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Master of Arts in Development

The M.A. Development programme aims to prepare individuals capable of informed and thoughtful development action. It enables students to become aware of the complexity, depth and scope of the discourse of development, its ethical imperatives and its implications for policy and action with special reference to the Indian context. It provides the conceptual rigour and sensibilities in students that would help them:

  • Acquire core understandings in and across the disciplines that contribute to the domain of development and relate them to situations on the ground;
  • Relate these conceptual frameworks to dimensions of development that are targets of public action and policy, such as health, education, livelihood and sustainability;
  • Provide students with opportunities to encounter and critically engage with instances of both challenging problems and attempted interventions;
  • Engage with the complex lived realities of people and communities;
  • Explore the ethical and personal dimensions in order to effectively locate themselves actively in the relevant fields of development.
Programme Design

The M.A. Development is designed as a 72-credit, postgraduate degree programme, requiring full-time engagement for four semesters in two academic years. The curriculum is broad-based and encompasses theory, practice and research relating to development.

  • The programme is structured with a common core curriculum that lays the foundations and a wide set of electives based on student preferences.
  • Each student will be required to study eight core courses (32 credits), a combination of elective courses (adding up to 24 credits), two open courses (4 credits), as well as three modules of Field Engagement (adding up to 12 credits).
  • In the second year of study, students have the flexibility to concentrate in specific areas of their choice. Concentration refer to a set of four elective courses totalling 12 credits, which together cover a specific development theme/topic/domain in a focused and well-rounded manner.

Core Courses: They set the context and provide the theoretical and analytical background for understanding the key debates and issues in the domains associated with development. They draw from selected disciplines to help in developing a deep understanding of the nature of development. They also equip the students with the basic skills required for effective action in this domain. In total there are eight core courses as shown above.

Electives: The elective courses are designed to build knowledge bases' - theoretical, practical or procedural -- in particular areas related to the development domain in general. They are meant to supplement and extend understanding acquired in the core areas through deeper engagement with specific aspects. Students may choose from a combination of 2, 3 or 4 credit electives to obtain the 24 credits required. In any given semester there will be a wide range of electives on offer. Electives cut across multiple areas related to Health, Livelihoods, Public Policy, Economics, Sustainability, Social movements, Social entrepreneurship etc. and are often cross-listed between the schools. So some electives offered from other schools may be available for students in the School of Development to take.

Open Courses: A well-rounded and balanced curriculum needs to include opportunities for students to explore areas of human and social interest. These range from cinema, theater, poetry, fiction to the sciences and other subjects of topical interest. In each semester there are a wide range of open courses offered.

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Field Engagements: Engagement with field practice forms an integral part of this master's programme. It will help students develop a deeper understanding of the practical implications of the conceptual understanding gained through their course work. The multiple opportunities for field engagement, starting from the first semester onwards, provide students with exposure to a variety of settings. The field engagements will allow students to introspect on their role as change agents in the development domain, as well as hone their skills in doing this effectively. We expect the experience of field engagements to build humility, empathy, optimism and a sense of anticipation for the future.

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Click here to download Field Practice Brochure

Course and Credit Structure
Core courses (Semester I and II) : 32 Credits
Electives (Semester III and IV) : 24 Credits
Field practice (Semester I - IV) : 12 Credits
Open courses (Semester I - III) : 4 Credits

Indian Economy and Development (04) Theories and Histories of Development (04) Elective 1 Elective 5
Ecology and Development in India (04) State, Democracy and Civil Society in India (04) Elective 2 Elective 6
Sociology of Modern India (04) Social Interventions (04) Elective 3 Elective 7
Foundations of Social Research and Reasoning (04) Methods for Social Research and Action (04) Elective 4 Elective 8*
Open Course 1 (02) Open Course 2 (02)
Field Immersion (2 Credits) Summer Field Internship (4 Credits) Winter Field Project (6 Credits)
20 22 15 15

  1. All core courses are of 4 credits each and covered in the first year of study.
  2. Elective courses are offered in the second year of study and will be of 3 credits each
  3. Students can opt for a Course of Independent study (CIS) in place of an Elective.

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