PhD in Sociology


The Vision Statement of the Department of Sociology states:


The department not only provides a forum for the production of cutting-edge intellectual knowledge and exchange of that knowledge traversing across national borders in South Asia and beyond, but also strives through this knowledge to dislocate the persistence of an imposed framework emanating from the colonisation process and postcolonial politics of knowledge.


Keeping this in mind, the Department encourages research that proves its generic relevance for South Asia and makes an effort to overcome the parochial borders of existing research through a wider canvas of theorisation and possible empirical work. The topics/themes of research undertaken in the Department of Sociology tend to have a South Asian perspective, or show an adequate effort towards it. There need not always be a comparative perspective though the department encourages that researchers in MA and Ph.D programmes dwell upon the relevance of their research for South Asia. The PhD programme specifically aims at enabling research scholars to rethink, revise and rejuvenate the discipline of Sociology by effectively centering South Asia and engaging in a purposive dialogue with dominant centers of knowledge, typically associated with the West, as well as with new emergent perspectives from other parts of the world.


We invite students whose commitment as research scholars in Sociology and Anthropology reflect these concerns and interests. We are especially interested in students who will help push the bounds of Sociological and Anthropological knowledge to enable the development of a ‘South Asian Sociology’; who are aware of its diverse histories, concerns and approaches, and can initiate a rethinking of the category of South Asia without falling prey to nationalist and statist paradigms and contribute to the further development of Sociology and Anthropology as disciplines on the whole.


We are a young department and we offer students a vital space for intellectual and methodological innovation which is often not available at established departments elsewhere. Thus, our research students will play a critical role in developing new approaches as we grow as a department.


Based on the current composition of our faculty we invite students to work on diverse topics including: Anthropology of Contemporary Art, Anthropology of Folklore, Popular Culture, Performance, Media, Cinema, Music and Visual Culture, New Innovations in Sociological and Anthropological Theory and Methodology, Social Thoughts in South Asia, Sociology of Education, Politics of Knowledge Production, Gender and Sexuality, Material & Consumer Culture, Regionalism & Nationalism, South Asian Studies, Anthropology of Development, Social Stratification, Social Movements, Political Economy, Identity Politics, Violence and Conflict, Urban Anthropology, Sociological and Anthropological Studies of Economic life, Industrialization and the World of Work, Human Economy, Ethnicity and Nationalism, Migration Studies and Diaspora, Forced Migration, Borders, Political Sociology and Historical Sociology.


In addition to the curricular component, the Ph.D programme requires research scholars to be active in a variety of extra-curricular activities organized by the Department such as conversations, symposia, cinema-discussions, blogging, and exhibitions, among others. The idea behind this culturally rich programme is to instill a holistic approach in which sociology, culture, politics and everyday life come together.


For more details, see


Minimum Eligibility

A minimum of 17 years of education (12 years of schooling + a 3-year Bachelor’s degree and a 2-year Masters degree or 4-year Bachelors degree + a 1 year Masters degree in Sociology or related disciplines like Political Science, Economics and Business Studies, Labour Studies, Psychology, Cultural and Social Anthropology, History, Philosophy, Linguistics, Mass Communication, Journalism, Film and Television Studies, Education, Geography, Law, Social Work, Development Studies, Criminology, Archaeology, Cultural Studies, Gender Studies, Post-Colonial Studies, English, Comparative Literature, Comparative Religious Studies or Sociology of Science, Art History, Critical Theatre Studies, Aesthetics and art Production from an institution recognized by the government of any of the SAARC countries, with a minimum of 50% mark sin the aggregate or an equivalent grade.


Admission Procedure : is in two phases. The first phase consists of an Entrance Test and even though the minimum marks required to clear the Entrance Test are 50%, because seats are few and there is a high level of competition, the final shortlisting is done well above the cut off mark. Those who are shortlisted for the second phase will have to submit a written research proposal, a statement of purpose, two letters of recommendation and face an interview. The final merit list will be prepared by totalling the marks obtained in both the phases.


Phase 1

Format of the Entrance Test Paper

The duration of the Entrance Test will be 2 hours, and the question paper will consist of two sections: Section 1 will have 26 multiple-choice questions of one mark each that will test the applicant’s subject knowledge and general knowledge pertaining to South Asia and the world. Section 2 will require students to answer a set of multiple-choice questions to be answered based on a passage provided. This will carry 24 marks. All questions are compulsory. The subject knowledge and comprehension skills will be of the post-graduate level.


Phase 2

Shortlisted candidates will have to furnish two letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose (05 marks), a detailed research proposal (30 marks), write a short passage at the time of interview (05 marks) and face an interview (10 marks).


Letters of Recommendation: Candidates must submit 2 letters of recommendation from two individuals not related to them who can, with authority, comment on their suitability to study at the Doctoral level in Sociology. They should address the strengths and weaknesses of the candidates’ academic background up to that point; their analytical and language skills, strengths and orientations in publications (if publications are available) and creativity so far evident in the candidate’s chosen area of research etc. Though no marks will be assigned to these letters, they will guide the selection panel in making its decision. Please note that if the letters of recommendation are not received by the University by the specified date, the candidate’s eligibility to proceed further will be curtailed.


Research Proposal: Applicants are also required to submit a complete research proposal that outlines the process of the proposed research and, in general, includes the following points:

☆ The context within which the general topic of the proposed research has been conceived;

☆ Research questions, problems or hypothesis that the candidate hopes to explore;

☆ A clear analysis of the comparative sources that could be used to guide the proposed research (to indicate that the candidate has read relevant material) as well as an analysis of the main approaches and findings of key literature in the field (as well as its weaknesses);

☆ A description of the tools and methods for collecting information and data that are expected to be used, and why such tools are preferred. If required, new methods of research to overcome the limitations of existing methods can also be suggested.

☆ The conceptual models/categories and theoretical approaches to be employed and their justification;

☆ Case studies and samples that the candidate proposes to use and their selection criteria;

☆ Areas where field work will be undertaken and the relevance of that location to the proposed study.

☆ A brief explanation of how the proposed research might contribute to the existing knowledge;

☆ A tentative timetable for the proposed research;


A complete bibliography using a referencing system acceptable in any of the social sciences (for stylistic considerations, candidates for both Sociology and IR programs may refer to the ‘Style Guide’ available on the webpage of the Department of Sociology).


The research proposal should establish the candidate’s creativity in presentation and conceptualization, analytical skills as well as versatility in language, and should not exceed 2500 words.


Statement of Purpose: The statement of purpose is a narrative statement in which the candidate explains why he or she is motivated to undertake the proposed research, and why it should be undertaken. In writing the statement of purpose the candidate can garner information from the research proposal and the literature read so far; but it also can and should outline the personal and subjective considerations that may have led to the conceptualization of the proposed research. This could include the academic history of the candidate as well as his or her personal history and the social and political transformations experienced by his/her society where the research might be based. Essentially, all this information will allow the selection panel to understand the approach the candidate is proposing and his/her background. The candidate can be creative and imaginative when writing the statement of purpose in terms of conceptualization and presentation. It should not exceed 600 words.


Interview : All candidates applying for the PhD programme must also face an interview either in person or via Skype. The interview will focus on the information provided in the research proposal, statement of purpose and the letters of recommendation. Candidates will be evaluated on the basis of their oral presentation skills, ability to articulate complex ideas, response to hypothetical field problems, etc., that may be posed. Candidates are encouraged to be creative and candid when facing the interview.


Phase 2 will carry a weightage of 50 marks.


50% of the seats are reserved for candidates from India and the other 50% for candidates from SAARC countries other than India, taken together. Separate merit lists will be prepared, one for candidates from India and the other for the rest of SAARC countries combined (except India).


Sample Questions for Entrance Test 2022



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