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The School of Social and Behavioural Sciences seeks to conduct compassion driven research for societal good. Built on this core, is the mission to identify and address the social determinants of inequality, build on human capacity and evaluate interventions and policies that would lead to an improvement in the overall wellbeing of humankind and the environment.

The School and its two research centres AMMACHI Labs (Amrita Multi-Modal Applications and HumanComputer Interaction) and CWEGE (Center for Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality) are based on the University Chancellor Amma’s compassion driven approach to research. Building on it, the School uses a Problem Driven Iterative Approach to design, and implement technologies for the purpose of solving social problems leading to inclusive development of under-served communities. The multidisciplinary approach allows the optimization of solutions and their implementation

Our Chancellor’s exemplary vision and unwavering endeavourto care for and address the needs of underserved people drive the program’s comprehensive yet flexible curriculum. We enroll and cater to candidates who have a background in social and behavioural sciences, or in technology-oriented disciplines.

Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, Chancellor – Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham
“There are two types of education: education for a living and education for life. When we study in college, striving to become a doctor, a lawyer, or an engineer, that is education for a living. But education for life requires an understanding of the essential principles of spirituality; it is about gaining a deeper understanding of the world, our minds, our emotions, and ourselves.”
Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, Chancellor – Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham

Programme Overview

Program Highlights
  • Joint and Dual Ph.D. program possibilities in affiliation with international universities
  • Projects funded by the UN, Government of India, etc.
  • Engagement with M.A. Math, International NGO with a UN ECOSOC affiliation, other reputed international NGOs, and local NGOs.
  • Join world-class research centers and work with distinguished international scientists and professors
Research Disciplines

Interdisciplinary studies in

  • Social and Behavioural Sciences (Sociology, Psychology, Pedagogy, Cultural Anthropology, Economics, Gender Studies)
  • Engineering and Robotics
  • Computational Sciences (AI, ML and Data Sciences)
Research Topics

The offered research context is interdisciplinary and includes the following thrust areas, among others:

Gender studies

  • Women’s empowerment
  • Women as collectives (such as Self-Help Groups)
  • Role of Men in Women’s Empowerment
  • Gender Equality

Education and Pedagogy

  • Skill Development (Policy and Practice)
  • Technology in TVET Education
  • Advances and future of Skills
  • Skill Intelligences
  • Technology supported value education/pedagogy (compassion, empathy, social responsibility, etc.).
  • Technology supported life & soft skill development & training

Implementation Sciences

Computational Social Sciences and technology

  • GIS tools for Social Sciences
  • AI and AL for Social Sciences

Mental Health and Wellbeing

  • Mental Health, neuro-sciences and technology
  • Neurodiversity (e.g., autism spectrum disorders)

Our Ph.D. fellows will be working in interdisciplinary teams of students and expert researchers in projects that promote women’s empowerment and rural development by implementing technologies and social solutions. For example, life skills and vocational skills courses are provided using technology and are geared towards supporting personal growth and healthy community development

Field Work practices

All PhD students will work on topics with the goal of creating tangible community impact, through intervention or product research & development.

Who Can Apply?

International and Indian citizen students can apply for the program. Fellowships can be requested through the online registration form. Applicants from a wide range of academic disciplines can apply, including Social and Behavioural Sciences, Arts and Humanities, Engineering, Management, and additional disciplines.

Eligibility Criteria
  • Completed a Master’s degree or must be in their final semester of Master’s program in any of the academic disciplines mentioned in the above section.
  • Bachelors in Computer Science may also be considered
  • CGPA above 8.0 at the preceding degree (mandatory for fellowship)
  • Age limit: Below the age of 50 years (exceptions could be made upon discretion by the Admissions Committee)
  • Students are required to take an entrance exam. Please look for the entrance exam date on the Amrita website – Doctoral Programs
  • A statement of purpose (SOP) in English explaining why the candidate wants to study in our program.
  • Three letters of recommendation in English.
  • All applicants are expected to have strong academic records.
Applicants must have
  • Good communication skills
  • Capacity to collaborate and work in an interdisciplinary team
  • Experience related to social work is helpful but not mandatory
  • Good social science research skills
  • Willingness to work in rural communities of India
  • We welcome applications from prospective full-time students ONLY. This Ph.D. program will typically take about 4 years to complete when enrolled as a full-time student.

Degree awarding criteria as well as all regulations with regards to the awarding of this degree will adhere to and concur with, Amrita’s PhD policy. This includes the criteria on publications (quality and quantity), ethics and ethical clearances, policy against plagiarism etc. to name a few.

How to Apply

Admission to our PhD program is now open.

Step 1: Register with us online

Step 2: Email us the following documents (as attachments)

  1. Statement of Purpose outlining your area of interest (1000 words)
  2. Electronic copy of your academic transcripts
  3. CV that includes any publications
  4. Full official contact details of 2 referees
  5. Reference letters from the referees on their official letterheads
  6. English Language Certificate
  7. IELTS overall score minimum 6.5 or equivalent (require a minimum score of 6 in each section)
  8. TOEFL score minimum 80 or equivalent


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Amrita’s PhD program in Social and Behavioural Sciences is a theory-into practice program. It is designed to provide an interdisciplinary grounding with its integrative courses.

We offer this program in two modules:

1. Academic Learning Module:

The academic learning module will be designed and tailored to suit the proposed research and development context. Social science research methods will be a crucial component of the academic learning module for all students. The module will constitute a set of Core courses and Elective courses. Wherever applicable, we will arrange:

  •  International faculty lectures to offer various specialized courses and academic workshops.
  • Technical workshops from industries to enhance technical knowledge
  • Allow taking MOOC courses from reputed universities with transferable credits

2. Field Work practices

  • Organized community visits
  • Theory-into-practice approaches to effective community engagement
  • Applying technology to solve community-identified social problems
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Mandatory Courses:

  • Research Methods in Social Sciences
  • Field Work Practices in Social Sciences
  • Ethics, Data and Privacy
  • Intersectional Methodology and Approach

Core Studies in Social Sciences 

  • Sociology
  • Pedagogy
  • Psychology
  • Anthropology (with emphasis on cultural anthropology)
  • Development Economics and management
  • Statistics

Technology Courses 

  • Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality for vocational skills training
  • Machine Learning and all for Social Sciences
  • Human Robot Interaction (HRI)/ Computer Human Interaction (CHI)
  • GIS for Social Sciences

Elective Courses (based on individual requirements)

The course structure is designed to combine flexibility to pursue an individual field of study with the development of broad-based skills and knowledge in relation to social and behavioural sciences, as well as technologies such as Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Artificial Intelligence. The students should maintain at least an overall average of B+ with no grade lower than a B in any of the core classes.


Ph.D. Fellowship in Social Sciences and Technology
Dr. Bhavani Rao

UNESCO Chair Director CWEGE Associate Professor

Ph.D. Fellowship in Social Sciences and Technology
Dr. Sidney Strauss

Adjunct Professor

Ph.D. Fellowship in Social Sciences and Technology
Dr. Tarek Rashed

Adjunct Professor

Ph.D. Fellowship in Social Sciences and Technology
Dr. Meltem Alkoyak-Yildiz

Assistant Professor, CWEGE

Ph.D. Fellowship in Social Sciences and Technology
Dr. Sophia von Lieres

Assistant Professor

Ph.D. Fellowship in Social Sciences and Technology
Dr. Preetha Menon

Assistant Professor (Sl. Gd.)

Admissions Apply Now