Programme India, New Delhi

Masters Programme in "Development and Labour Studies" at the Centre for Informal Sector and Labour Studies (CISLS) at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi, India

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Centre for Informal Sector and Labour Studies (CISLS)

The Centre for Informal Sector and Labour Studies is one of the newly created Centres with the objective of studying the informal sector which includes non-agricultural workers, agricultural labourers, peasants, fishermen, craftsmen, street vendors, domestic work etc. Since the overwhelming bulk of the working people are located in the informal sector which is also termed as the “Unorganized Sector”, the focus of teaching and research in the Centre is on labour processes and working conditions in the unorganised sector in the contemporary world, particularly the developing countries. The Centre offers a new  M.A.  programme in: 

Development and Labour Studies
MA in Development and Labour Studies focuses on contemporary themes related to the informal sector and labour. Its main objectives are – (i) providing an interdisciplinary perspective on the contemporary themes and issues on informality and labour drawing from the disciplines of history, economics, sociology and political science, (ii) providing basic theoretical and empirical training to undertake in depth analysis of the structural changes and public policy challenges that confront the labour in the informal sector in the contemporary world. 

The M.A. programme consists of 16 courses which are taught over four semesters. Of these 8 compulsory courses are spread over the first two semesters. These compulsory courses cover broad thematic areas which provide students with an overview of the subject and basic theoretical knowledge of the structural factors that impact on labour processes and the growing informalization. Eight Optional Courses will be offered in the third and the fourth semesters. Out of the eight Optional Courses, students will have to do seven Lecture Courses (up to a maximum of three can be chosen from outside the Centre) and one Seminar Course in the third and fourth semesters. The optional courses will focus on specific themes and problems to allow students to undertake in-depth analysis of recent debates and contemporary areas of research in labour processes and unorganised sector. Seminar Courses will focus on introducing students to original research in various themes of informal sector and labour.

The cooperation within the Global Labour University provides opportunities for students exchange with the partner universities and for close cooperation with national and international labour organisations to undertake research and field studies.  Access to joint online courses and international guest lectures are a key element of cross campus collaboration. 

Students with prior practical work experience with trade unions and other membership based social movements are particularly encouraged to apply. 

Eligibility for Admission

Students with a bachelor degree in any discipline with minimum 50 per cent marks are eligible to apply. The applicants for the M.A. programme will be examined in the light of their knowledge on themes and issues studied in a standard social science bachelor programme. The purpose of entrance exam is to test the candidates' general awareness on issues related to development and labour studies, their capacity to comprehend and reflect on academic articles, and their ability in analytical reasoning on the contemporary issues of informal sector. The M.A. admission test will carry a total of 100 marks and students will be tested in the broad thematic areas of major social science disciplines: political economy, theories and contemporary history of development, development economics, sociological and political theories. The purpose of the test is to select candidates who demonstrate aptitude for analytical skills and ability for original thinking.  

Foreign students can apply in abstentia as long as they are not in India during the date of the entrance test their admission will be decided on the basis of the application documents.

Non-Indian (Foreign) Students


Download the Application Form here

Link for downloads of form and prospectus:

Please download here the Admission Procedure for Foreign Students

Foreign students can apply for a scholarship by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) until 31.3.2019.

Tuition fees for foreign students are USD 1200 per semester.

For questions or more information please contact glu.jnu(at) 

Indian Students


Link for downloads of form and prospectus:

In addition please send the following application requirements (please use separate sheets) to Archana Prasad archie.prasad11(at)

Please provide a Curriculum Vitae (CV) that makes special reference to your practical experience in trade union work and other civil society activities on social and economic issues, current employment situation and future engagement with the labour movement. You may write any information you would like to be considered in the application process. 

Please write here any information which you would like to be considered in support of your application. For example, what do you hope to achieve by taking the Master Programme, what effect might it have on your job aspirations and trade union activities, what work experience and skills have you acquired which are related to your programme of study? 

Please provide a short type-written statement (2 pages) about a specific research topic you are interested in and the main questions in relation to this topic that you would like to explore in more detail during the course.

TRADE UNION EXPERIENCE – Letter of Recommendation
Please provide a statement from a trade union or other membership based organisation certifying your trade union or other civil society engagement. The letter should include a statement whether the organisation supports your application.