MA in History

Programme Description


The MA History programme is designed to impart understanding of historical phenomena and processes as well as to transmit skills of historical analysis and encourage the historical imagination. The programme teaches students to inquire historically while making use of insights and interpretive techniques of other disciplines, and it seeks to encourage a spirit of critical thinking about contemporary social questions. Skills acquired through the programme shall serve programme graduates well not only in academe but in such careers as journalism, publishing, educational administration, museumship/archival management, tourism/heritage management and government service (among others).

Core courses (compulsory)
16 credits
Elective history courses (elective area I )
8 to 32 credits
Elective history courses (elective area II)
8 to 32 credits
Non-History courses (elective)
Up to 8 credits
Research paper (in Semester 4)
8 credits
≥ 64 credits


Sixteen (16) credits are allotted to four core courses (each of 4 credits). These are compulsory for all MA History students.

Elective history courses (@ 4 credits) are grouped in two broad categories: South Asian history and Comparative history. Courses in the former are unified with respect to their geographical dimension—areas and regions within or across the Indian subcontinent—and address various themes. Courses in the latter are designed to acquaint students with the eclectic nature of historical research while encouraging them to reflect upon connections between ‘Indian history’ and other fields of history. Students must complete at least eight (8) credits and up to thirty-two (32) credits of elective courses in each of these two categories. Courses offered from each category may change from year to year.

AUD is committed to interdisciplinary learning, recognizing that students experience intellectual enrichment when they are exposed to more than one knowledge area or ‘discipline’. MA History students are encouraged but not required to complete up to 8 credits of non-History courses, whether in the School of Liberal Studies or from postgraduate programmes of other schools of the University.

Each MA History student is required to complete a significant research project amounting to eight (8) credits during the fourth programme semester. (They undertake two ‘taught’ courses during the same semester.) Students engage in extensive and intensive review of secondary sources and/or conduct research with historical data (primary documents/source materials). ‘Research paper’ courses shall involve faculty guidance but little classroom instruction. Certain required activities for this exercise shall commence in the third programme semester, even though grades and credits for the same will be awarded only in the fourth semester. The research paper is expected to be of 5,000 – 8,000 words, including notes and bibliography, and may involve use of non-English as well as English language sources and could involve oral interviews or other non-written sources. Each student’s research shall be evaluated by a group of faculty members culminating in a viva voce exam attended by other students.

The four core courses must be completed in the sequence in which they are offered. Most of the core courses are team taught. MHC01 and MHC04 are Semester I courses, MHC02 is a Semester II course, and MHC03 is a Semester III course.

MHC01: The State in Indian History. The course focuses on the important institution called the State. Students examine processes of state formation, ideas and institutions of the state and the different types of state-systems that have emerged in the Indian subcontinent from c. 1000 BCE down to the present time.

MHC02: The Making of the Modern World. The course examines a period that witnessed unprecedented movement of people, things and ideas, literally creating what we now refer to redundantly as the ‘globalized world’. Modernities and modernization are focal points of the course.

MHC03: Power, Culture and Marginality in India. This course familiarizes students with the key concepts of power, culture and marginality and their relations to historical processes, patterns and structures in India. The course traces the emergence, perpetuation and dissolution of identities and examines the social conflicts or tensions contained within (and spilling out of) the identities.

MHC04: Problems of Historical Knowledge. Can we have historical understanding without a philosophy of history? This course focuses on questions and problems involved in historical research and writing and familiarizes students with key ideas of modern philosophy that have influenced the development of the social sciences in general and history in particular over the past two hundred years.

Elective courses are offered in rotation, according to the availability and interests of faculty (including visiting and guest faculty) as well as the expressed preferences of the students. Information about which courses are offered in any given semester shall be communicated before commencement of the semester.

The South Asian history category presently includes the following courses:

  • India’s Economy and Colonial Rule, c. 1750-1950
  • The Indian Nationalist Movement
  • Communalism and Partition in South Asia
  • Environmental History of India
  • Urbanization in India
  • Aspects of Rural Society in Western India
  • Oral Epics: Exploring History and Identity in India
  • The Making of Modern Punjab
  • Devotion, Diversity and Dissent in Medieval India
  • Kingship in South Asia [research paper]
  • Folklore in India: History and Identity [research paper]
  • What is Intellectual History in India? [research paper]
  • Famines, Public Works and Welfare in Colonial India [research paper]
  • Conceptualizing a Region [research paper]
  • Leadership and Politics in 20th-century South Asia [research paper]
  • Aspects of Environmental History of India [research paper]

The Comparative history category presently includes the following courses:

  • Introduction to Global Environmental History
  • The Indian Ocean in History
  • History of Modern Japan
  • Capitalism and Race in Southern Africa, 1850-2000
  • British Imperial Experiences, 1600-1960
  • Labour Relations and Wellbeing in Comparative Perspective
  • Migrations and Diasporas [research paper]
  • Aboriginal Histories
  • Urban Societies [research paper]
  • Meta-narratives and the Historiography of Everyday [research paper]
  • Historicizing Social and Cultural Marginality [research paper]
  • Critiques of a Racially Divided Society: South Africa, 1899 to Present [research paper]

NOTE on credit load and promotion through programme semesters. The normal credit load in each semester is 16 credits. No student is permitted to undertake more than 20 credits of courses in the same semester. An MA History student may complete up to 68 credits of graded courses. Students shall not be permitted to enter the fourth (or final) programme semester or undertake the research paper requirement until and unless they have completed at least 40 credits of courses including all 4 core (compulsory) courses. A student’s enrollment may be extended beyond four semesters in accordance with AUD rules and regulations.

For queries about the programme and admission, contact Dr. Dharitri Narzary (, MA History Programme Co-ordinator.

Application deadline: 14 June 2014.
Entrance test: late June 2014.
Entrance interviews: early July 2014.

Consult the website ( for specific dates and admission information updates.

Programme Structure


Duration: Two years (four semesters)

Number of seats: 42

Total credits: 64

Medium of instruction: English


Eligibility: ≥45% marks (or equivalent grade) in bachelor’s degree from a recognized university. Relaxation of 5% marks for candidates of SC, ST and PD categories.


Reservation of seats: In accordance with Government of NCT Delhi rules.



Fee Structure

Fees Rs. 16,000 will be charged as fees for each semester. The total fee payable at the time of admission will be Rs. 16,000 (for Semester 1) and a refundable caution deposit of Rs. 2,000 for the use of university facilities.

Fee Waivers and Scholarships

A large number of partial and full fee waivers and scholarships are available. As far as possible, the University will ensure that deserving prospective students are not denied the opportunity of studying at AUD due to their inability to pay the fees.

Cancellation of Admission

The admission of candidates who fail to provide proof of securing the merit as evident from original transcripts is likely to be cancelled. Refund of fees in such cases will be as per the policy on refund of fees.

University Policy on Refund of Fees

Time Period for Refund in a Particular Programme of Study Amount to be Deducted
Before Start of Orientation Rs. 1,000
After Start of Orientation Only caution deposit would be refunded

The decision of the Admission Committee on all matters of admission will be final.

The jurisdiction of any dispute will be limited to the NCT of Delhi.

Fees to Foreign Students

Fees: The fees for foreign students would be US$600 per semester. In addition, they would have to pay Rs. 2,000 as a refundable caution deposit. The dates for submission of forms for different programmes by foreign students are 25 May 2012 to 20 June 2012.

Admission Procedure

The entrance test will consist of a combination of questions requiring short and long written answers. It is designed to assess the applicant’s aptitude for studying history and tests analytical capacities and (English) language proficiency. Material, if any, and detailed instructions about the test shall be placed on the AUD website a few weeks prior to the entrance examination.

Admission Updates

Online Application Form