Manipal University offers a four-semester M.A. in Geopolitics and International Relations programme spread over two years

If international events such as the Euro Zone economic crisis, the Arab Spring, the Palestine-Israel problem, the rise of China and India as majors power on the international stage and others interest you and you want to do an in-depth study about them, a post-graduate degree in Geopolitics and International Relations is what you should be aiming at.

The Manipal University offers a four-semester M.A. in Geopolitics and International Relations (GIR) programme spread over two years.

It also offers a Ph.D programme, where the students pursue their research interests in themes relating to strategic studies and geopolitics.

“Over the years most of the debates are America driven. There is a lack of India’s perspective. Hence we focus on India’s perspective on the issues relating to contemporary world security environment. The way India is rising, it requires to have a set of scholars who can interpret the international security issues and provide policy options to the establishment,” said Arvind Kumar, Head of the Department of Geopolitics and International Relations, Manipal University.

The M.A. course in GIR has been designed to give a holistic perspective on the issues impacting India’s national security. The focus has been to evolve and strengthen the understanding on strategic issues in each and every region of the world from India’s perspective.

Internship

The students are also sent to do their summer internship at think- tanks/research institutes in the country and to Singapore. “As part of internship, the students are exposed to the policy and academic research and the functioning of the think tank environment. We have been able to guide and orient them towards policy and academic research,” Dr. Kumar said.

The PG students have to write a dissertation on the themes chosen by them on international security issues. For their internship they go to institutions such as Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis, New Delhi; Centre for Air Power Studies, New Delhi; Academy of International Studies, Jamia Milia Islamia, New Delhi; Gateway House, Mumbai; Centre for International Studies, Mumbai; National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore; and the Centre for International Studies, Research and Development, Kolkata.

The Department conducts national and international conferences every year and students are sent to participate at important conferences in other parts of the country.

Job opportunities

After completing this course, students can get placed in think tanks, as risk analysts at corporate institutions, and as India experts in other countries. They can also opt to do Ph.D. This course also helps students in opting for the Indian Foreign Service.

According to Dr. Kumar, the starting salary for postgraduate degree holder in GIR could be Rs. 25,000 to 30,000 per month. However those with Ph.D. could get Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 60,000 to start with. “A lot of opportunities exist because there is a lack of good strategic analysts in the country. There are roughly 25 think-tanks in the country, whereas the U.S. has 800 think-tanks on strategic studies,” he said.

The minimum qualification for joining the M.A. in GIR in Manipal University is a bachelor’s degree with 50 per cent of aggregate marks in any discipline because of the multidisciplinary character of the course. Candidates also have to get through an interview to get selected. The fee structure is Rs. 60,000 per year (hostel charges extra).

The Department of GIR at Manipal University has been collaborating with a number of universities in Europe and the U.S. Every semester, two to three foreign students come to study in the department.

These students are from University of Warsaw, Poland; Metropolitan University, Prague, Czech Republic; and Aarhus University, Denmark. The courses offered in Geopolitics are also taken by students coming from different universities in the U.S. under the Study Abroad Programme (SAP).

Enthusiasm

The students at the Department of GIR were enthusiastic about their course. Ramya P.S., a second-year student, said that when she was studying journalism for her undergraduation, there was a short paper on Sudan.

“The division of Sudan introduced me to new concepts. This got me interested in international relations. After joining the course here, I have learnt the nitty-gritty of international relations. A small event in a country can have an impact on others,” she said.

Caron Tauro, also a second-year student, said: “I was always interested in West Asia. The developments there influence could influence other parts of the world because of the crude oil and other factors.”

Nidhi Prasad, another second-year student, said that though she had graduated with English literature, she became interested in Geopolitics. “I am interested in issues connected to East Asia and would like to do my Ph.D. on one of them,” she said.