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Delhi School of Economics, started in 1949, is a conglomerate of three departments, under the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Delhi.


Shortly after independence, a group of visionaries led by Professor V.K.R.V. Rao and supported by India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, launched a project to create a Centre for advanced studies in the social sciences that would compare with the best in the world. Thus began the Delhi School of Economics in 1949. Currently, the School comprises the departments of economics, commerce, geography and sociology. The department of economics was designated a Centre of Advanced Study by the University Grants Commission. In 1993, the Centre for Development Economics was created within the department, to strengthen the research infrastructure.

Department of Economics

Among the faculty at the department of economics have been the likes of V.K.R.V. Rao, B.N. Ganguly and K.N. Raj (all three of whom went on to serve as vice-chancellors at the University of Delhi), Amartya Sen (who won the Nobel Prize), Manmohan Singh (the current Indian Prime Minister and also the key architect of the economic reforms since 1991), Sukhomoy Chakravarty (who was chief economic advisor), Jagdish Bhagwati, Kaushik Basu, Partha Sen, Raj Krishna, the economic historian Tapan Raychaudhuri and many others who have excelled professionally.

According to RePEc, the Economics Department is currently the highest ranked Economics Department in India (out of more than 60 institutions). The latest rankings can be accessed at

The department has been associated with three important journals over the years. It publishes the Indian Economic Review, several faculty members edit the Indian Economic and Social History Review, and for many years it housed the Journal of Quantitative Economics.

The seminars, conferences and workshops periodically organized by the department have attracted some of the highest quality academics from the world over. These have included Sir John and Lady Ursula Hicks, Edmond Malinvaud, Frank Hahn, Jacques Drèze, Jean Drèze, James Tobin, James Meade, Joan Robinson, Milton Friedman, Michael Kalecki, Nicholas Kaldor, Tibor Scitovsky, Tjalling Koopmans, Lawrence Klein, Agnar Sandmo,Joseph Stiglitz,John Forbes Nash and Eric Maskin.

The department boasts a state-of-the-art computer centre. All students receive compulsory training in the application of computers for data analysis and economic modelling. The centre has 70 computers, equipped with specialized econometrics packages like Shazam, E-Views, SPSS, RATS, LIMDEP, GAUSS, STATA etc, and subscribes to databases such as Prowess (pertaining to companies), Capex (relating to infrastructure projects), Trade (containing export and import data) and EconLit (pertaining to publications in economics). Students are provided internet access and e-mail accounts.

Complementing the other resources is the Ratan Tata Library, considered a premier library for economics in the country. It has a total collection of over 300,000 books, subscribes to some 500 journals, annual reports of 800 joint-stock companies, and numerous publications of the UN and other international agencies.

Department of Sociology

The Department of Sociology was established by the University of Delhi in 1959 as a constituent of the Delhi School of Economics. To begin with, the Department trained students for two courses: M.A. and Ph.D. In 1966 a two-year course for the M.Litt. degree was introduced. This has been replaced since 1976 by an M.Phil. degree course of a year’s duration. In 1968, the Department was recognised as a Centre of Advanced Study (CAS) in Sociology by the University Grants Commission (UGC). The department receives a renewable five-year grant from the UGC under the CAS scheme. The UGC also provides a renewable three-year grant under its ASHISS (Assistance for Strengthening of the Infrastructure of the Humanities and Social Sciences) program for departmental infrastructure as well as research on State and Society. At present the strength of the faculty includes seven Professors, ten Readers, one Lecturer, and two Research Associates. In addition, there are nine members in the office staff.

The Department has a coordinated programme of teaching and research covering a variety of fields, including some developed for the first time in the country. Studies have been published or prepared on community power structures, local-level politics, trade unions, co-operatives, textual and contextual studies of Hinduism, religious symbolism, family and kinship, and social and religious movements. Studies have also been conducted in the fields of stratification, gender, environment, the sociology of development, historical sociology, urban sociology, and medical sociology. The sociology of masculinity, demography, popular culture, education, migration, the sociology of violence and documentary practices of the state are some of the new areas that faculty members are working on at present.

The Department has been visited by a large number of distinguished scholars from India and abroad, who have delivered lectures and given seminars, some of them as Visiting Professors and Fellows. The faculty of the Department has also been associated with many institutions in India and elsewhere as Visiting Professors and Fellows, and as participants in seminars and conferences. The Department draws students from different parts of India and universities abroad for all its courses.

All members of the faculty are actively engaged in research, which has resulted in the publication of a large number of books, reports, and research papers in different fields of sociology. The Department has also undertaken several research projects during the last four and a half decades. Several faculty members are involved in international research projects and are members of distinguished professional bodies. Various members of the Department have been actively associated with the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) and the UGC in preparing surveys of research and teaching in the discipline.

From its very inception, the Department has encouraged a view of learning in which students are given an opportunity to participate actively in discussions. To supplement the classroom interaction between teacher and M.A. students through lectures, the Department has an active M.A. tutorial programme. In this system, each student is assigned a tutor who discusses particular topics and allocates reading and writing exercises in accordance with the needs of a student. Thus a student has a continuous feedback on his or her progress. Small groups of students meet their tutor every week for discussion and each student writes one long essay per course every semester. Since 1994-95 a system of continuous internal evaluation has been introduced, where the marks of one tutorial essay submitted in each course are counted towards the final examination.

The Department has introduced a system of individual advisors for students admitted under the reserved categories. The system is entirely voluntary and the advisor helps the student by providing individual guidance on books to read, correction of written work, etc.

Department of Geography

The Department traces its origin to October 1959, when under the initiative of Professor V.K.R.V. Rao, the then Vice-Chancellor of the University and an eminent Economist, a Department of Human Geography was established as a constituent of the Delhi School of Economics. Professor George Kuriyan, a well-known Geographer of India at that time, was the first Professor and founder of the Department. In 1966, Professor V.L.S. Prakasha Rao took over from him and guided the Department until 1973. During this period, the Department acquired a name and a distinctive identity in India and abroad. The Department draws students from different parts of India as well as from abroad.

The Department has expanded considerably since 1973. The name of the Department was changed to the Department of Geography in 1976 to indicate the widening scope of teaching and research activity in physical and human aspects of Geography. The Department has evolved many new courses, which have been widely acclaimed as the frontiers in Geography. The Faculty members undertake research projects from various agencies including University Grants Commission, Indian Council of Social Science Research, Council for Scientific and Industrial Researchmarker, Indo-Canadian Shastri Institute and Ministries of Govt. of India, which include Indian Space Research Organization, Department of Science and Technology and Planning Commission.

The Department is located in the teaching block of the campus of the Delhi School of Economics, Delhi University North Campus.

Notable Faculty


DSE also has officially registered the Delhi School of Economics Alumni Association, which has facilitated alumni events in Mumbai and Washington D.C.


Alumni (Academics)

Faculty of Commerce and Business

In December 1967, the Department of Commerce was set up as a separate department by carving it out of the composite Department of Economics and Commerce, Delhi School of Economics. It became an independent faculty in 1992. The Department of Commerce of the Faculty of Commerce and Business is situated in the same compound as the three social science departments collectively known as the Delhi School of Economics (DSE).

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