Established in 1970, this School now has the largest faculty in the university. From the beginning an attempt has been made here to dismantle the narrow disciplinary compartments found in traditional academic structures, and this objective can be seen reflected even in the unusual appointment pattern. Thus, one may find a linguist or an anthropologist in the Centre for Historical Studies; or a demographer and an economist along with geologists or geographers in the Centre for the Study of Regional Development; an economist, a psychologist, a sociologist and a historian in the Centre for Educational Studies. .
The M.A. programmes are relatively discipline oriented, but the students are encouraged to offer some courses in the other Centres as well. At the research level the interdisciplinary thrust of the School comes to the fore. Innovation in course contents as well as in the directions of research testify to the achievements of the School.In recognition of the valuable work done by them many centres within the School have been recognised by the U.G.C. as advanced centres for research under their Special Assistance Programme (DSA).
The centres which are managing DSA programmes are Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Centre for Historical Studies, Centre for the Study of Regional Development, Centre for the Study of Social Systems and Zakir Husain Centre for Educational Studies. The underlying philosophy that guided the evolution of initial structure of the School was based on the view that for a proper understanding of social reality, an inter-disciplinary approach to the study of social sciences was imperative. It is in pursuit of this objective that the academic programmes of centres within the School and their faculty composition do not exactly conform to the conventional department wise structure which one comes across most of the other Indian universities.
Teaching at the M.A. level is, to a considerable extent , discipline oriented, aiming at ensuring proficiency of students in the basic knowledge and analytical methods employed in the various social science disciplines.
The research level programmes, namely the students' theses, course component of the M.Phil/Ph.D. programmes, the faculty project profile and individual research, are much more inter-disciplinary. The extent of this inter-disciplinary element varies from centre to centre, and depending upon the nature.of the discipline concerned, conceptual framework of teaching and research programmes of different it centres.For example, some Centre such as Centre for the Study of Regional Development, Zakir Hussain Centre for Educational Studies and Centre for Social Medicine and Community Health, have a fairly large representation of two or more disciplines amongst its faculty, while the others are relatively more specialised. Moreover not all the centres of the school run M.A. Programmes.
Those centres which run M.A. level programmes naturally impart a high dose of discipline based knowledge, although even here, the students are encouraged to take some courses outside their own centre, and sometimes outside the School of Social Sciences as well. The five disciplines in which M.A. level instruction is imparted in the School are Economics, History, Political Science, Geography and Sociology.
These M.A. level programmes are located in the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Centre for Historical Studies, Centre for Political Studies, Centre for the Study of Regional Development and Centre for the Study of Social Systems. Total admissions offered at the M.A. and the M.Phil/Ph.D level programmes within the School have increased substantially since the early years of the School in the beginning of nineteen seventies.
The admission process to all the programmes takes place through a Competitive Admissions Examination. Keeping in view the All India character of this University, laid its objective of providing an easy access to students from all parts of India, the admission test is held in thirty nine centres located in the State capitals and a few other important towns.
The All India character of the University and the School is evident from the state-wise student composition which shows that only 15 per cent or so of total admissions are from Delhi, the rest being from all parts of India. The competitive character of admission to JNU, ensures the student getting admitted to all the various programmes of study in the School are of academically high caliber. Many of them have won prestigious scholarships for pursuing higher studies in various institutions around the world.
The School of Social Sciences has 13 Centres.
Prof. Kaushal Kumar Sharma
School of Social Sciences
Jawaharlal Nehru University