MA in Development

Batch of

Understand the complexities of development and its challenges in India.

Development as a word and idea structures so much of the world which we live in. Its agendas shape the way we access the basic necessities of everyday life and view the world. But it is a concept fraught with conflicting viewpoints. 

How do we begin to understand it? Many approaches have emerged over time in the evolution of development as a domain of knowledge and practice. We see development as the creation of conditions that can improve the quality of human life.

We think that the most important aspect of development needs to be in the creation of a life of equity, dignity, happiness and justice, for present and future generations of people who live in this country. 

We believe in equipping you with the ability to call into question current trends, think of long-term perspectives, and envision a desirable future.

To understand the nuances of development

We ensure that you understand the complexities of development and its diverse meanings and practices, especially the complex challenges of development in India in the twenty-first century. We equip you to contribute to India’s growing need for individuals who can engage with challenges to further pluralism, democracy and justice.

To work with a diverse and experienced faculty

Our faculty and research staff come from diverse backgrounds: social justice movements, development management and academics. They engage in research and projects across different agencies in areas concerning the development of India’s futures. Your time in the classroom is enriched by their extensive experience in the field.

On the ground with Azim Premji Foundation

You will benefit from working in close association with Azim Premji Foundation which has been working with six state governments in India in shaping and implementing policies and programmes at the grassroots. 

India has daunting developmental challenges. We face malnutrition, public health crises, poor quality education and agrarian distress. Intervention in many of these challenges require a holistic understanding of Indian society, its institutions, policies and the ways in which developmental challenges have been dealt with elsewhere. There are a number of meaningful work opportunities you can choose to engage with after you graduate.

A variety of organisations: from NGOs to CSRs

You can work in a variety of organisations: non governmental organisations, community based organisations and civil society organisations. There are national and international campaigns, social movements, banks, philanthropic foundations, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) units of corporate bodies and of course, government missions and United Nations’ organisations.

At local, national or international levels

Development interventions take place in multiple sites and scales. They can be local, national, or international. They can be in the shape and form of policy, programmes, movements, campaigns, institution, model buildings and so on.

Mobilising change

Your role can vary from directly mobilising communities for behaviour change, building lasting community institutions, district level programme oversight, to policy analysis, programme design and evaluation.

Be a social entrepreneur

We need social entrepreneurs capable of innovative thinking are needed to ideate, create and implement path-breaking solutions to social problems.

MA Development Field Project Fair 2022

Course structure

Our courses are structured to help you synthesise different approaches to development. You will use tools to work in multiple settings – whether with government bodies, social movements or grassroots organisations.

Our programme will help you articulate a historically and socially grounded understanding of India’s development experiences and understand the evolution of development thought, practices and critiques.

Your time in this programme will not be restricted to the classroom: we encourage you to engage with the complex lived realities of individuals and communities as sites of development knowledge and practice.

Our core courses draw from selected disciplines for you to develop a deep understanding of the nature of development. They will set the context for key debates and equip you with the basic skills required for effective action.

You will learn the pattern and history of what came to be called socio-economic development’. You will critically appraise policies and practices of development that have emerged in the last seven decades in India. We throw light on India’s development experience and experiences of individuals, communities, civil society and the state in influencing these processes.

Building on the core courses, the programme offers you a chance to deepen your understanding and competencies in a wide range of issues. We offer a large set of courses that help you deepen your understanding of theoretical, practical or procedural aspects of development. 

We offer perspectives on globalisation, employment, nutrition, land, disaster, sustainability, agriculture and livelihoods. Ours is a model of study that is conceptual, analytical and action-oriented.

Our electives vary from semester to semester and across academic years. Check in with your teachers about what is on offer at the beginning of your course work.

This is an indicative list. 

The field’ is a diverse set of social and cultural contexts and lived realities across the country. These are areas where development activities and actions routinely intervene. As part of your study, you will step out from the domain of theories and ideas in the classroom and into the field to learn of practical realities and gain experience of participative and empathetic action.

You will relate concepts you learn in the classroom with the lives of different communities and places.

Learn the history and evolution of cinema as art forms, watch film noir, or appreciate the music of Indian films. Walk through the city to experience it with a new lens or understand the built world around us in a class on architecture for non-architects to. Talk about Indian classical dance in dialogue with a dancer. What wrought Carnatic music into the form it exists in today? Listen to music, read science fiction, star gaze, write poetry, or explore the city in which you live.

In our open courses, you can explore one or two courses outside of your main progamme. You will work with visiting faculty who are artists, writers and experts in the field spanning literature, the fine arts, cinema, science, and history. 

We offer creative courses for you to choose from every semester. Courses are updated each year. 



All Programme faculty →


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