International Programmes 2018/2019

Modern Indian Studies Modern Indian Studies

University of Göttingen • Göttingen

Master of Arts
Teaching language
  • English

English (100%)

Programme duration
4 semesters
Winter semester
Application deadline

15 May for the coming winter semester

Tuition fees per semester in EUR
Combined Master's degree / PhD programme
Joint degree / double degree programme

The Master in Modern Indian Studies is an interdisciplinary programme focusing on economic, political, social, and cultural developments in modern India. This study programme addresses a number of key questions about modern India: How does India's cultural and religious diversity affect societal developments? How does the democratic system address issues of social inequality? How can the dynamics of economic development in a pluralistic society be understood? Looking for answers to profound questions such as these requires an interdisciplinary approach. As such, researchers teaching at the Centre for Modern Indian Studies (CeMIS) come from a wide range of academic backgrounds including development economics, anthropology, history, Indology, political science, religious studies, and sociology.

The teaching programme and research at CeMIS is organised into six broad, interdisciplinary categories:

  • Metamorphoses of the Political

These courses focus on developments in the political arena in modern India such as changes in political structures, practices, and concepts. There are a number of key questions: How is the Indian political system built? How are democracy and development, nationalism, and ethnic conflicts entwined? What is the role of political parties and social movements in modern India?

  • Religion

These courses focus on religion and empire, transregional religious networks, interreligious relations, and religious minorities. Other topics include practices of marginalisation, secularism, inequality, and forms of democratic practice as well as inter-religious conflicts and the resulting popular discourses and public interventions. Students learn how to analyse the religions in South Asia through contemporary empirical works on lived religion in everyday life and through historical studies on the transformation of religious practice and related ideological formations since the late 18th century.

  • Inequality and Diversity

Students learn to analyse the social and state mechanisms which maintain and regulate India's inequitable political economies and its culturally and socially diverse population. Courses focus on issues such as inequalities of income, wealth and health, as well as their relations to other forms of social difference such as gender, caste, and religion.

  • Labour and Capital in Modern India

Students deal with processes of socio-economic transformation in modern India from an interdisciplinary perspective. How has work historically been organised in India, and how is it changing today? What has led to these changes? Which financial, manufacturing, and agricultural structures, etc., operate in modern India? How is globalisation affecting the Indian economy?

  • Media and Public Spheres

Mediascapes are developing in relation to social, political, religious, and economic transformations in modern India. Students investigate the influence of and changes in the media and public spheres, looking not only at political and societal discourses, but also at religion, advertising, and entertainment. Studying these spheres also allows a close look at global developments in modern Indian.

  • Development Economics of India

These courses focus on the main issues of development economics in relation to India and the history and processes of economic development in modern India. The following aspects are of particular interest: relations of inequality, poverty and power; ways of fighting poverty; current policy debates about the Indian economy; the main concepts of public health as a field and the critical links between global health and economic development.

Course organisation

The English language Master's programme in Modern Indian Studies is a single major, four-semester programme. As an international programme, it attracts students from around the world. To obtain a Master's degree, students must complete 120 credits, including a Master's thesis (30 credits).

The Master's programme is designed to offer students a great deal of flexibility, allowing them to develop and pursue their own interests and thematic focus within the six interdisciplinary categories. Aside from the two-semester introductory course Interdisciplinary Studies of Modern India (18 ECTS), students are free to elect which courses they take and to choose the theoretical and analytical focus of their thesis. Furthermore, students are to take courses in a modern Indian language (12 ECTS). Native speakers of (an) Indian language(s) can apply for an exemption.

German language skills are not required for this study programme. However, international students interested in learning or improving their German can attend courses provided by the university. Up to 12 ECTS can go towards the Master's degree through the "Professionalisation" area (see diagram).

We welcome international students who have:

  • a motivation and willingness to engage academically with different social, cultural, economic, and political contexts
  • an interest in modern India
  • an interest in interdisciplinary methods and theories
  • a good knowledge of English
  • an interest in engaging with the academic life at CeMIS
Types of assessment

Types of assesment include essays, papers, presentations, written and oral exams, and learning portfolios.

A Diploma supplement will be issued
International elements
  • International guest lecturers
  • Integrated study abroad unit(s)
  • Language training provided
  • Projects with partners in Germany and abroad
  • International comparisons and thematic reference to the international context
  • Content-related regional focus
Integrated study abroad unit(s)

Students have the option of a study semester at one our partner universities in India or at another university of their choice. Our partner universities are:

  • School of Social Sciences at Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi)
  • Centre for Studies in Social Sciences Calcutta, Kolkata (CSSSC)
  • University of Delhi
  • University of Pune

CeMIS assists students in securing financial support for the semester abroad.

Course-specific, integrated German language courses
Course-specific, integrated English language courses
Tuition fees per semester in EUR
Semester contribution
Enrolment fees are approx. 340 EUR per semester. The fees include a prepaid semester ticket that entitles students to use regional trains (in Lower Saxony and Bremen) and city buses in Göttingen free of charge. Students of the University of Göttingen receive discounts for cultural events. Meals and drinks are also available at reduced prices at all university canteens. See:
Costs of living
The average cost of living in Göttingen is modest compared to other major university cities in Germany. Currently, expenses for accommodation, food, health insurance and books are approx. 800 EUR per month. Please note that fees for health insurance may vary according to age. Living expenses might be slightly higher.
Funding opportunities within the university
Academic Admission Requirements

Proof of proficiency in English is required (see details below).

Sufficient credits (at least 50 ECTS) in a related field are required. Related fields are development studies, geography, history, gender or diversity studies, Indian studies, Indology, Islam studies, ethnology or cultural anthropology, media studies, political science, religious studies, social and economic history, sociology or economics.

German language skills are not required for this study programme.

Click here for more information about the application process the ECTS system.

Language requirements

Candidates with a native language other than English must prove sufficient knowledge in English by minimum achievements in an internationally recognised test. The successful passing of the test must not date back longer than three years prior to receipt of the application for enrolment and admission to the Master’s degree programme. One of these requirements is to be met:

a) Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English
b) Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English
c) “International English Language Testing System” (IELTS), minimum level “Band 6”
d) a minimum of 550 points in the paper-based “Test of English as a Foreign Language” (TOEFL),
e) a minimum of 220 points in the computer-based TOEFL
f) a minimum of 83 points in the Internet-based TOEFL
g) UNIcert, level III
h) C1 certificate according to CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference)

Candidates who have completed at least one year of study or gainful employment in an English-speaking country in the last four years prior to receipt of the application for admission are exempt from providing evidence of having passed a test.

Evidence of sufficient knowledge in English must be submitted to the Faculty of Social and Cultural Sciences by 30 September at the latest. This evidence is a prerequisite to matriculate for the course – conditional enrolment is not possible.

Application deadline

15 May for the coming winter semester

Submit application to

Apply online here!

Possibility of finding part-time employment

The university supports students in finding part-time jobs in local industries and businesses. A number of student jobs are also available at the university. Please note that restrictions may apply with your scholarship or work contract.


Göttingen offers a range of accommodation options from shared flats and single apartments to student residences.

At the University of Göttingen, the International Office and student services ("Studentenwerk") help students to find accommodation. Many international students live in student residence halls that have single or shared apartments with individual rooms. There are also apartments available for couples and families with children.


Career advisory service

In addition to career counselling at CeMIS, the Faculty of Social Sciences offers career advisory services. The University of Göttingen offers additional career advice.

Specific specialist or non-specialist support for international students and doctoral candidates
  • Welcome event
  • Buddy programme
  • Specialist counselling
  • Pick-up service
Supervisor-student ratio

University of Göttingen

University of Göttingen – Committed to Excellence

Founded in 1737, the University of Göttingen is a research-led university of high international standing. The university is renowned for its diverse range of academic disciplines, its research-oriented teaching, and its outstanding scientific environment, in which more than 40 Nobel laureates have studied, taught, or pursued their research. Currently, 31,650 students are enrolled at the University of Göttingen, 13 percent of whom are international students.

Variety of study programmes
The University of Göttingen offers a vast variety of academic programmes for undergraduate and graduate studies. Internationally renowned, expert researchers teach in more than 40 academic disciplines. About 30 full-time undergraduate and graduate programmes are taught entirely in English. Two international fast-track MSc/PhD programmes prepare students for unique careers in scientific research. Additionally, a growing number of double degree programmes with important international universities are available.

Guidance, supervision, and study conditions
Students are given comprehensive advisory and supervisory support in all phases of their studies. Since advice and guidance are crucially important for the successful outcome of a university career, the university is constantly improving and extending its performance in this area. You will also greatly benefit from the so-called "Studienqualitätsmittel", financial support from the federal state of Lower Saxony, which is paid to finance the best study conditions you can imagine.

Excellent library
Göttingen State and University Library (SUB) maintains a top position among German academic libraries, holding eight million books, journals and other media and offering a broad range of services for study and research. The library plays a leading role in a large number of national and international projects involving the optimisation of literature and information provision as well as the establishment and development of digital research and information infrastructures.

Alumni worldwide
As a member of the Alumni Network, you will continue to be part of the international "Göttingen University Family" even after you have finished your studies. The network currently unites more than 30,000 alumni from all over the world.




13 Percentage of international students at the University of Göttingen
725 Partnerships with leading research institutions all over the world

University Location

Göttingen – a good place to live and study
Göttingen, with a population of approx. 116,000, is a city where tradition and innovation complement one another perfectly. The historic quarter with its excellently preserved timber-framed houses and the University of Göttingen with its 31,650 students create a lively atmosphere that would be hard to find elsewhere.
The university departments and buildings are mainly located on two campuses and are within easy walking or cycling distance from each other. Accommodation for 5,000 students and excellent canteens run by the student services organisation ("Studentenwerk") allow for a high quality of life at a low cost.
The local economy includes many innovative technology enterprises in the sectors of measurement and control engineering, biotechnology, optics, medical technology, and information technology. Some of these companies are spin-offs from university research projects. Many of them offer internships and student jobs.
The university cooperates closely with non-university research institutes in Göttingen. Together, they form the Göttingen Campus – a network of cutting-edge research institutes. This network includes five Max Planck Institutes and the Göttingen Academy of Sciences as well as the German Primate Center and the German Aerospace Center. The Göttingen Campus has created an open environment in which students at all levels (Bachelor's, Master's or PhD) as well as experienced researchers can develop fresh and innovative ideas. Numerous scientists and scholars from the non-university research institutes lecture at the university, and joint professorial appointments create bridges between the university and campus partners. This structure supports the reputation of the University of Göttingen as one of the most successful research-oriented universities in Germany.
Situated in the geographical centre of Germany and Europe, Göttingen has excellent travel connections: Berlin, Hamburg, and Frankfurt are only a two-hour train ride away. But you don't have to go that far to take a break; Göttingen itself offers many options for recreational activities. Göttingen boasts three theatres and a symphony orchestra. Many cinemas, cafés, and pubs provide numerous opportunities to meet like-minded people and to enjoy yourself. Alternatively, you can play an active role in the student union, which sponsors many cultural and recreational events. Last but not least, the city and the university offer a variety of activities for sports enthusiasts.