Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Rural Development Top Colleges, Syllabus, Scope, and Salary

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Sakshi Gupta

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Ph.D. in Rural Development is a 3-year doctorate program in the domain of development and management studies with a special focus on development in rural context. It is a scholarly research based certification in the domain of rural development that involves field work and extensive research.  The minimum eligibility criterion for admission in Post Graduate research-based certification/M.Phil or equivalent in the respective domain.

Some of the popular colleges/universities offering the course are:

The fee for the course ranges from 15,000 to 3.1 Lacs across various colleges and universities across the country. The variation in the fee is based on the location and type of university that is private/deemed or government.

Enrollments to Ph.D. in Rural Development course are based on the percentage of marks obtained by the candidate at Post Graduate research level M.Phil or equivalent level. Apart from merit-based process certain colleges/universities follow Entrance Test based admission criteria for the course.

The course is structured in a manner so, as to allow the students to understand the problems of the rural domain in a comprehensive manner. This would enable the students to bring out solutions that are sustainable and compatible with the needs of rural setup.

There is an option for students to pursue the course through Ph.D. in Rural Development Distance Education mechanism in case they are not having the time or resources to pursue the course in full-time. Students who are looking for funding/fellowship/scholarly grant for the course have to pass a separate competitive exam conducted by CSIR and UGC in order to attain the fellowship.

A student who has passed Ph.D. in Rural Development course can look for a variety of options in terms of his/her career. He/she can make a career in the area/with firms such as NGOs, Rural banking, Policy implementation, Agriculture development, Infrastructure development in rural areas, Policy framing etc. Students are equipped with the knowledge and skills in regards to the subject in such a manner that they become suitable to undertake various roles and responsibilities in the domain of rural development.   

A fresh pass out can expect a starting salary of anywhere between INR 18,000 to 20,000 per month. The average salary range across the country varies with a little variation here and there.

Ph.D. in Rural Development: Course Highlight Table

Course Type Doctorate (P.hD.)
Area Concerned Rural Development
Duration of Course 3-5 Years
Admission process Merit-based (With Entrance Test for fellowship and admission in some cases)
Structure of Course Semester-Wise/Year-wise
Eligibility Post Graduation research/M.Phil. or equivalent level degree from any recognized college/university with a minimum of 50% (relaxable for reserved category candidates) marks.
Top recruiting areas NGOs, Rural banking, Policy implementation, Agriculture development, Infrastructure development in rural areas, Policy framing etc.
Job Profiles District development officer, Social activist, Business development officer, Banking correspondent, Researcher, Education officer etc.
Course Fee INR 15,000 to 3.1 Lacs
Average starting salary INR 18,000 to 20,000

Ph.D. in Rural Development: What is it About?

Rural areas in the Indian context are defined as those areas where more than 75% of the adult male population is involved in agriculture or allied sector for earning their livelihood. Going by this definition over 70% of country’s total population resides in rural areas.

Considering the low level of development in rural areas it becomes necessary to employ measures that bring the rural areas of the country with a majority of the population at par with the urban areas. These measures require an effective and well-watched implementation of policies as well as an understanding of the concerns of the rural population.

The idea of the holistic development of rural areas calls for an all-around approach to the developmental issue that is from social, economic, and political perspective. To ensure this a qualified and trained workforce is the sine qua non. This need has evolved a specialized academic certification dedicated to the development of rural areas and problems associated thereby.

Ph.D. in Rural Development aims at decimating in-depth insight about the subject along with the possible dimensions which are associated with the subject. The students are indulged in research and development on a particular topic related to the subject as a part of their academic curriculum.

Thesis/Report submission are some of the methods through which doctorate students are assessed in terms of their learning capabilities and at the same time learn about the subject through practical and fieldwork.

The motive of Ph.D. in Rural Development course is to prepare a student in a manner such that he/she can apply his/her knowledge in the subject to the best of their expertise when it comes to outdoor application and performance in the real world that is beyond the four walls of academic framework.

Ph.D. in Rural Development: Top Institutes 

Ph.D. in Rural Development is offered by a good number of colleges across the country to candidates who have passed their PG research /M.Phil or equivalent level education from a recognized state or central University.

For your reference, we have tabled down a list of various colleges/universities that are offering this course in India.

Institute City Approximate Average Fee (Per annum)
 Arul Anandar College Madurai INR 1,000
Dr. B.R. Ambedkar University Srikakulam INR 20,667
IGNOU Delhi INR 15,500
University of Science and Technology Ri-bhoi INR 96,870
Sri Krishnadevaraya University Anantapur INR 31, 465
Birla Global University Bhubaneswar INR 55,500
Lovely Professional University Jalandhar INR 79,000
Kurukshetra University Kurukshetra INR 15,200
Panjab University Chandigarh INR 12,000
Karnataka University Bangalore INR 10,000

Ph.D. in Rural Development: Eligibility

Candidate must have passed the PG research/M.Phil. or equivalent level examination with at least 50% (relaxable for reserved category candidates) of the marks from a recognized state/private/deemed or central University

  • He/She shall not be having any backlog or compartment in any of the subject/subjects at PG/M.Phil. or equivalent level that is yet to be cleared at the time of taking admissions.
  • Apart from the above-mentioned eligibility criteria’s various colleges and institutes may have their own additional criteria’s which the students would have to satisfy in order to take admission (like research or internship).
  • In case of reserved category students, they would have to present their reservation certificates issued by the competent authorities in order to avail the benefits applicable for them.
  • Certain Institutes grant admissions through Common Entrance Test (CET). To get admission in these institutes candidates would have to qualify the respective entrance exam by securing minimum qualifying marks.

The eligibility criteria’s mentioned above are common to most of the universities and colleges across the country that are offering this course to the students.

Ph.D. in Rural Development: Admission Process

Some Universities/Colleges conduct a common entrance test like Lovely Professional University for admission into P.hD. courses hence students would have to make an application for such exams.

  • Students have to qualify these exams (for which they should be eligible to appear) in order to get admission in the course.
  • After the conduct of the test, a merit list of finally qualified candidates is prepared and candidates are invited for admission process by the respective university or college.
  • After preparation of final merit list, the process of final allotment of seats to the candidate takes place and the candidate is asked to deposit the fee for the course and register for the respective academic year.

Ph.D. in Rural Development: Syllabus and Course description

The course has a variable time duration of 3 to 5 year and the syllabus is divided into various domain/areas related to the discipline of social sciences. The detailed description of the syllabus is tabled below for your reference.

Subject/domain of study
Rural development in Indian Context
Planning and Management
Research methods in development
Rural economy of India
Educational development
Societal structure of rural India
Case studies
Research assignment

Ph.D. in Rural Development: Who Should Opt for?

  • Students who have done their bachelors and master’s in the respective domain.
  • Those who are interested in developmental works at grass root level.
  • Those who are looking for a career in the public sector.
  • Those looking at a career as a Social activist can also opt for the course.

Ph.D. in Rural Development: Career Prospects

Ph.D. in Rural Development pass outs have plenty of options to choose from in terms of their career. One can choose to work as District development officer, Social activist, Business development officer, Banking correspondent, Researcher, Education officer etc.

To provide you a holistic view of the career prospects of the course we have tabled certain areas and the respective roles attached to the same where doctorate students can look for in terms of their career.

P.hd In Rural Development
Area/Domain Role Average Salary for Fresher’s
District Development Officer It is a public sector job that involves oversight and management of various development activities and programs that are going on at rural level. INR 5.32-6.50 Lacs
Social Activist A social activist is involved in various works associated with creating awareness and propelling development at grass root level as a part of any group or organization. INR 2.55- 2.98 Lacs
Banking Correspondent The job involves extending banking facilities in rural areas on behalf of the sponsoring bank or NBFC. INR 2.44- 3.16 Lacs
Education Officer The work involves management and supervision of various governmental policies and institutions related to education at the panchayat or block level. INR 4.40-5.62 Lacs
Researcher A researcher is involved in analysis and study of problems in rural context and proposes the reasons to address the same. INR 2.36- 2.63 Lacs

Ph.D. (Rural Development) Fee Structure in India

16.80 K (Minimum Fee)PUBLIC COLLEGES1.29 L  (Maximum Fee)
68.80 K (Average Fee)
2.40 L (Minimum Fee)Private COLLEGES4 L (Maximum Fee)
2.96 L (Average Fee)


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Ph.D. (Rural Development) Colleges IN INDIA

View All
42.9 K first year fees
28.9 K first year fees
CMJ University
Ri-Bhoi, Meghalaya
2.55 L Total fees
10.75 K Total fees
6.69 K Total fees
YBN University - [YBN]
Ranchi, Jharkhand
1.05 L first year fees