When noted columnist Kuldip Nayar tries to impress us, saying he did his MSc, not MA in journalism from the United States of America, one listens to him patiently but surprisingly too. Now, it is another surprise that the University of Oxford has introduced a new degree MSc in Contemporary India. This is actually in response to growing interest among students about India and its burgeoning economy.
The first batch of students for the new degree launched by the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies would be enrolled from October 2008. The course would provide students with the opportunity to learn both about India's achievements and persistent problems and would provide high-quality training in research methods and in the critical analysis theory in the main social science disciplines.
The degree has been designed for the students from a wide range of backgrounds, particularly the Social Sciences and History. The course would provide stand-alone training for those wishing to specialise in India, either out of academic interest or as preparation for work in the private sector, international organisations, government, NGOs, multi-lateral and bi-lateral aid and development agencies and media organisations.
The course would also serve as first stage preparation for subsequent doctoral research on India. According to Barbara Harris White, Professor of Development Studies: “India is a fascinating country to study: it is the largest democracy in the world, a regional superpower and has had great IT business success."