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Development Studies

Development studies is a multidisciplinary branch of social science which addresses issues affecting developing countries. In an increasingly globalized world, changes in the social, economic, political and cultural arena are inevitable. Development studies examines those changes and the impact they have on people in developing countries


Rural Development

With 70% of the Indian population still dependent on agriculture and the rural economy for a living, a considerable amount of resources continue to be invested in rural development. The demand for professional managers in this sector has grown over the years. Rural managers are in demand in the government, in NGOs, in banks, in rural-based industries, cooperatives, etc, and a number of institutions have been established to train professional managers in rural development.


Women's Studies

Many Indian universities offer women's studies or gender studies as part of their under-graduate programme in social sciences. At the post-graduate level the scope for in-depth studies is limited to specialisation in specific gender issues. Avenues for research after the Master's level tend to widen. To facilitate research, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has sponsored a number of study centres in universities -- Jadavpur University , SNDT, Mumbai, and the Women's Studies Research Centre in Calcutta University .

The need for the incorporation of women's studies in the university curriculum was felt by academics in the early 1980s. Following the recommendations of the First National Conference of Women's Studies, held at SNDT Women's University (Mumbai) in 1981 and the UNESCO workshop of 1982, the UGC suggested, in 1983, the start of programmes on women's studies and their incorporation in the curricula of social sciences.

Centres for women's studies have since been established in several universities.



The Rehabilitation Council of India is the apex body that regulates training in the field of rehabilitation of persons with disabilities. Every year, it publishes a list of approved institutions, along with courses offered. All institutions that wish to conduct rehabilitation training programmes have to apply to the RCI for recognition. There are nearly 200 institutions that have been recognised by the RCI to offer courses in various aspects of disability.


Human Rights

The World Conference on Human Rights in 1993 stated that: "Human rights education, training and public information are essential for the promotion and achievement of stable and harmonious relations among communities and for fostering mutual understanding, tolerance and peace." It called on states and institutions to include human rights, humanitarian law, democracy and the rule of law as subjects in the curricula of all learning institutions in formal and non-formal settings. The following are some of the institutions in the country that offer courses in human rights.


Journalism and Mass Communication

Journalism and its broader avatar, mass communications (which includes advertising and public relations), are not disciplines in the nature of sociology or economics. They form a rather loose interdisciplinary field covering a wide range of issues related to public concerns. The pioneer in mass communication education in India is the Indian Institute of Mass Communication set up by the government in 1965. Today, there are over 75 Indian universities offering courses in journalism and mass communication, and 18 universities offering distance-learning programmes.

Education in journalism and mass communication is offered as a first degree (three-year BA degree), post-graduate Bachelor's degree (BJ/BCJ/BJMC etc) Master's degree (MJ/MCJ/MJMC etc) and pre-doctoral and doctoral levels. Some universities also offer the subject as one of the combinations at the first-degree level. A growing number of private initiatives, such as the Asian School of Journalism and the Mudra Institute of Communications Ahmedabad, have also entered the fray and have carved out names for themselves.


Social Work

Social work has emerged as a major academic discipline of late. Several universities have set up separate schools or departments of social work. But the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), established in 1936 as the Sir Dorabji Tata Graduate School of Social Work, is the pioneer in the field of scientific training in social work. Since 1964, this organisation enjoys the status of a deemed university. It offers an MA (social work), an MA with specialisation in social welfare administration, M Phil and PhD degrees.

In India , education in social work is available at four levels: (1) Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) (2) Master of Social Work (MSW/MA in Social Work) (3) Post-graduate Diploma and Certificate in Social Work and (4) Research Studies (M Phil and PhD).

Many universities now offer social work as one of the combinations at the Bachelor's degree level. At present, there are 14 universities and some of their affiliated colleges that offer BSW courses. The course is a three-year course. The Master's degree course (MSW or MA) is available in over 50 universities. Besides, a large number of colleges affiliated to them have been permitted to offer Master's degree courses. The courses offered by TISS and the Delhi School of Social Work (Delhi University) are rated very high in the employment market.



In the last two decades there has been growing awareness that the greatest challenge to humankind in the 21st century will be protecting the physical environment from the ravages of a growing population and economic development. According to the World Commission on Environment and Development, the world's population will double and economic output increase five-fold in the next 40-50 years, putting a tremendous strain on air, water, forests and other natural resources.

One way to address this problem has been identified as environmental education, which first got mention at the Stockholm conference on the environment in 1972. The international conference on environmental education, held in Tiblisi in 1977, laid down some guiding principles that were adopted to design environment education programmes in several countries including India.

In the 1980s specific environment-related courses started being introduced in Indian universities, a number of which also established separate departments for this purpose. Examples include the School of Environmental Science (Jawaharlal Nehru University), New Delhi, School of Energy and Environmental Studies (Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya), Indore, Institute of Environmental Education and Research (Bharati Vidyapeeth), Pune, Institute of Environmental Management and Plant Sciences (Vikram University), Ujjain, department of environmental sciences (Dr B R Ambedkar University), Agra, School of Environmental Sciences (Bundelkhand University), Jhansi.

At the first-degree level, environmental science as one of the combinations is available only at a small number of universities. Some have started introducing a three-year Bachelor degree course in Environment Management (BEM). At present this is offered by Andhra University at its affiliated Gandhi Institute of Technology and Management (Vishakapatnam 530 045) and at a few affiliated colleges of the University of Madras (Chennai 600 005).

The eligibility requirement is a pass in the 10+2 examination in science (including biology), or an engineering diploma. At the Master's degree (MSc) level the largest number of environmental science courses is available. There are also a number of post-graduate diploma courses in environmental science, mostly of one-year duration.