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Master of Arts [MA] (Development Studies) - Course Overview




    2 YEARS


    Development Studies


    Post Graduation

Master of Arts (MA) in Development Studies is a Post Graduate degree course which deals with the various aspects and challenges of development and public policy. The course is of two years duration.

Students with a BA degree in Social Science and Humanities and other allied disciplines are eligible for admission to this program. The average tuition fee for two years ranges from 15,000 INR to 200,000 INR.

After completion of MA in Development Studies, a student can find employment in various government and corporate undertakings. The roles assigned to an MA Development Studies graduate generally, are related to policy making, research, administration, social work etc. The average starting salary for MA Development Studies ranges from 2 Lakh INR to 6 Lakh INR per annum.

What is MA in Development Studies?

Development Studies has its origin in Economics but in recent years it has emerged as a multidisciplinary field. In Development Studies, a student has to study elements from Sociology, Political Science and Economics among other allied disciplines.

Every society or community has its own needs and requirements when it comes to development. Hence to develop public policy, it is imperative to remember the unique context of the community which is why the course is multidisciplinary in nature.

It helps develop an informed perspective on development practices across communities in various countries, specially India. Students admitted to the course learn about the various issues and challenges which hinder development of a particular community. It raises awareness regarding inequalities and discrimination of marginalized groups in a community.

Who should opt for MA in Development Studies?

MA in Development Studies is a course which can be pursued after a Bachelor degree in Social Sciences and Humanities. While the course is open to everyone with an undergraduate degree in any discipline of Social Science and Humanities, the course is apt for those who wish to understand the dynamics of development in a developing country like India. This course is perfect for those with a knack to understand Sociology, polity, economy and history of a community.

Since this course provides a framework to understand the life and culture of marginalized communities, it is best suited for students who have an interest in cultural and social practices. The course also requires students to do field work, which again makes it best suited for those with an aptitude or desire for social work.


An MA in Development Studies is of two years duration. Each year is ideally divided in two semesters. As part of the curriculum, students have to complete a summer internship at the end of second semester. 

Where to study?

Given that Development Studies is a very recent discipline of study, there are fewer Institutes in India which offer an MA in Development Studies. Some of the institutes which offer MA in Development Studies in India are:

  • Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati
  • Jamia Millia Islamia University, Delhi
  • Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
  • Ambedkar University, Delhi
  • Central University of South Bihar, Patna
  • Azim Premji University, Bangalore
  • National Institute of Technology, Rourkela
  • Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam

Academic Options after MA in Development Studies

After an MA in Development Studies, students can opt for an M.Phil. in Development Studies. After an M.Phil. In Development Studies, they can further pursue a Doctorate in Development Studies. These courses are research based and admission to them is on the basis of performance in an entrance test conducted by the offering institute. 

Top Colleges for Master of Arts [MA] (Development Studies)

Eligibility Of the Master of Arts [MA] (Development Studies)

The basic eligibility for admission to an MA course in Development Studies is a Bachelor degree in Social Science and Humanities or any allied discipline of minimum 3 years duration. Certain institutes like Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Hyderabad also admit Development practitioners and NGO staff with a valid Bachelor’s degree. 

How to Get Admission in Master of Arts [MA] (Development Studies)

Universities offering MA in Development Studies begin to release application forms in the month of February and March and the process continues till the month of June. Students who have completed their Bachelor degree or are in the final year of the program can apply for the program. The Admission process can best summed in the following figure:

  • Application Form
  • Entrance Test
  • GD/PI

Once the application process is over, students have to sit for an entrance examination. Some of the institutes which conduct entrance examination for admission to MA Development Studies are:

  • Tata Institute of Social Sciences
  • Ambedkar University, Delhi
  • Azim Premji University, Bengaluru
  • Jamia Millia Islamia University, Delhi

The Entrance examination, such as TISSNET,  for MA in Development Studies usually consists of two types of questions – Objective and Descriptive. Depending upon the university, there might be only objective questions in the test or only descriptive type questions.

The questions are asked from a range of topics. Some of the topics are:

  • Current Affairs
  • General Knowledge
  • English Proficiency
  • Quantitative Aptitude
  • Logical Reasoning

Selection Process

Offer for admission to MA in Development Studies is based on the performance in written test and personal interview. Certain Institutes like TISS, Mumbai, also conduct a Group Discussion before personal interview. The respective weightage assigned to each criteria is given below. 


Weightage (%)

Entrance Test


Group Discussion


Personal Interview