MA in Public Policy and Governance

Bringing together the fields of public policy and governance to advance our understanding of public problem-solving in India. 


Understanding complex public problems and designing effective solutions for them are challenging tasks. A public problem may be a garbage crisis in the neighbourhood, potholes on public roads, or the role of black money in elections. In a country like India, these problems accumulate and feed into larger issues, ranging from crises in the health sector, public infrastructure or even corruption.

We take a novel approach and bring together the fields of public policy and governance to advance our understanding of how to solve problems. We make it our work to build a practice around the ways in which we as a nation can understand and talk about issues of public interest. 

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Our interest is in implementing effective solutions and design actions around our collective endeavours as a human society.

We help you become critical and analytical about the challenges in public affairs, and train you to develop meaningful and equitable solutions to contemporary problems.

A blend of theory and practice

We offer you a well-grounded understanding of the theoretical frameworks, practical challenges and institutional arrangements that are important to a holistic understanding of public policy. You will develop the ability to critically analyse ideas and practices that shape public policy programmes and policies. We help you identify and frame governance problems and create programmatic solutions for impactful research. 

Work with experienced faculty

Our faculty and research staff are engaged in research and policy projects with government and non-governmental agencies and in projects concerning areas of public policy and governance and bring their extensive experience to the classroom. 

Association with Azim Premji Foundation

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

We hope that this course will help you become a reflective practitioner of public affairs. 

The interdisciplinary nature of our programme helps you approach a problem from several vantage points. You will be able to:

  • Work with government, inter-governmental organisations and organisations working with the government in regulatory roles.
  • Work with civil society organisations, development organisations, non-governmental organisations and social entrepreneurships engaged in evaluation, monitoring and other aspects of programme operations.
  • Carry out research and advocacy on issues of public policy and governance.
  • Pursue academics through an advanced academic degree.

Course structure

This programme is a mixture of lectures, seminars, workshops and field visits. You will have to take on independent study and write a dissertation. Make sure you do some additional reading and prepare for discussions and your projects. 

We offer you a foundational understanding of key ideas in public policy and the Indian state and an appreciation of the four pillars – the Constitution, state authority, the economy, and public policy. 

You will develop a rigorous understanding of the essential values upon which the Indian Constitution was designed. We take you through the form and manner of the distribution of resources by the government, the use of political authority by the Indian state and the fundamentals of public policy in India. We adopt an unorthodox and interdisciplinary approach in our courses.

Our elective courses help you deepen your knowledge in the core sectors of public policy and governance. You will understand sectoral practices and contexts and how things work in the real world. We offer perspectives from the inside world of policy and governance and from the view of practitioners in the field. We offer courses in urban governance, water and sanitation, land governance, social enterprise, development finance, legal system reform, technology and citizenship.

Practice in the fields of law, governance and policy is a complex mechanism that brings together several disciplinary domains. The field is shaped by social, cultural, political, religious and other points of views, and none of these perspectives is absolute. In India, with weakly coordinated institutional arrangements, limited political agendas, socio-economic disparities, the condition is more complicated. Practical problems do not have perfect solutions. 

In this section of your course work, we animate what you learn in the classroom by taking you the contexts and places you study to learn how policy happens in practice. You will describe contemporary public problems through exposure to grounded field experience. Your ability to analyse and apply concepts for framing interventions in policies will emerge from empirical methods of conducting research. As a result of this field practice, you will develop a clear view of the challenges faced by institutions and organisations engaged in the practice of law and policy. 

Why did Esperanto emerge as a language? What goes into the making of a documentary film? Ever wondered whether bamboo is a grass, food, or a tool for furniture? 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: 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. 

Total 72 credits