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Ashoka Scholars Programme in International Relations

The department offers students a chance to submit a 15,000-word dissertation under the Advanced Scholars Program. This is often undertaken by senior students of the graduating batch, or other advanced students at Ashoka who may wish to engage in a specialized study in International Relations.

The process of completing the thesis is structured over two semesters, in a way that enables the student to undertake an elongated period of research on a particular topic of their choosing. 

Students are initially invited to submit a 1–2-page statement of interest about what they wish to research on, and the reasons for their interest. If the research statement tallies with the interest of a member of faculty, students will be offered the opportunity to pursue an ASP component in their final semester of study at Ashoka. 

The writing process is designed around an academically rigorous set of exchanges between students and faculty, based on formal academic feedback at regular intervals and the submission of two drafts, including a literature review. 

The final submission is a dissertation, usually 15,000 words in length. The final grade is awarded on the basis of consultation between the supervisor and an external examiner chosen by the head of the department, based on the final dissertation. 

  • Thesis for IR Minor

    Those students who have completed their minor by the end of third year can also write a thesis with the department, but their thesis wouldn’t lead to an advanced degree in IR since IR is not yet a major. Completing six courses in IR is a prerequisite for writing a thesis with the department in your ASP year.

  • Joint Thesis in IR and History

    The Department also welcomes students who want to write a joint thesis with other departments. However, one should be clear about the primary department they want to apply to. One will get IR credits only when IR is the primary department they enrol in.

  • Capstone Thesis Guidelines

    The following are the guidelines for a Capstone Thesis with the IR Department, applicable both to the History & IR Advanced Major-thesis and IR fourth-year thesis:

    1. The IR Department calls for thesis proposals in April (sixth semester). Students should use their proposal statements to highlight key details about their thesis project: the research area and questions, methods and sources. The department will take on students for pursuing a thesis based on the quality and feasibility of their proposals.

    Students are advised to discuss their topics for theses with faculty members, who might be best suited to supervise their theses. If the latter agree to supervise the thesis, the same should be mentioned in the proposal statement. The allocation of supervisors will finally be decided by the department during the process of selection.

    2. The IR Department has structured the Capstone Thesis requirements to equip the students with the necessary skills required to write a thesis. The coursework for the thesis is divided into a two-semester plan, as under:

    A. Monsoon Semester: There will be 4 mandatory research workshops, followed by a proposal presentation in the Monsoon semester. The proposal presentation will be the first graded component of the overall thesis.

    B. Spring Semester: There will be two graded seminars in the Spring semester. The first one will be a preliminary presentation and the second one will be a final presentation of your work.

    C. Additional seminars/workshops may be scheduled depending upon the progress and requirements.

    3. The Department can provide financial support for the purpose of sourcing materials, field trips, interviews, etc if required. Students will have to make a clear case for this with the endorsement of their supervisors.

    4. The Department also welcomes students who want to write a joint thesis with other departments. However, one should be clear about the primary department they want to apply to. One will get IR credits only when IR is the primary department they enrol in. In any case, the students will have to apply formally by responding to the call for proposals and should discuss their plans with the prospective supervisor from the IR department.

    5. The IR Department does not permit third-year students to write a thesis in IR. Only the ASP students are permitted to do so.

More About Ashoka Scholars' Programme

All undergraduates graduating with Bachelor’s Degrees at the end of their third year, or who have completed by that time at least academic 92 credits of their degree programme, are eligible for admission into the Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Studies and Research programme, also known as the Ashoka Scholars Programme (ASP). Students who need to complete up to 8 credits of their undergraduate degree must do so within the first semester of the ASP. All students who fall into either of these categories must formally apply for admission to the ASP towards the end of the Spring semester of their third year. The exact date will be circulated by the OAA.


Student Stories

Frequently Asked Questions

If you are interested in taking IR courses, it is recommended that you take your mandatory 100-level course early in your undergraduate, either in your 2nd or 3rd semester at Ashoka. This will ensure that you have access to sufficient higher-level IR courses to complete an IR minor/ IR concentration/History and IR interdisciplinary major. This is also advisable for the ASP students who wish to take up an IR minor/ concentration in their fourth year.

Third-years and ASP students are eligible to become TAs. The department calls for applications in the beginning of each semester – interested students can apply through that.

No, only ASPs can write a thesis with the IR department. But you can do an ISM (Independent Study Module) with the department in the third year.

You can contact the IR Student Representative, ​and CC the Department Manager, Anjali Panwar, at anjali.panwar@ashoka.edu.in​.

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