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M.A. Development



M.A. in Development

The M.A. Development Programme offers a deep understanding of development and social change and enables you to develop capabilities for action.

After successful completion of the programme, you can look forward to a variety of roles such as Program Associates/Managers, Domain Specialists, Researchers and other exciting roles in organisations working in the domains of livelihoods, sustainability, public health, social entrepreneurship, financial inclusion, advocacy, etc. About 90 organisations visit the campus every year for recruitment. Our alumni are working in established organisations like PRADAN, Foundation for Ecological Security, Gram Vikas, BAIF, State Livelihood Missions, Kudumbashree, among others.


The M.A. Development requires full-time engagement for two academic years, including one summer and one winter break. The curriculum is broad-based and encompasses theory, practice and research relating to development.

  • In the first year, students study eight core courses which help provide a foundational understanding of ‘development’ in the Indian context. During the first semester, students go on a two-week ‘Field Immersion’ where they live in a rural area to observe and learn about ground realities.
  • In the summer break between first and second year, the students are expected to do a guided field internship for six weeks. This internship helps students understand the nature of development actions on the ground, their objectives and challenges.
  • In the second year of study, students choose courses from a wide range of electives. Students interested in focusing on specific domains can select from a set of ‘concentrations’ available. Concentration refer to a set of four elective courses, which together cover a specific development theme/topic/domain in a focused and well-rounded manner.
  • During the winter break in the second year, students are expected to complete a field project on a topic of their interest. The field project is designed under the guidance of a faculty mentor, but conducted by the student independently in the field.

Core Courses: The core courses will set the context and build foundational understanding and appreciation of key developmental concepts, theories and methods as relevant to examining the Indian development experiences. These courses are expected to provide adequate knowledge, competencies and orientations to embark on a deeper exploration of specific themes and practices in development. These courses are mandatory for all students.

Electives: Elective courses will build upon the concepts, ideas, theories and methods learnt in the core courses to deepen and broaden the understanding about a wide variety of specific, topical and relevant local and global development issues. Elective courses will enhance two broad competencies, namely critical analysis and imaginative practice. These electives cover a range of topics – Gender, technology, public health, Sustainability, Globalization, Policy and Programmes, Poverty, Water etc. Typically, 50-60 electives are on offer each year.

Click here for a glimpse of Electives offered in the 2 nd  year of study.

Concentrations: Within the wide range of electives, the M.A. Development Programme offers students a choice to opt for concentrations. A concentration refers to a set of four elective courses totaling 12 credits, which together cover a specific development theme/topic/domain in a focused and comprehensive manner. Illustrations of concentrations could include Work and labour in contemporary India, Food and Nutrition in Development, Social Sector Organizations: Forms and Actions, Sustainability for development practice, Gender and development etc. Concentrations will be offered on a year to year basis, depending on students’ interest, topicality of the issues and faculty availability. A student can choose more than one concentration across the two semesters.Click here to know more.

Open Courses: These courses allow students to explore the arts, culture, the sciences and other subjects of interest. Students are required to enroll in two courses from a wide range of subjects such as literature, art, cinema, epics, science, history, dance etc. based on their interest. About 10- 15 open courses are offered each semester.

Field Practice: Field Practice refers to multiple field engagements over two years which expose students to people’s lives in diverse social, economic and cultural contexts. Field Practice will complement the students’ learning in the class room and offer opportunities for experiencing diverse kinds of development action spaces as sites of knowledge, experience and imagination.

Click here to download Field Practice Brochure

Course and Credit Structure

* Students can opt for a Course of Independent study (CIS) in place of an Elective.

Click here for a glimpse of Electives offered in the 2 nd  year of study.


  • M.A. in Development

    India has daunting developmental challenges - An alarming number of children suffer from stunted growth; Nearly 50 per cent of Indian women are anaemic, a large percentage of school-going children are unable to learn anything useful in spite of being in school for a long time; farmers are struggling for decent income; decent jobs are rare, water is scarce in many cities, pollution is already a menace in almost all urban Indian centres.

    These are just some of the problems. Addressing them requires a different set of skills and knowledge.

    It demands - A holistic understanding and Study of:

    1. Indian society, its people and their culture,
    2. Various institutions and structures that influence people's lives,
    3. Existing government policies at work, and
    4. How some other countries have addressed similar problems.

    This learning may be broadly defined as Development education.

    Development interventions now take place in multiple sites and scales — local, national and international, in the shape and form of policy, programmes, movements, campaigns, institution, model buildings etc.

    1. Development professionals are recruited by local NGOs, CBOs, national level CSOs, national and international campaigns, social movements, banks, philanthropic foundations, CSR units of corporate bodies and of course, government missions and UN organisations.
    2. Their roles vary from directly mobilising communities for behaviour change, building lasting community institutions, district level programme oversight, to policy analysis, programme design, Programme evaluation.
    3. Social entrepreneurs capable of innovative thinking are needed to ideate, create and implement path-breaking solutions to social problems.
    Our Major recruiters are:
    Aajeevika PRADAN
    Srijan FES
    Arghyam BAIF
    Vrutti Gram Vikas
    Pravah Selco Foundation


Student speak


Faculty speak

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Field engagements are integral to the curriculum of all programmes of the University. The opportunity for students to closely interact with the Field Institutions helps students to develop a deeper understanding of the practical implications of educational understanding gained through the academic programmes.

We are happy to present the third edition of the Sustainability Newsletter from the School of Development. This edition presents nine stories from the two months long independent projects done by the Sustainability specialization students of MA (Development) 2017-19 batch. This newsletter presents nine cases among them, including the impact of unprecedented floods in Kerala, displacement by coal mines of Telangana, ponds in Shahdol, new highway usurping farm lands near Chennai, wetland ecosystems of Kolkata and Chennai, waste management in Mumbai, renewable energy in Delhi and urban farming in Hyderabad. The analyses in the stories presented here reflect the interdisciplinary lens that the specialization imparts.

Hope you find this newsletter interesting and informative.

Click here to download the report

The Winter Field Projects Fair is a critical component of field engagement in the M.A. Development curriculum. It allows third semester students to take the initiative to imagine and engage with a development project of their interest in a rigorous and systematic way over a period of 7 months [August - February]. This entire duration, which is closely guided by faculty mentors, is marked by developing a project proposal, being in the field for a period of eight weeks, followed by analysis, report writing and poster presentation during the field project fair.

The project fair held on February 06-07, 2019 witnessed 162 students presenting across 21 thematic sessions to a wide variety of audience including students across programs in the university, faculty, and representatives from partner organizations. This report is a compilation of the summary and reflections of each of the sessions by student rapporteurs.

Click here to download the report

Azim Premji University Winter Fair

Click here to download Field Practice Handbook

Click here to download Field Practice Brochure (M.A. Development)

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