Unit for Research and Development


The Unit for Research and Development (URD), Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Guwahati Campus offers Integrated M. Phil.-Ph. D. and Direct Ph. D. programmes in Social Sciences. The Integrated M. Phil.-Ph. D. programme will be five years (2 years M. Phil. + 3 Years Ph. D.) programme. The first year of the programme consists of two semesters of coursework followed by one year for completing an M. Phil. dissertation. The coursework for the programme is on theories and practices in social sciences, research methods, and on thematic issues. The dissertation topic selected by students will specifically be on any aspect of social change and development. After successful completion of the two years M. Phil. programme, the students with minimum CGPA of 6 will automatically move to the Ph. D. programme which will be of 3 years duration and will require successful completion of Ph. D. Thesis. The usual process of proposal and synopsis presentation at TISS will be followed. The students will have the option to exit the programme after two years of successful completion of M. Phil. programme. The broad research areas that the students of the programme can work on are:

  • Social identity, development and change
  • Tribal society and identity politics
  • Migration and livelihoods
  • Social movements, conflicts and peace
  • Ecology and development
  • Democracy, governance and social justice
  • Gender
  • Public health
  • Labour and social security

Programme Structure

The duration of the M. Phil. programme in Social Sciences shall be two years, spread over four  semesters and roughly coinciding with the academic calendar of the Institute.

The M. Phil. programme shall carry a total of 46 credits and will have six components:

  • Basic Courses (BC): 8 credits (four courses with 2 credits each)
  • Auxiliary Course (AC): Non-credited but compulsory, to enhance academic writing skills.
  • Thematic Courses (TC): 8 Credits. Four courses to be chosen by a student from inter/trans-disciplinary areas of Social Sciences that are offered by the faculty members at TISS, Guwahati Campus.
  • Survey of Literature (SL): 6 Credits. As a prelude to embarking on the study, the survey of literature familiarizes the scholar with the literature available on the problem chosen for the study, identifies gaps, and enables the scholar to formulate an alternative hypothesis.
  • Dissertation (DI): 24 Credits. Provides an opportunity for the student to practice the craft of research by using the knowledge acquired during the course work. It embodies the outcome of the practice or process of research. The dissertation constitutes the product of research.

M. Phil. Programme

  1. Semester I Courses: There will be four basic courses (8 credits) provide the foundation for the theoretical understandings of development, research methods and one non-credit course in research writings.
  2. Semester II Courses: Scholars will have to choose four thematic courses (8 credits) that deal with inter/trans-disciplinary research from a basket of courses that are offered by faculty members working on different Masters programmes (Ecology, Environment and Sustainable Development; Labour Studies and Social Protection; Sociology and Social Anthropology; Peace and Conflict Studies; Community Organisation and Development Practice; Counselling; Livelihoods and Social Entrepreneurship; Public Health). Prior to embarking on their dissertation, students will be expected to make a presentation on survey of literature (6 credits) and research proposal before a committee and their peers.
  3. Semester III & IV- Dissertation: The coursework in the first year of the programme intended to prepare students for research, and the research undertaken by students in the second year culminate into a dissertation thesis (24 credits) submitted by the students at the end of the programme. The students will conduct the fieldwork at the beginning of the Semester-III. The usual process of M. Phil. dissertation evaluation rule will be applicable.

Semester-wise Listing of Courses

Semester Course Credits
I BC01: Philosophical Foundations of Social Science Research 2
  BC02: Social Theory and Research 2
  BC03: Quantitative Research: Theory and Practice 2
  BC04: Qualitative Research: Theory and Practice 2
  AC01: Workshop on Academic Writing Skills -
II* TC01: Democracy, Rights and Tribes in India 2
  TC02: Work and Employment in Contemporary Labour Markets 2
  TC03: Political Economy of Health 2
  Survey of Literature 6
  Proposal Presentation  
III and IV Fieldwork and Dissertation 24
  Total 46
Ph. D. (years 3-5) Degree will be awarded after successful completion and defence of the Ph. D. Thesis  

*More thematic courses will be developed by the faculty members in due course.

Direct Ph.D. in Social Sciences

In addition to the Integrated M. Phil.–Ph. D. programme, a direct Ph.D. Programme is also offered by the Campus. In addition to meeting the requirements of the Ph.D. thesis (as specified above), Direct Ph.D. students will also need to complete the mandatory coursework for Direct Ph.D. students (offered in two modules of two weeks each during the first semester) at the Mumbai Campus. In case the students are not able to attend this coursework at the Mumbai Campus, they can also attend the four modular workshops (spread across the first year) held at the TISS Guwahati Campus.