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Contemporary India Research MPhil / PhD, option of joint PhD with NUS

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  • Current number of academic staff: 10 (with 20 affiliates in other departments).

  • Current number of research students: 27

  • Recent publications:

o The Idea of India

o Atomic State: Big Science in Twentieth Century India

o Remapping India: New States and their Political Origins

o Forged in Crisis

o Comparative Constitutionalism in South Asia

o The Measure of a Tribe: The Cultural Politics of Constitutional Reclassification in North India

o Muslims in Indian Cities: Trajectories of Marginalisation

o Does Access to Institutional Agricultural Credit Depend on Caste?

o Evolution of India's Agni-V Missile Bureaucratic Politics and Nuclear Ambiguity

o 1971: A Global History of the Creation of Bangladesh


  • Current research projects:

o Democracy and democratic politics in India;

o Jawaharlal Nehru;

o Legal understandings of culture in India;

o Approaches to Twentieth Century Science in China and India

o The politics of regionalism and federalism in India

o Learning achievement in private and government schools in India

o Mobilization of the lower castes and untouchables in India

o India and the Second World War

o Diplomatic and Contemporary history of South Asia and India

  • Partner organisations: The Institute is closely involved in the College’s key partnership with Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, with a programme of research exchanges for postgraduate students in addition to a joint PhD programme with the National University of Singapore. In addition, we regularly host visiting fellows from institutions such as the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Brookings India, and the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi.

Key information

Duration Expected to be MPhil two years FT, three years PT. PhD three years FT, four-six years PT. Normal start date September but students may commence at other times by arrangement.

Study mode Full-time, Part-time

Further details

Awarding institution King's College London/King's and NUS for joint programme

Faculty Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy

Department India Institute



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Course detail


The King’s India Institute offers a unique and exciting environment for the in-depth study of India. Promoting an inter-disciplinary understanding of India in a comparative global context, the Institute coordinates and develops India-related research capabilities. Students can draw on academic expertise in a range of disciplines, and supervision may be provided from within the Institute or jointly with other faculty within the College. Staff research interests include:

Dr Rudra Chaudhuri
Diplomatic and contemporary history of South Asia and India; India's foreign relations

Prof Christophe Jaffrelot
Theories of nationalism and democracy; mobilization of the lower castes and untouchables in India; Hindu nationalist movement; ethnic conflicts in Pakistan.

Professor Sunil Khilnani:
Intellectual history and political thought; the history and politics of modern India; democratic theory and non-Western experiences; strategic thought on India's place in the world.

Dr Kriti Kapila:
The law in contemporary India; the politics of recognition and the category of 'tribe' in India; the historical DNA of population groups; the interface of national and transnational legal regimes.

Dr Sunil Mitra Kumar
Indian economic development; the role of caste in access to resources; microeconometrics and survey data; causal inference and economic methodology.

Prof Harsh Pant
International relations theory; security studies; proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; Asia-Pacific security; South Asian politics.

Dr Jahnavi Phalkey:
The history of science and technology; the roles of science in the transformation of independent India; the laboratory as a social institution; statistical practices; nuclear physics research and education in India; state power in independent India.

Dr Srinath Raghavan
Contemporary history of India, international politics of South Asia, Indian military history, and India's foreign and defence policies since 1947.

Dr Louise Tillin:
Politics and development in contemporary India; the operation of India's federal system; the creation of India's newest states; agrarian political economy.

Student Profiles

Course study environment

The India Institute offers a lively and thought-provoking programme of seminars, workshops and colloquia, all of which encourage interaction between graduate students, research staff and a wider audience. Together with the Institute's core staff and associate faculty across various departments at King's, PhD students add to the multi-disciplinary and vibrant intellectual atmosphere of the Institute. The Institute also regularly hosts internationally renowned visiting fellows who add an important dimension to our stimulating academic environment.

Postgraduate training

We offer two dedicated PhD modules viz. Interpreting India and Methods in the Social Sciences and Humanities besides a weekly Writing Up seminar. In addition, students are encouraged to audit relevant MA modules at the India Institute and across College, and can take dedicated doctoral training courses run by the KISS-DTC. We also host a weekly seminar series India@King's.

Head of group/division

Professor Sunil Khilnani, Director, King's India Institute

Contact for information

Postgraduate Admissions Team, Admissions Office
tel: +44 (0)20 7848 7429
fax: +44 (0)20 7848 7200 

Dr Sunil Mitra Kumar

Contact email


Course website


Entry requirements

Entry requirements

India Research Entry Requirements
Minimum UK requirements   
  • A Master's degree is usually required.

  • In exceptional circumstances only, a Bachelor's degree with first class or high 2:1 honours will be considered. 

International requirements   Visit our admissions webpages to view our International entry requirements.
English Language requirements  Band B Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements.


Applicants to the Joint programme are encouraged to contact an academic at King's to develop research links with the partner institution

Application procedure

Before applying, please read carefully the information about our research interests, and make sure that your research topic falls within one of these areas. You are welcome to contact a potential supervisor directly to discuss your research topic, and we also encourage you to contact the India Institute PhD admissions tutor with a draft research proposal before submitting a complete application through the online system. The admissions tutor will advise whether your research can, in principle, be carried out with us.

Admission will initially be for the MPhil but students are expected to transfer to the PhD proper by the end of the first year, and no later than the end of the second year, on the recommendation of the Institute’s graduate upgrading panel.

September, January, and April start dates available. Applicants are strongly encouraged to start their degree at beginning of the academic year in September, when the College offers a full induction programme.

Personal statement and supporting information

Applicants are encouraged to approach potential supervisors prior to application. To identify a supervisor please see: https://kclpure.kcl.ac.uk/portal/en/ .

You will be asked to submit the following documents in order for your application to be considered:

India Research checklist
Personal Statement Yes A personal statement of up to 4,000 characters (maximum 2 pages) is required, outlining your reasons for pursuing further research.
Research Proposal Yes The proposal (3-5 pages) should explain in some detail precisely the field of study that you want to contribute to and current research gaps, what you want to do and how you propose to do it. For advice on how to write a winning application, please visit the following page.
Previous Academic Study Yes A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing the subjects studied and marks obtained. If you have already completed your degree, copies of your official degree certificate will also be required. Applicants with academic documents issued in a language other than English, will need to submit both the original and official translation of their documents.
References Yes Two references are required with at least one academic. Professional references will be accepted if you have completed your qualifications over five years ago.
Travel Plan Yes (Joint programme only) If applying for the joint programme please include the names of your supervisors from both institutions and include a completed travel plan form.
Other Optional Applicants may also wish to include a CV (Resume) or evidence of professional registration as part of their application


Course intake

No set number.

Joint PhDs - Application advice

Applicants for the Joint PhD programme must contact the relevant departments at both universities before submitting an application in order to discuss the suitability of their topic for the joint programme and to locate potential supervisors. Applications should initially be submitted to the proposed home institution only, ie where the student will start and finish their programme. Students should note that acceptance onto the programme may take slightly longer than for single-institution PhDs because of the additional steps involved. Further details, including FAQs, can be found on the King’s Worldwide web pages.

Applicants who choose King’s as their home institution should apply through the online system, selecting the appropriate Joint PhD option from the drop-down list. In addition to the standard supporting documentation, applicants should submit a Travel Plan form indicating how they intend to divide their time between the two partner institutions. Students must spend a specified amount of time in each institution, details of which can be found in the ‘Notes’ section of the Travel plan form.


Application closing date

The deadlines for applications are detailed below. We will open applications for an intake in 2020 after the final deadline passes in 2019.

  • January 2019 entry – 26th October 2018 for International students and 3rd December 2018 for Home/EU students
  • October 2019 entry – 26th July 2019 for International students and 30th August for Home/EU students
  • January 2020 entry – 25th October 2019 for International students and 2nd December 2019 for Home/EU students

Please note that funding deadlines may be earlier.

Help and support

If you don't have a suitable qualification for direct entry to a UK university, or if English isn't your first language, our academic preparation courses can help you get ready for study in the UK.

Preparation courses

Fees and funding

UK/EU Tuition Fees 2018/19

Full time tuition fees:

£5,000 per year (MPhil/PhD, Contemporary India Research)

£5,000 per year (MPhil/PhD, Contemporary India Research with National University of Singapore)   

Part time tuition fees: £2,500 per year (MPhil/PhD, Contemporary India Research)

UK/EU Tuition Fees 2019/20

Full time tuition fees:

£5,300 per year (MPhil/PhD, Contemporary India Research)

£5,300 per year (MPhil/PhD, Contemporary India Research with National University of Singapore)   

Part time tuition fees: £2,650 per year (MPhil/PhD, Contemporary India Research)

International Tuition Fees 2018/19

Full time tuition fees: 

£18,740 per year (MPhil/PhD, Contemporary India Research)

£18,740 per year (MPhil/PhD, Contemporary India Research with National University of Singapore)    

Part time tuition fees: £9,370 per year (MPhil/PhD, Contemporary India Research)

International Tuition Fees 2019/20

Full time tuition fees: 

£19,850 per year (MPhil/PhD, Contemporary India Research)

£19,850 per year (MPhil/PhD, Contemporary India Research with National University of Singapore)    

Part time tuition fees: £9,950 per year (MPhil/PhD, Contemporary India Research)

Students starting their programme in 2019/20 who are eligible to pay EU fees will pay the same rate of tuition fees as UK students. This will apply for the duration of their programme, but may be subject to change by the UK Government for subsequent cohorts from 2020/21.

These tuition fees may be subject to additional increases in subsequent years of study, in line with King’s terms and conditions.

Financial help and support

Visit the fees and funding webpages to find out more about bursaries, scholarships, grants, tuition fees, living expenses, student loans and other financial help available at King's.


Next steps

View our postgraduate guide

Learn more about postgraduate degree programmes at King's. Download or view our guide in PDF format.

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