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Ph.D. Programme in Sociology and Anthropology

The Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Ashoka University invites applications for its PhD programme for the academic year 2024-2025
Application window opens on December 28, 2023
Application window closes on February 15, 2024
Shortlisted candidates will be notified by the last week of March 2024
The shortlisted candidates will sit for the takeaway exam in the first week of April
The shortlisted candidates from the written exam will be called for final interviews in the last week of April
The final list of candidates will be published here after the complete evaluation
For inquiries, please write to phd.soa@ashoka.edu.in

The Department acknowledges the unique relationship between sociology and social anthropology as it has developed and flourished in India. We emphasise the critical empiricism, theoretical engagement and comparative approach central to our best disciplinary traditions. Our faculty is actively engaged in long-term fieldwork and ethnographic research in different parts of South Asia and the Himalayan region. Faculty strengths are wide-ranging and include the study of language, law, religion, violence, nature, agrarian change, the state, sovereignty, borderlands, infrastructures, markets, political economy, mobility, informality, popular culture and mental health. Our department encourages interdisciplinary explorations with allied fields of social thought and inquiry, including history, economics, political science, psychology, philosophy, linguistics, environmental studies, computer science, planning and design, natural sciences, arts and aesthetics, law and media. 

Interested candidates should visit the department website and acquaint themselves with faculty specializations.

How to Apply

We are looking for committed and motivated individuals with a genuine interest in research. Candidates with a background in sociology or anthropology or related disciplines, including history and the humanities, and a thorough knowledge of at least one Indian language are encouraged to apply. The minimum requirement is a Master’s degree with an aggregate of at least 55 %. Required documents include a cover letter, resume, research proposal (including bibliography), and one writing sample. To apply, please click here.

  • Course Structure

    Graduate students will be required to complete 36 credits of coursework spread over four semesters/two years. Three semesters of rigorous coursework and one semester of preparation for the qualifying exams will allow students to explore a wide range of concepts, theories and ethnographies as they move towards formulating their dissertation topic. The core courses include 1. Concepts, Contemporaneity and the Social, which will introduce contemporary debates and ethnographies ranging from the ecological crisis to contemporary religiosity and the problems of the secular, from collective violence to public health, from gift economies to commodity cultures and the market, from states and borders to migration and mobilities 2. Research Methodology, where students will be trained in anthropological methods tailored to specific research projects as well as writing proposals for external funding. 3. Critical Writing, which will ensure that students receive dedicated instruction and mentorship in academic writing and narrative techniques. The department also offers several elective courses, such as Imagining South Asia; Kins and Neighbours; Power, Resistance and Legitimacy; Economy, Ecology and Infrastructure; Medicine, Technology and the Body; Language, Science and the Social; Gender and Sexuality; Gaze, Screen & Performativity; Law and Society; Constructing Disciplinary Pasts etc. The students can take a maximum of two electives from outside the department.


  • Teaching Experience

    Students will acquire teaching experience as Graduate Assistants during the first four semesters of coursework. Assistance in teaching will include (among others) supervision of students’ work, grading assignments, quizzes, or reports, data collection and/or analysis. Graduate Assistants will also help in coordinating department events. 

  • Dissertation Work

    Students will carry out a preliminary exploration/ pilot study of their field site in the summer after their first year. From the monsoon semester of the third year, students will carry out fieldwork until the summer of the fourth year. The fifth and sixth years will be spent in writing the thesis. Students are expected to deliver a dissertation defense no later than the end of the sixth year. 

  • Process of Selection

    There will be two components for evaluating PhD applicants:

    Written and Oral

    1. Written component will consist of Writing Sample & Research Proposal + Written Test
    2. Oral interview

    The result of the first screening of candidates on the basis of submissions (CV, Writing Sample and Research Proposal) will be declared by last week of March. The applicants are advised to keep checking this page for more information.

    Final shortlisted candidates will be notified by email about take-home written exam and interview.

    The email will mention the format of the written exam. The question paper will consist of 2 open-ended questions on two texts (extracts/selections from academic books). The written test will evaluate their critical engagement, sociological imagination, and original thinking. The duration of the exam will be 12 hours. The list of 2-3 readings will be provided at the time of email notification to shortlisted candidates.

    The shortlisted candidates will sit for take-away exam (12 hours, 8 AM-8 PM). in the first week of April.

    The shortlisted candidates from the written exam will be called for interviews (via Zoom due to the COVID-19).

    The final list of selected candidates will be announced here after complete evaluation.

  • List of Candidates Selected for Sociology and Anthropology Ph.D. 2021

    The name of the candidates (in alphabetical order) are:

    1. Aishwarya Padmaraj
    2. Deepti Sreeram
    3. Devashish Saurav
    4. Nisha Subramanian
    5. Sumitra Nair
    6. Titiksha Shukla

Applications for Ph.D. Programme in Sociology and Anthropology are now open.

Deadline - February 15, 2022

Frequently Asked Questions

All students admitted to the PhD programme will receive a monthly stipend of Rs. 35,000 for six years, including during their fieldwork semesters. In addition to this, students will be eligible for an annual contingency grant of Rs. 20,000 for research support, and medical insurance coverage upto one lakh per annum. The university may also extend additional financial support for PhD students to participate in conferences. JRF and other scholarship recipients would be able to carry over their scholarship to Ashoka. The semester tuition fee is Rs. 12,500 per semester.

PhD students will be expected to assist in coordinating the department seminar and colloquium series. All PhD students will also acquire pedagogical training as Teaching Assistants during their tenure at Ashoka University.

The tenure of PhD students at Ashoka University is a maximum of 6 years. Requirements for completing the PhD in Sociology and Anthropology include 48 credits of coursework spread over two years. The department strongly recommends language training for fieldwork competence. Ashoka University offers many language courses. Students would be encouraged to enrol in language courses during the summer semesters.

Ashoka University offers PhD students accommodation quarters on campus, depending on availability. Students can also opt for off-campus housing and will be given Rs. 7,000 as Rent Allowance.

Study at Ashoka

Study at Ashoka