This is a written work of 5,000 to 8,000 words, required of all students. By the middle of the first semester, faculty members will have advised students on the selection of topics and approved their proposals; they will supervise the research and writing required to complete the project. Students defend their dissertation in a viva voce session with the designated supervisor.
The dissertation could be on a topic requiring extensive secondary research and some field work that explores it from multiple angles; it could also be a detailed review essay on a number of books, films, plays or musical compositions by an author or a composer, or a set of works based on a theme or covering a period or an era. A third possibility is the analysis of the media coverage of a major event or movement (the Delhi gang rape case; farmers’ suicides; anti-Citizenship Amendment Act [CAA] agitation). The topics, however, are not restricted to the examples above; in the past they have ranged from the Public Distribution System to the treatment of the mentally ill, from social themes in Dickens’s novels to Marx’s theory of alienation.