Department of International Relations

M.Phil./Ph.D. (International Relations)


Minimum Eligibility

After 12 Years of schooling, 3 years’ Bachelor’s degree plus 2 years’ post-graduate degree in International Relations or related disciplines like Political Science, Economics, Psychology, Anthropology, Sociology, History, Philosophy, Linguistics, Mass Communications, Education, Geography, Law, Social Work, Development Studies, Criminology, Archaeology Cultural Studies, Gender Studies, Post-Colonial Studies, Comparative Literature and Comparative Religious Studies; with a minimum of 50% marks, or an equivalent grade.


Admission procedure: An Entrance Test followed by an interview.


Format of the Entrance Test Paper:


Phase One

Part A (10 marks) - 10 multiple choice questions of one mark each that would test general knowledge pertaining to South Asia. All questions are compulsory in this section.

Part B (30 marks) - 30 multiple choice questions of one mark each that would test subject knowledge in Political Science/International Relations and knowledge pertaining to issues within the broader spectrum of social sciences. All questions are compulsory in this section.

Part C (60 marks) – The student should answer two essay questions out of a total of five questions carrying 30 marks each. Questions will pertain to subject knowledge in Political Science/International Relations.

Total marks : 100, Minimum marks required to pass: 50.


Negative Marks for Wrong Answers:

One fourth of marks assigned to any question will be deducted if the answer is wrong in Multiple Choice Questions.


This examination will be a screening test to decide candidates’ eligibility to proceed further into Phase Two of the entrance process. Successful shortlisted candidates in the first phase will have to furnish two letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, a detailed research proposal and face an interview in the second phase. 50% of marks from the entrance test will be added to the second phase, which will be evaluated out of an overall score of 100 (50% from Entrance Test and 50% from proposal, statement of purpose and interview). Candidates who are successful in Phase Two will be admitted to the M.Phil./Ph.D. program.


Phase Two

Candidates who are selected from the Phase One are requested to go through a Phase Two in the selection process. The evaluation in Phase Two will involve the following benchmarks, criteria and distribution of marks:


Two letters of recommendation – These letters must be written on the forms provided by the Faculty of Social Sciences by two non-related individuals who can with authority comment on the candidate’s suitability to study at M.Phil. or Ph.D. level in International Relations. They should address the strengths and weaknesses of the candidates’ academic background up to that point, analytical and language skills, strengths and orientations in publications if publications are available, creativeness so far evident in the candidate’s chosen area of research etc (no marks will be allocated to these letters but will guide the selection panel in making its decision). Please note that if letters of recommendation are not received by the university prior to the application deadline, the candidate’s eligibility to proceed further will be curtailed. As such, please ensure that these letters reach the university in time.


Complete Research Proposal – A complete research proposal should be submitted that would outline the process of the candidate’s proposed research. In general, it should include the following elements (among others):

a) The background to the proposed research that would explain the general topic of the proposed research;

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

c) A clear analysis of comparative sources that could guide the proposed research which would clearly indicate that the candidate has read relevant material (this should include an analysis of the main approaches and findings of key literature as well as their weaknesses);

d) A description of the tools and methods for collecting information and data that the candidate expects to use, and why such tools are preferred (the candidate could also suggest new methods of research if he or she feels they would overcome limitations of existing methods);

e) The conceptual models/categories and theoretical approaches the candidate hopes to employ and a justification for this;

f) What case studies and samples would the candidate propose and what are their selection criteria?;

g) Where does the candidate intend to undertake fieldwork and what is the relevance of that location to the proposed study?

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

i) A tentative timetable for the proposed research;

j) A compete bibliography using a referencing system acceptable in any of the social sciences (for stylistic considerations, the candidate 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. The research proposal should not exceed 2500 words and would be evaluated out of 25 marks.


Statement of purpose: The statement of purpose is a narrative statement in which the candidate will explain 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 conceptualize the proposed research. This could include the academic history of the candidate as well as his or her personal history and social and political transformations experienced in his/her society where the research might be based. Essentially, all this information must 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 1000 words and would be evaluated out of 15 marks.


Interview: Candidates up to four times the number of seats who pass the written test must also face an interview either in person or via telephone/Skype/satellite. The candidate can prepare for the interview on the basis of the information provided in the research proposal and statement of purpose while the interviewers will also base much of their questions on these documents. The interviewers will also be guided by the letters of recommendation the candidate has already provided. The candidate will be evaluated on the basis of his/her oral presentation skills, ability to articulate complex ideas, how he or she would respond to hypothetical field problems that may be posed etc. Candidates are encouraged to be creative and candid when facing the interview. The interview performance of the candidate will be evaluated out of 10 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 for candidates from India and other SAARC countries combined.

Candidates should note that the final selection would be based on the compatibility of their proposal with the research interests of the faculty members


See M.Phil./Ph.D. (International Relations) Test paper of the year 2014.(Please note that there are changes in Phase One of the 2015 Entrance Examination for International Relations)


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