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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 nine core courses (32 credits), a combination of elective courses with or without a specialization (adding up to 24 credits), two open courses (4 credits), as well as three modules of Field Engagement (adding up to 12 credits).
  • Students have the flexibility to specialize in specific areas or follow a generic programme. The specialization route requires the student to select courses from among a specific set of electives belonging to the area of specialization.

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
Courses CREDITS SEM
Economics of Development 4 I
Ecology and Development 4 I
Sociology of Development 4 I
Political Philosophy and Politics in India 4 I
Law and Governance 4 II
Understanding Development: Philosophical Theoretical Explorations 4 II
Introduction to Research 3 II
Social Interventions 3 II
Introduction to Education, Health and Livelihoods 2 II
Field Engagements 12 ALL
Electives 24 III and IV
Open Courses 4 ANY
Total 72

*Students will also go through 'Skills for Development Practice' Course spread over Semester II and III Semester.



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