PG Diploma in Research for Social Action

Postgraduate Diploma in Research for Social Action

Harnessing the power of research for social change


Azim Premji University’s Postgraduate Diploma in Research for Social Action aims to enhance the capacity of the social sector in doing research and analysis with the purpose of advancing its use in planning, communication, mobilisation, and advocacy. 

While the social sector makes significant contributions to processes of social change, it is equally necessary to build adequate capacities in the sector to leverage the power of research in forwarding and deepening the possibilities of social action. 

The Research for Social Action programme, therefore, aims to adapt research to the everyday needs of the social sector rather than for academic outcomes, making it useful to social organisations in planning and meeting their mandates.

The programme will help participants to:

  1. Undertake practical hands-on work to appreciate the importance of research for social action.
  2. Deepen skills of research design, data collection, and analysis relevant to organisations and communities.
  3. Develop abilities to leverage such knowledge generated for appropriate social actions.

Early to mid-career professionals with 2 – 10 years of work experience from social sector organisations, social movements, thematic action networks, activist groups, and development media. 

The programme is not open to those working outside the social sector. 

Participants must have a Bachelor’s degree in any discipline, and have a working knowledge of English.

  • One year part-time programme offered in a blended mode, combining on-campus and online components.
  • Competency building in conceptualising, executing, and analysis of field research alongside skills of leveraging it for social action.
  • Designed for early career social sector professionals engaged in programme implementation or campaigns, activism, or journalism.
  • Participants can choose to obtain a Diploma by completing the first 6‑month Certificate and any two 3‑month Certificates. Alternatively, participants can choose to complete individual Certificates without aiming for a Diploma.
  • Graduate in any discipline
  • 2 – 10 years of experience in social sector work in project implementation, activism, journalism, communication, and law, preferably at the field level
  • Working knowledge of English
Application Process

Step 1: Application form (Online)

Step 2: Written Test (Separate for Diploma and Certificate programmes) 

Step 3: Panel Interview


Fee for one-year Diploma programme:

The one-year Diploma programme (24 credits) includes one mandatory core course (Certificate 1) and any two of the three elective courses (Certificates 2,3 and 4). The total fee is INR 70,000 (incl. GST).

Fees for the Certificate programmes:

Certificate 1: Basic Research Skills for Development Practitioners (12 credits) – INR 40,000 (incl. GST)

Certificate 2: Quantitative Analysis and GIS (6 credits) - INR 20,000 (incl. GST)

Certificate 3: Research Communication for Social Action (6 credits) – INR 20,000 (incl. GST)

Certificate 4: Advanced Qualitative Research for Development Practitioners (6 credits) — INR 20,000 (incl. GST)

The fees for both Diploma and Certificate programmes include tuition fees, accommodation fees (for the on-campus components) and GST. Other expenses such as travel, food, etc. will have to be borne by the participant.

Financial assistance will be considered upon request. The decision will be at the discretion of the University.

Address: Azim Premji University, Survey No. 66, Burugunte Village, Bikkanahalli Main Road, Sarjapura, Bengaluru — 562125

E‑mail: admission.​pgd@​apu.​edu.​in

Mobile: 8951978091 

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Programme Calendar (Tentative)*

S.No.Title of certificateOn campus (Bengaluru)Online
1Basic Research Skills for Development Practitioners (03 July – ⁠16 December 2023)03 – ⁠15 July 2023, 25 September – ⁠08 October 2023 Saturdays during 22 July – ⁠16 September 2023, Weekends during 23 October – ⁠16 December 2023 (Project)
2ELECTIVE CERTIFICATE: Quantitative Analysis and GIS (08 January – ⁠06 April 2024)08 – ⁠19 January 2024Saturdays during 03 February – ⁠06 April 2024
3ELECTIVE CERTIFICATE: Research Communication for Social Action (15 April – ⁠06 July 2024)15 – ⁠26 April 2024Saturdays during 04 May – ⁠06 July 2024
4ELECTIVE CERTIFICATE: Advanced Qualitative Research (15 Jul – ⁠06 Oct 2024)15 – ⁠26 July 2024Saturdays during 03 Aug – 05 October 2024

*Above dates are indicative and may change slightly. Dates will be re-confirmed one month in advance of each Certificate.

Course structure

The PG Diploma will be offered as a year-long programme, in a blended mode with online and face-to-face classes.

  • The programme consists of three certificate programmes: One mandatory of 6‑month duration, and two Elective Certificates of 3‑month duration each.
  • For the Elective Certificates, participants may choose to complete any two of the three Elective Certificates on offer.
  • This programme can be continued alongside work, if the participant wishes to do so. However, all components are mandatory, including the on-campus portions. All on-campus components will be held at Bengaluru.

Each Certificate programme will also be offered as an independent module, allowing participants to take up one or more Certificate programmes as they wish. The Certificate programmes will be offered in a cyclical manner, such that participants can take them in any order. 

Obtaining a Diploma requires admission into the Diploma programme and completing the Certificates in a certain order. 


The delivery of courses will include a combination of academic readings, field-based case stories, audio-visual communication materials and lectures by invited speakers drawn from various domains of practice, to be able to provide a hands-on, experiential learning environment. 

  • Research for Social Change: Ethical, social and political aspects (3 credits) 
  • Research Design & Implementation‑I: Quantitative (3 credits) 
  • Research Design & Implementation-II: Qualitative (3 credits) 
  • Individual Research Project (3 credits)

Duration: 6 months


On campus: 2 weeks at the beginning and 2 weeks towards the end

Online: 8 Saturdays, plus 8 weeks of project work (which can be completed concurrently with employment)

  • Quantitative methods for social research and action (3 credits)
  • GIS for social change (3 credits)

Duration: 3 months


On campus: 2 weeks

Online: 8 Saturdays

  • Principles of Communication (2 credits)
  • Skills for Written Communication (2 credits)
  • Skills for Visual Communication (2 credits)

Duration: 3 months


On campus: 2 weeks

Online: 8 Saturdays

  • Participatory Learning & Action for Social Change (3 credits)
  • Analytical Case Study Writing (3 credits)

Duration: 3 months


On campus: 2 weeks

Online: 8 Saturdays