School of Livelihoods and Development

About Us


The School of Livelihoods and Development aim at building high quality human resources for the development sector through its three Academic programs i.e., Maters in Rural Development and Governance (MA RDG) Masters in Development Studies (MA DS) and Master in Natural Resources and Governance. It collaborates with both Government and Non government organizations ensuring continued interface for its students and faculty with the development sector for them to learn and contribute. Besides the School faculty are engaged in research, publication and commissioned field based projects supporting the development programs of Government especially the Governments of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana State.

Vision and Purpose:

In this context and in consonance with the overall Vision and Mission of the Institute the School of Livelihoods and Development envisions to become a high performing knowledge hub for sustainable development and emphasizes in particular the livelihood challenge of the marginalized and hitherto excluded communities adversely impacted by development, non-development and mal-development.

To realize this vision it engages in two key processes: one, knowledge building through Faculty and Student research, and through experiential learning; two, it contributes towards building human capital required for strengthening livelihood promotion processes at different levels-policy, planning and program implementation, through its three Masters programs.

The School began with one Masters Program MA Rural Development and Governance. While there was a demand for further specialization two more programs were added MA Development Studies in 2014 and MA Natural Resource and Governance in 2015.

Important Milestones

2011: Center for Livelihoods Development

2012: MA Rural Development and Governance course offered with 30 students (First MA program to be offered from TISS-Hyderabad) and Hon. Governor EL Narasimhan launched program along with the BA-Social Sciences Program

2014: First batch of MA-Rural Development and Governance launched

2014: Launch of MA-Development Studies

2015: School of Livelihoods and Development, with three MA programs

2015: Collaboration with FES-MA in Natural Resources and Governance

2016: Commissioned studies: Social Impact Assessments in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana

Academic Programs

The Masters in Rural Development and Governance program emphasizes on livelihood security, rural development and governance as cornerstones in which the livelihood security is considered as the goal while making development as the means and Governance as the process. In fact this Program is offered from TISS-Hyderabad campus only as it was evolved from a Certificate course (Certificate in Rural Development and Decentralized Planning) in collaboration with AMR-APARD during 2009-12. The MA in Rural Development offered for about 5 years now and Governance has incorporated the recent thinking on participatory and inclusive development and introduces the most up-to-date methodologies and approaches for the facilitation of multi stakeholder processes. The Development Studies program provides an understanding of the processes, theories and models of development besides equipping students to grapple with large data sets to make it meaningful for policy and practice. The MA in Natural Resource Governance imparts theoretical and conceptual orientation integrated with field based experience and learning covers various issues of multi-sectoral governance of natural resources from the local to the international level. The program evolved in consultations with the faculty of Washington University, USA and Foundation for Ecological Security.

The Academic programs of the School both research and teaching envisages a multi dimensional view in Livelihood Promotion, recognizing the context where indiscriminate exploitation of resources leading to loss of livelihoods of the poor as a result of the erosion of their livelihood base and the ill effects of Climate change and the need for ecological security dimension as a non- negotiable element in the realm of sustainable livelihoods development.

The number of students joined these programs is provided in the table below:

Programme 2012-14 2013-15 2014-16 2015-17 2016-18 2017-19
MA-RDG 29 30 24 34 30 30
MA-DS     19 31 25 34
MA-NRG       26 25 29
Total 29 30 43 91 80 93

Aspirations: Scope of Contributions to the Society

The School understands that the holistic nature of livelihood goes beyond economic activities for income, towards a complete system of managing the household, health, education of its members and achieving quality of life. In contrast to income generation view point, which looks at inputs and outputs of different activities, separately, the School would view the portfolio of activities, some economic, some social, some political, that the members of a family are engaged in, as a complete system of managing the household, embracing all forces and constraints, material and non-material in nature. Therefore the contributions to the larger society in general and to the remote and underdeveloped regions of the country would assure a livelihood security of the poor and marginalized. Moreover the government policies and schemes are implemented to address larger developmental challenges that the poor and the marginalized sections of society encounter. The school can substantially contribute and facilitate the implementation and execution of such schemes by evaluating their performance. Findings from such evaluations would support the implementing agencies to identify the loopholes of these schemes and improve the livelihoods of vulnerable sections. 

  1. Contribute to expand the scope and opportunities for value addition and diversification which help revitalize the rural, traditional economy and lead to knowledge creation conducive to such process;
  2. Create and strengthen democratic institutions at local level which ensure equality in access, opportunities and governance and preference to the poor and marginalized
  3. Integrate the present and future livelihood development fully with the current and future concerns of environment and climate change by being responsive to macro policies

Engaged Scholarship and knowledge building

The School is well positioned for creating a knowledge base pertinent to livelihood issues and consolidating knowledge that was collated over the years in the form of research studies, case studies and other documentation towards theory building useful for livelihood promotion practice relevant to the ever changing livelihood scenario and emerging needs of practice. The school would contribute for the policy engagement of the institute through its research. The initiatives include:

  • Research on Livelihood issues of specific populations and Livelihood promotion programs attempted to intervene
  • Knowledge consolidation and theory building
  • Accompaniment-sounding board to action research/field experimentation
  • Incubating ideas-Action research projects
  • Publications: Research articles, Policy papers
  • Working paper series of the school based on selected student dissertations.
  • Lectures series/Workshops/Seminars;
  • 'Dialogues' with locally available practitioners to engage with issues of relevance

Faculty Team:

The School has a team of 12 faculty whose multi-disciplinary orientations combined with rich field experience add strength, purpose and depth in the delivery of the Academic programs including student research. The faculty has expertise of Research and Capacity building in the core subjects of the School such as Rural Economy, Sustainable Development, and Natural Resource Management and Livelihood promotion. Two of them were also involved with the Prime Minister's Rural Development Fellows Scheme of Government of India. The faculty continued to hold strong networks and collaborations with both Government and Civil Society organizations to support students in their experiential learning.