M.A. in Modern Indian Studies

Prospective students

Looking for an English-language interdisciplinary M.A. programme that offers research-based, innovative and critical perspectives on contemporary India?

Want to analyse and understand the social, economic, political and cultural transformations that characterize India today?

Like to become part of a vibrant, stimulating centre in an international academic environment?

If your answer to these questions is yes, then apply now for the M.A. programme in Modern Indian Studies at the CeMIS!

CeMIS offers cutting-edge research-based teaching by faculty and lecturers from a wide range of academic backgrounds including development economics, anthropology, history, Indology, political science, religious studies and sociology. Established in 2009, CeMIS has established an excellent reputation as one of the few centres in Europe and South Asia taking an interdisciplinary approach to the study of modern India. It is part of the University of Göttingen, one of the academically outstanding universities in Germany. Boasting over 40 Nobel Prize winners, the university has a rich tradition and is renowned for its outstanding research institutions and its welcoming campus environment.

The M.A. programme is designed to offer students a great deal of flexibility, allowing them to develop and pursue their own interests within the five areas of focus (see below). Aside from the two-semester introductory course, Interdisciplinary Studies of Modern India, and courses in a modern Indian language(s), students are free to elect which courses they take and to choose the theoretical and analytical focus of their thesis.
Students wishing to develop a stronger focus on development economics have the additional option of completing an M.A. in Modern Indian Studies with a study focus on “Development Economics of India”. This study focus will be printed on the M.A. certificate.

The teaching programme and research at CeMIS is organized into five 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.

    Obviously, I really enjoyed the MA programme at CeMIS, because I started on my PhD—on manual scavengers in colonial Calcutta—as soon as I finished. As an MA and PhD student, CeMIS has provided me with an extremely stimulating and supportive intellectual environment, and most importantly for me, has allowed me to pursue my interests in modern India - Maria-Daniela Pomohaci, CeMIS PhD student

For your application to be successful, you have to fulfil the following requirements:

1. Proof of Proficiency in English

2. Sufficient Credits (at least 50 ECTS) in a related field. For a study focus on Development Economics of India, 30 of these 50 ECTS have to be in economics.

What does this exactly mean?

Proof of proficiency in English

Applicants who are not native English speakers will need to prove sufficient knowledge of English by submitting a certificate stating that they have passed an internationally recognised test, unless they can claim an exemption
Sufficient credits (at least 50 ECTS) in a related field

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.

Please note: If you want to study Modern Indian Studies with a study focus on Development Economics of India, 30 ECTS of the required 50 ECTS have to be in Economics. Here is a brief explanation of the ECTS credit system.

Please check the entry requirements carefully, because these are hard criteria for admission. Every year, we receive applications from successful and motivated students who are not eligible and whom we unfortunately have to reject.

    I founded my own Indo-German Consulting company at the beginning of 2017. Prior to that, I worked for different Indian companies, mostly in Tamil-Nadu. Before I started my studies at CeMIS, I was an ordinary law student at the University of Göttingen. But thanks to CeMIS, I developed a much deeper insight into Indian culture. This was essential for me and my life in India — on both a professional and academic level, not to mention in everyday life. - Christian Garrelt Saathoff, Managing Partner, CG-S GmbH - Indo-German Business Network

The Master in Modern Indian Studies is a single major, four-semester programme. As this is an international study programme attracting students from around the world, all courses are conducted in English. Students may choose to complete either an M.A. in Modern Indian Studies or an M.A. in Modern Indian Studies with study focus on Development Economics of India.
To obtain a masters degree, students must complete 120 credits, including a masters thesis (30 credits).


Detailed information on the credit structure of the M.A. programme. More detailed information on the credit structure of the M.A. with a study focus on Development Economics of India.

    I was looking for a diverse study program that allowed me to develop a profound understanding from different disciplinary perspectives. CeMIS offered me the perfect mix: political science, economics and language studies, and all with a focus on South Asia. After my BA in Interdisciplinary Indian Studies, during which I completed two semesters abroad at the National University of Singapore and an internship in India, my first corporate stint was at the Indo-German Chamber of Commerce in Mumbai where I worked on establishing a German Energy Efficiency Training for Companies in India. After that, I started my own company: a marketing agency in Mumbai that employs only women. My understanding of the Indian market, culture and language, as well as my German background, create a unique combination of expertise that many Indian and German companies are looking for when introducing their product into the foreign market. - Gwenda Schobert, CEO of Enspireco Services Pvt Ltd

Students have the option of studying one semester at one of our partner universities in India or at another university of their own choice. CeMIS works together closely with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and other funding institutions in order to assist students in securing financial support for a semester abroad.

What's a semester abroad like?

See photos and short reports from M.A. students Maja about her semester in Pune and Marcel about his semester in Delhi.

CeMIS also runs occassional study trips.

Through the M.A. in Modern Indian Studies, students develop important skills, knowledge and experience for work in a range of fields. Amongst other things, students learn how to approach problems in their full complexity, and from a number of different perspectives. They gain skills and experience in independent research, and develop their language capabilities through practice writing, reading and speaking in English, and in at least one Indian language. With professors and classmates from across the globe, students can also improve their intercultural skills, which they can further develop through a semester abroad, either in India or elsewhere. Together with a successfully completed M.A. in Modern Indian Studies from the University of Göttingen, these skills, knowledge and experience open up opportunities in a wide range of professional fields. These fields include Indian or transnational enterprises, in development cooperation, in associations, in administration and in government agencies, in NGOs, the tourism sector, as well as in media and communications. Students may also choose to pursue an academic career in research and teaching, with the M.A. serving as a qualification to enter a doctoral programme. The University also has a Careers Service, and CeMIS also offers support and advice to students looking for internships. For more information, see links in the adjacent panel. Find out more about career opportunities (sorry, in German only).

Here are no tuition fees at German universities, only an administrative fee/student body contribution per semester (around 380 euro/semester). The contribution has a number of benefits including subsidised meals at the university canteens, free bus travel in Göttingen, free train travel in the state of Lower Saxony and beyond, as well as free entry to a broad range of cultural events in Göttingen.
M.A. students from Germany and abroad may be eligible for third-party scholarships. Find out about part-time work opportunities and download the PDF guide booklet about life and work in Göttingen.

Find out more about visa requirements to study in Germany. CeMIS and the international office offer assistance with the visa application process, including issuing the required letters.

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 reach approx. 750-800 EUR per month. Please note that fees for health insurance may vary according to age.
To find out more about moving to, studying in, finding accommodation and living in Göttingen, see Student Life in Göttingen, Studying in Göttingen, or download the extensive PDF guide booklet for new international students.
Have a look around Göttingen, with the Panorama from Gerhardts Fotografie.

    I completed a double major B.A. in politics, and in Modern Indian Studies at CeMIS, where I also wrote my bachelor thesis. The courses at CeMIS gave me a very good fundamental understanding of India’s history and society. In addition to the excellent quality of the courses, I especially enjoyed the atmosphere and support from the lecturers at the centre. At the moment, I am doing my Master in Peace and Conflict Studies in Marburg, and I am very happy to have gained such a good foundation during my bachelor studies. The BA at CeMIS definitely gave me the necessary qualifications for the Master (keyword: program requirements), and I’m grateful that I had such a good time there! - Nils Nerreter, MA student in Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Marburg
What's it like at CeMIS?

With 4.5 out of 5 stars, the M.A. in Modern Indian Studies at CeMIS is the top-ranked Asian Studies programme on popular German study rating website studycheck.de. Find out what students say at studycheck.de. The programme was rated especially high for its teachers, organisation, and the courses offered.

Students talk about their studies

Chatting with Anna

In this series of short videos, MA student Anna catches up with MA and BA classmates to chat about studying - and life - at CeMIS.

To follow soon.

Have more questions? Speak to a current CeMIS M.A. student. Contact Ashwin ask.me@cemis.uni-goettingen.de

If you would like to know more about the study programme, please contact Dr. Michael Dickhardt Email.
Answers to your questions about the application and admissions process.