Tata Institute of Social Sciences
Mumbai | Tuljapur | Guwahati | Hyderabad

I : About the School

The School of Livelihoods and Development aims at building high quality human resources for the development sector through its three academic programs i.e., Masters of Arts (MA) in Rural Development and Governance, Development Studies and Natural Resources and Governance. These academic programs endeavor to build human capital required for strengthening livelihood promotion processes at different levels of policy making, planning and program implementation. The Faculty of the School is engaged in teaching, curriculum development suited to the emerging concerns and opportunities in the area of livelihoods and development, thematic research, publications and commissioned research/reviews for development support. The School constantly strives to expand the scope of its research through partnerships with all relevant stakeholders in the spheres of Government, Policy, Civil Society, local communities, and private sector.


 The School is a knowledge hub for Sustainable Development, and Livelihoods, with expertise in comprehending what impacts, promotes, transforms the socio-economic wellbeing. It emphasizes, in particular, the livelihoods aspects of marginalized and communities facing various forms of exclusion, and adverse impacts of development, non-development and mal-development.


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

II: Evolution of the School

The School began with the MA in Rural Development and Governance in 2012, with subsequent addition of MA in Development Studies in 2014, and MA in Natural Resource and Governance in 2015. Over the years, the School has expanded its programs to include commissioned research and capacity building programs of multiple stakeholders.

The following are important milestones of the School: 


  • Setting up of the Centre for Livelihoods Development
  • MA Rural Development and Governance course offered with 30 students (First MA program to be offered from TISS-Hyderabad).
  • Mr. EL Narasimhan, Governor of (Undivided) Andhra Pradesh launched the program along with the BA-Social Sciences Programme


  • Convocation for the First batch of MA-Rural Development and Governance students.
  • Launch of MA-Development Studies Program.


  • Restructuring of the Centre for Livelihoods Development as the School of Livelihoods and Development, with three MA programs.
  • Collaboration with Foundation for Ecological Security (FES) in introducing MA in Natural Resources and Governance.


  • Commissioned studies: Social Impact Assessments in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.


  • Commissioned research studies:
  • Livelihood mapping and impact of interventions
  • Informal labour market
  • Climate resilient infrastructure
  • Focus states: Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Chhattisgarh


  • Capacity building of Academia and Practitioners on Livelihoods and Development


  • Commissioned research studies:
  • Livelihood mapping and impact of interventions
  • Climate resilient agriculture
  • Riverine rights
  • Innovation and Firm performance
  • Skills and Employment
  • Focus states: Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Bihar and some Himalayan states.

III: Academic Programs

The MA in Rural Development and Governance programme (RDG) aims at building a student's perspective on the theory and practice of Rural Development. It covers programs and policies addressing developmental deficit in rural areas, the measurable and non-measurable outcomes of development programs with the involvement of various stakeholders such as civil society, local communities and the state to strengthen its backbone.

 The emphasis of the MA in Development Studies programme (DS) is to bring to the students a holistic understanding of the concept of development: the contemporary discourse of the theory and practice of development and the impact of developmental activities in the lives of the people in both rural and urban areas. The Course takes students through multiple issues like the role of the state in propelling development, urbanization and its impact on development, nexus between natural resources and development, and understanding development from the lens of human rights.

 The MA in Natural Resources and Governance (NRG) programme is being taught in partnership with the Foundation for Ecological Security (FES). It is designed to produce professionals equipped with the interdisciplinary knowledge on understanding the vital role of nature and its resources in development and livelihoods, insights into the key socio-ecological practices and research, emerging approaches to conserve the natural resources among other important dimensions. The students develop the ability to analyze and come up with creative and informed solutions in natural resource, use, management and governance. With a significant experiential component in the programme that involves fieldworks, students are exposed to both the theories and practices of natural resources governance in different FES work locations in India.

 The curriculum of all academic programs is developed based on the building blocks approach, wherein there is a horizontal and vertical linkage between the courses and their progression. This ensures a continuum between the courses taught and the progression of semesters. In other words, requisite themes and concepts are covered ahead of a given course for ensuring logical understanding and meaningful engagement. A four-pronged strategy of building perspectives, imparting analytical skills, equipping students with relevant information and exposure to the real world is adopted. The methods of teaching and learning include lectures, use of audio-visuals, analysis of case studies, small group work and group projects and workshops.

 The programmes in the school also have provision for Choice based Credit System (CBCS) to facilitate students to pick and choose from a basket of options from other programs in the campus upto 4 credits in the areas of their interest, beyond the coursework specific to a particular MA programme. CBCS provides space for expanding the horizons of learning, making students capable for the development sector, including courses on Public Policy, Sustainability, Education, Women Studies, Public health and so on.

No news to List

The site works best onFirefox 65+Google Chrome 60+iOS Safari 10+  Android 5+ Browser / Chrome Browser