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Tata Institute of Social Sciences

Tata Institute of Social Sciences

The Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) was established in 1936 as Sir Dorabji Tata Graduate School of Social Work; and aimed to create human service professionals to work with and enable people overcome poverty, deprivation and unemployment. Today, the institute keeps this vision alive through its extensive teaching, research, policy support, and field action programmes. TISS has received a consistently high appreciation for academic excellence and is counted amongst the best universities in the country. The 3rd cycle of assessment by National Assessment and Accreditation Commission (NAAC) rated TISS with a score of 3.89/4.00; the second highest score amongst all universities accredited by the NAAC thus far; and improving on the 2nd cycle score.

TISS is a centrally funded public university, and the University Grants Commission the Government of India provides the Institute’s Plan and Maintenance Grants. It operates from four campuses located in Mumbai and Tuljapur in Maharashtra, Guwahati and Hyderabad; and has expanded its education, training, research and outreach activities in several states through its centres at Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Bihar, Chennai, Ladakh, Nagaland, New Delhi, Raipur, Ranchi, and Thiruvananthapuram. It has over 4500 students on roll; with nearly one-fifth being Doctoral Scholars, one tenth are undergraduates, and rest are graduate students pursuing post graduate programmes. In 2015-2016, 240 foreign students enrolled in TISS for various short term and long term programmes.

TISS continues to produce committed high quality human service professionals in a range of social and human development sectors: health, mental health, social epidemiology, clinical psychology; education and vocational skill development; human resources management, media and cultural studies, rural and urban development, livelihoods and social entrepreneurship, climate change, disaster management, regulatory governance, focused work on women, children, adolescents, youth, aged; disability studies; through over 50 post-graduate programmes, integrated M. Phil. –  Ph. D. program on all these areas.

As an institution offering education in inter-disciplinary areas of Social Sciences, our curriculum strives to enable students to understand the pulse of society and chart change processes that create appropriate solutions to some of the most pressing issues in the country; and become skilled professionals capable of working with the Government, Corporates, and Civil Society. TISS is engaged in knowledge creation that   is   fundamental   to   understanding   ways   of   achieving   inclusive sustainable development; access to Health, water, sanitation, education and employable skill; peace building, and national security. At any given point in time TISS faculty is working on over 500 research initiatives. TISS has collaborative research and student exchange programs with over 100 universities and institutions across the world, in addition to being member of several university networks – Himalayan Universities Consortium, Erasmus Mundus Partnership, Global Labour University, BRICS Network University, McDonnell International Scholars Academy and others.

The TISS has regular training and capacity building programmes for government officials including the following: senior IAS, IPS and IFoS officers, State Service Officers, Prison Administrators, Railway Service and Indian Forest Service Probationers.

In the last two decades, social sector programmes have expanded without commensurate growth in skilled personnel. Implementation of MGNREGA, NRLM, SAGY, Child protection, Elderly care, Tribal development and other central and state government programmes require addition of thousands of professionals at various levels every year. TISS is uniquely located to contribute to this process. The blend of academic knowledge and practice skills enables us to design several training and capacity building programmes for government, industry, and non-government welfare and development professionals. Simultaneously, grassroots personnel are trained in vocational skills as well as skills relevant to facilitate rural development: financial, legal and digital literacy, participatory programme planning, evaluation and management.

The institute has worked with the police and judicial systems on various capacities. National courts have invited the institute faculty to serve as Amicus Curiae in several critical cases; and directed that TISS create knowledge bases, institutions or procedures. For instance, the Mumbai High Court asked TISS to investigate  the causes of farmers’ suicides in Maharashtra in 2005. In 2015, the Allahabad High Court directed the Government of Uttar Pradesh to seek support of TISS to develop an institutional framework to secure safety of women and children. In the same year, 2015, the Supreme Court directed TISS to develop Standard Operating Procedure to trace missing children.

TISS plays various strategic roles in its work with Government projects of critical national importance: knowledge generation, capacity building, policy development, innovation and demonstration, programme design and implementation, organisational development and restructuring, and evaluation, review and research.

A recent significant contribution is towards the skill building goals of the government. TISS is providing support to the establishment of vocational education institutions for the Governments of Maharashtra and Nagaland; and provides skill building knowledge partnership for youth in universities in various parts of the country. It works with MHRD in strengthening State Government Funded Universities and Colleges under the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abiyan (RUSA); and school education through the Connected Learning Initiative (CLIx) aimed at strengthening school education in four States, as part of collaboration between Massachusetts Institute of Technology USA, Tata Trust and TISS.

The institute has extensive, inclusive and participatory student support mechanisms to achieve high academic standards irrespective of their economic and social backgrounds. It follows the Reservation Policy (15%, 7.5% and 27% reservation to SC, ST and OBC students, supernumerary quota is given for personnel of armed forces and their dependents, Kashmiri migrants, Persons with Disability); education is almost free for SC and ST students; and the retention of students from disadvantaged communities is almost 100%. Some key student services that the TISS provides include counseling services, universal health insurance along with in-house health facility, yoga services, and scholarship for all needy general category students.

TISS has zero tolerance policy to any form of discrimination. All mandated policies and mechanisms are institutionalized and fully operational: Social Protection Office, Committee Against Sexual Harassment, RTI framework, Grievances Redressal Committee with a retired judge as an Ombudsman, Representation of students  in School Boards, Academic Council and all other statutory bodies.

Students of the Institute come from diverse social, economic, geographical and cultural backgrounds across the campuses. The Institute provides space for the expression of plural ideologies, without favouring any one; as long as such debates contribute to, rather than detract from academic performance. Any process that may affect academic environment is sternly dealt with by designated statutory bodies.

TISS believes in and strives for a strong Nation State capable of ensuring dignified existence of all people, particularly the poor, vulnerable, and marginalised sections of the population. Over the years, TISS has consistently built important bridges between vulnerable communities and all branches of the government to generate alignment on national development goals that secures the welfare of all people. As an academic institution of high caliber, it is not aligned to any ideology; but in true academic tradition, introduces all grand theories and perspectives to students.


As a follow up of BRICS Network University (NU) General Conference and International Thematic Group meeting in Yekaterinburg, Russia from 6-9, April 2016, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) has initiated the following:

A committee was formed by Prof S Parasuraman, Director TISS, to facilitate TISS’s active and innovative participation in NU, with special focus on BRICS studies. The committee to coordinate BRICS NU activities from TISS consists of (henceforth referred as TISS BRICS NU Committee (TBC)):

Prof T Jayaraman, Professor and Chairperson, Centre for Climate Change and Sustainability Studies, School of Habitat Studies, TISS (, Member, email:;

Prof R Ramakumar, Professor and Dean, School of Development Studies, TISS (, Member,   email:;

Prof Madhusree Sekher, Professor and Chairperson, International Relations Office and 

Centre for Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policies, TISS (, Member,

email:;  and

Prof Bino Paul, Professor and Dean, School of Management of Labour Studies, TISS (, Coordinating Member, email: . 


Drawing cues from TISS’s presentation to the thematic group ‘BRICS Studies’ in General Conference and International Thematic Group meeting in Yekaterinburg, Russia from 6-9, April 2016 and discussion amongst thematic group members, TBC has agreed on drawing a quickly implantable short term plan, while the committee intends to work on a long term perspective plan, as well, by incorporating all the schools, centers, and campuses. 

Broadly, quickly implantable short term plan has three components: (a) Collaborative Research in BRICS studies, (b) Post Graduate Programmes for BRICS NU, and (c) having platforms for scholarly discourses by organising winter/summer schools with special emphasis on BRICS studies.


Collaborative Research Opportunities

While TISS has been engaging in collaborative research/academic projects with universities across the globe[1][2] through formal modus operandi in diverse streams such as social policy, social sciences, Social work, helath system studies, multidisciplinary contemporary studies including environment, climate and ecology, labour, management, media, cultural studies, elementary and higher education, disaster management, and development studies, we work on contextualizing above themes to the BRICS region. We anticipate that this will set the backdrop for craving out the space for bi-lateral and multi-lateral collaborations between TISS and BRICS NU.


Post Graduate Programmes for BRICS NU

 Although we plan to offer all our masters as well as M Phil/Ph D programmes in the long run for BRICS NU, our current offering covers the following:

Master of Arts/Master of Science in Climate Change and Sustainability Studies (;

Master of Arts in Globalisation and Labour ([3])

Integrated Master of Philosophy-Doctor of Philosophy in Development Studies (


[1] See


[3] This programme is part of the Global Labour University (GLU). The GLU network includes TISS, Jawaharlal Nehru Universuty, University of Campinas Brazil, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, Kassel University, Germany, Berlin School of Economic and Law, Germany, and Pennsylvania State University, United States of America (USA).