MPhil Programme

Admission to MPhil in Development Studies, 2016-18

Prospectus 2016

Previous Entrance Test Question papers


Programme Objective

The M.Phil. Course in Development Studies is multi-disciplinary in nature, and designed to provide an understanding of various perspectives on development issues, through a rigorous course work and guided research. The perspectives are drawn from different disciplines, with a strong emphasis on the classics in social sciences and humanities. Students are expected to acquire adequate analytical skills to pursue a research-oriented career in development studies – in academia, administration, media and non-government organizations. The curriculum emphasizes a heterodox perspective on social science paradigms and the methodological underpinnings of social science research. The strength of the course particularly lies in the balance it maintains between theory and hands-on training on tools of analysis – both quantitative and qualitative.

Programme Administration

The degree is conferred by the University of Calcutta and the programme conforms to the pattern of the existing M.Phil courses offered by the University. The overall administration of the programme is guided by the Memorandum of Understanding between the University of Calcutta and IDSK. The teaching faculty mainly consists of the IDSK faculty and eminent faculty members associated with various well known Universities in West Bengal and outside.

Course Structure

The duration of the entire course is two years – equally divided between course-work and writing dissertation. The first year of course work is further divided into two semesters. In the first semester, students are oriented to the field of Development Studies, which includes compulsory courses on Perspectives onDevelopment Studies and Research Methodology. On completion of the first semester of course work, in the second semester, students have the option to choose from five specialization courses in the following disciplinary areas: literature and cultural studies, economics, sociology, history and political science. The specialization courses, irrespective of the disciplinary area, have a strong emphasis on development-oriented topics. This part of the course work helps the students identify topics for dissertation. By the end of the first year, students choose their dissertation topics and start working under the close supervision of the faculty.
The M. Phil committee of IDSK includes Achin Chakraborty, Anjan Chakrabarti, Sudakshina Gupta, Subrata Mukherjee Suparna Gooptu, Sanjukta Dasgupta, Dipankar Sinha, Basabi Sur, Dipankor Coondoo, Prasanta Ray and Nandini Ghosh.

M. Phil Course Curriculum

Paper I: Perspectives on Development Studies

This module focuses on economic and sociological perspectives on development. Exploring the ‘goals of development’ and the philosophical foundations of alternative concepts of well-being – from opulence to human development, it traces the evolution of development thinking focusing on the contributions of classical economists as pioneers of development thinking and contrasting them with the emphasis of neo-classical economics on allocative efficiency. It deals with the role of the market, the state, and alternative institutions in economic development. Sociological insights into markets (Weber, Granovetter, Bourdieu), political scientists’ understanding of the role of the state in the economy (Marx, Weber, Tilly, Skocpol) and the related question of ‘manufacturing consent’ through religious institutions, education, use of new technologies, etc. (Gramsci, Durkheim) are also explored in this module.

Paper II: Research Methodology

This paper is a combination of broader methodological questions in social science research and the qualitative and quantitative tools that an applied researcher in social sciences may need. The paper introduces various methodological positions, such as positivism, empiricism and various post-positivist trends in methodological thinking as well as various qualitative research methods. It also deals in detail with basic quantitative techniques with a special emphasis on exploratory data analysis which proves to be useful in several social science disciplines.

Paper III & IV: Specialization Course Modules

Each student is to specialize in any one of the areas of economics, history, literature and cultural studies, sociology and political science and an M.Phil. degree would be awarded with specialization in the respective subject. However, in some years, some of the courses may not be on offer. The specialization courses, irrespective of the disciplinary area, will have a strong emphasis on development-oriented subjects.


  • Paper III
  • Group A: Industry, institutions, and labour;
  • Group B: Globalization and finance
  • Paper IV
  • Group A: Inequality, Poverty, and human development
  • Group B: Econometrics


  • Paper III
  • Group A: History of health and medicine in modern India
  • Group B: Gender and history in modern India
  • Paper IV
  • Group A: Global History in the twentieth century
  • Group B: Environment and development in contemporary India

Political Science

  • Paper III
  • Group A: State, public sphere and civil society
  • Group B: Governance, democracy and development
  • Paper IV
  • Group A: Local government and democratic
  • Group B: Politics of communication: decentralisation: Indian experience media, technology and development

Regional Development

  • Paper III
  • Group A: Migration, displacement and diaspora
  • Group B: Political economy of regional development in India
  • Paper IV
  • Group A: Spatial convergence and divergence
  • Group B: Environment and development in contemporary India


  • Paper III
  • Group A: Migration, displacement and diaspora
  • Group B: Ethnicity, tribal development and globalization
  • Paper IV
  • Group A: Culture and public policy
  • Group B: Civil society and collective action

Field Survey

For practical exposure on conducting a research study, students are taken for a field survey to a rural or urban area and guided by faculty members on different aspects of conducting quantitative and qualitative research by using different data collection and sampling techniques. This week-long exposure is aimed at developing the skills of students for conducting data collection for their M. Phil. research. In the past few years, the students have conducted field survey on the following -An assessment of socio-economic profile of people living in select villages in 24 Parganas (S) in 2007
An assessment of implementation of NREGA in Birbhum district of West Bengal in 2008
A study of Primary School dropouts in Birbhum district of West Bengal in 2009
A study of the status of elderly population in Nadia District of West Bengal in 2010
Health seeking behaviour of people in 2 blocks of Birbhum district of West Bengal in 2011
Exploring quality of life: A case study of Kaliagunj, Uttar Dinajpur in 2012
Health insecurity and vulnerability across socio-economic classes: A study of Sarberia-Agarhati Gram Panchayat in North 24 Parganas district in 2013
Assessing rural women’s health, empowerment and economic status, a study of Urelchandpur and Daiji villages in Magrahat II blocks, South 24 Parganas in 2014
People’s awareness on select health, education, political issues, government schemes and citizen rights: A study of four villages in Panduah block, Hooghly district in 2015

* For details on admission to the programme, such as application procedure, eligibility, course fee, etc., please consult the latest prospectus.

Past M.Phil Dissertations

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M.Phil Students

2014-16 Batch
2015-17 Batch
2016-18 Batch