world public problem according to a theoretically-informed protocol. The objective of this unit is to provide students with sufficient and systematic immersive exposure to the nature of public problems and the sites of public problems, which would include both institutions of the state and points of interface between the citizens and public institutions. Having got their exposure to the site of public policy students will also identify and understand a real-world policy intervention and study it in-depth. This is expected build their understanding of how policy interventions work in the real-world situations.
Four of the 11 credits will come from Law and Policy Hub projects which students will undertake across the first two semesters including the first semester break. Through the hub projects students will learn to identify and understand a real-world public problem according to a theoretically-informed protocol. The objective of this unit is to provide students with sufficient and systematic immersive exposure to the nature of public problems and the sites of public problems, which would include both institutions of the state and points of interface between the citizens and public institutions. Having got their exposure to the site of public policy students will also identify and understand a real-world policy intervention and study it in-depth. This is expected build their understanding of how policy interventions work in the real-world situations.
Click to know more about the law and policy hub projects 2018-19.
(a) The six-week-long first internship will be in a range of organisations which work on policy
and governance issues. The students will choose their organisations in consultation with
the field co-ordinators from SPG and the field team of the University. The field co-
ordinator will work with the organisations to ensure that the students get to work on
specific tasks so that they can “learn by doing” in a real-world, work-life situation.
Students will submit a report reflecting on their learning during the internship which will
be evaluated. Structured feedback based on this evaluation will help prepare students for
the second internship which will be for eight weeks during the second winter break
(between third and fourth semester).
(b) The objective of the second internship help them build on the learnings from the first
internship by providing an opportunity to learn by applying what they have learnt in the
class-room and the field-engagements in an organisational set-up. Further, the second
internship also aims to connect students with the networks of policy practice and
organisations. As such the second internship is largely student-driven and is for 4 credits.
The MA in Public Policy and Governance will allow students to hone their skills in policy and governance research, analyses and advocacy. The interdisciplinary nature of the programme will equip students with sufficient skills to approach a problem from multiple vantage points. The programme will develop the capacity of students to be reflective practitioners in public affairs through the following career paths:
- Work with government, inter-governmental organizations and organizations working with the government in various regulatory roles
- Work with civil society organizations, development organizations, non-governmental organizations and social entrepreneurships engaged in evaluation, monitoring and other aspects of programme operations
- Opt for careers in research and advocacy on issues of public policy and governance
- Pursue a career in academia through an advanced academic degree
Understanding complex public problems and designing effective solutions for them are challenging tasks. There is no single social-science or management subject which addresses this.
A public problem may be something as basic as garbage crisis in the neighbourhood, potholes on the roads or the dominance of money power in elections. But finding solutions to problems like these is neither simple nor straightforward as experience shows us.
A number of subjects like political science and public administration do deal with public affairs in general but their central focus is not solving these public problems or analysing how public institutions go about solving such problems. It is this gap which Public Policy as a subject of inquiry seeks to fill.
MPG graduates are engaged in challenging careers:-
- Working in the Public-government sector in Program Implementation for national and subnational schemes;
- Non-profit organisations for Measuring Impact, Monitoring and Evaluation of programs;
- Political-consulting for Policy Research and Campaign Management advise to political candidates and parties;
- Academics as Research associates.
A common theme across all these job roles is the application of policy analysis, program evaluation, research and consulting, development of program-level strategy, performance measurement and managing a network of stakeholders and leading project teams. Organizations hiring MPG graduates look for candidates with excellent communication skills, analytical abilities, and managerial skills and above all—an appreciation, passion, dedication, and aptitude to understand complex public policy processes, articulate governance challenges, strategize for community mobilization and issue-based campaigns, and the ability to deliver results by navigating inter-governmental administrative structures.
Some of the organizations where our students are employed-
|Tata Trusts (Zilla Swatch Bharat Prerak)
||Government of Andhra Pradesh (Rural Prosperity Mission)
|Foundation for Ecological Security (FES)
||Government of Jharkhand (State Livelihood Mission)
||Indian Political Action Committee (IPAC)
||Center for Financial Accountability
||Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives
||Deloitte Social Impact