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Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham has not appointed any Agent or Third-Party Client for securing admission in any programme. Students are hereby requested to contact only the toll-free number on our website for any admission related queries.

– Issued In Public Interest By Directorate Of Admissions And Academic Outreach

Do you have a passion to work in rural communities and help them attain a sustainable future?

Come and join Amrita’s PhD Program in Sustainable Development that is tailored just for you!

Calling for applications from international and Indian candidates for full-time admission to pursue a Ph.D. in Sustainable Development.

APPLY NOW to avail the fully funded E4LIFE International Fellowship – Limited fellowships available!

Amrita E4LIFE International PhD Fellowships

Program Background

“In our approach to sustainable development, we should not forget that it is by strengthening the people at the base of the pyramid that the entire edifice of society becomes healthy and strong.”

– Dr. Sri. Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, Chancellor, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham

India’s socioeconomic growth and development depends upon the sustenance of its rural communities, as 70% of its population are still living in rural villages. These communities form the backbone of the country. Despite the country’s overall progress, the rural population has been facing numerous pressing problems which need to be addressed. Some of the challenges they face include: extremely poor access to basic facilities and infrastructure, poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition, waste management, along with the unexpected impact of climate change and extreme weather conditions that result in devastating natural disasters.

At Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham (Amrita), our faculty and students have a mission and a vision to work towards our country’s progress, thereby delivering a sustainable future and creating a global impact. Under the guidance of our Chancellor, Dr. Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (affectionately called as “AMMA”, meaning Mother), a world-renowned humanitarian and meliorist, we have pledged to the motto -“Education for living and Education for life”. Along with academic learning which is important to make a living, education must impart a culture of the heart—a culture based on enduring values, that is essential for life (E4LIFE). AMMA then suggested us to provide opportunities to students from all over the world to spend quality time in the villages that will help them experience, understand and solve the problems faced by the villagers.

To this end, Amrita adopted 100+ villages and got committed to use applied research as the foundation of socio economic progress and sustainability. Further, to make this accessible to the international academic community, the Live-in-Labs®, Amrita’s flagship program was launched in 2013. The Live-in-Labs® is a credit-based program which adopts a multidisciplinary theory–into–practice approach.

Related Links: Amrita Live-in-Labs

Program Overview

Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham (Amrita University) is offering 100 fully funded fellowships for pursuing a full-time PhD program under various thematic areas of Sustainable Development. This program is integrated with a comprehensive yet flexible Experiential Learning Curriculum that aims to enroll and cater to candidates from various disciplines.

We work in the following thematic areas to make the villages self-reliant:

  1. Gender Equality
  2. Environment
  3. Health & Well Being
  4. Water & Sanitation
  5. Livelihood
  6. Agriculture
  7. Climate Change & Risk Management
  8. Education
  9. Energy
Who Can Apply?

Students with Masters/ MTech/ MPhil in different study areas are eligible for the scholarship. International and Indian students can apply for the program with fellowship through the online registration form. Applicants from a wide range of academic disciplines can apply, including:

  • Engineering (Computer Science and Engineering, Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Electronics and Communication Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Wireless Sensor Networks & Applications)
  • Health Sciences (Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy & Toxicology Dentistry)
  • Biotechnology
  • Microbiology
  • Geo Sciences
  • Pure Sciences (Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics)
  • Environmental Science
  • Life Sciences
  • Social Sciences
  • Business & Management
Funding Information

The fellowships will be awarded purely based on academic excellence. It is mandatory for the enrolled PhD students to spend quality time in the villages selected for their study program, ensuring timely and effective outcomes.

Each fellowship will include:

Indian students

Features of the Fellowship Cost/ year(INR) Net amount(INR)
Tuition fee (100% waived)
A monthly stipend(18,000 per month) 2,16,000 6,48,000
Teaching Assistantship/ Research Assistantship * 4,32,000
International Research Travel Scholarship (one time travel)* 2,00,000
International Research Experience 100,000
Sustainable solution implementation cost in a village** 1,050,000
Village visits (Accomodation, Food and Travel) 70,000
Maximum amount funded/ Fellowship (for 3 years) 2,500,000

*A maximum of INR 30,000 per month will be given as stipend for international students.
**The total value of the Fellowship will not exceed INR 25,00,000/- for both international and Indian students. Exceptional research proposals may be given consideration upon review by the University’s Committee.

Funded opportunities for Joint or Dual PhD in collaboration with highly reputed international universities are available for ALL candidates.

How to Apply?

Admission to our E4LIFE International PhD Fellowship program is open 2 times a year. We have student enrollment in January and July every year.
Register with us online and make your application through our AOAP portal.

Guidelines on making your application

List of documents to be uploaded in the AOAP portal

  1. Research Proposal (Up to 3-4 pages):To be considered for the E4LIFE International PhD fellowship, applicants must submit a Research proposal along with their application. Applicants are expected to write about the following:
    1. Mention your area of interest clearly and specifically (you can choose one or more of the thematic areas listed above)
    2. Also please mention any work you have undertaken with respect to community engagement, any field work or data collection or implementation of a solution in a RURAL SETTING.
    3. What interests you to do your PhD at Amrita?
    4. Why would you like to do a PhD in Sustainable development based in Indian villages?
    5. Your professional and/ or academic qualifications must be in line with your area of interest.
    6. You must also be able to associate your area of interest with sustainable development.
  2. Master’s Thesis: It is mandatory to submit your Master’s thesis as a part of your application. This cannot be exempted.
  3. CV or Resume: Applicants must include the following in their CV:
    1. Relevant professional experience – could be work, internship or study abroad experience
    2. Academic history to be clearly stated and proven
    3. Research paper publications – It is not mandatory. However, applicants with paper publications in conference (Tier A) and journals (scopus-indexed) will be given priority over others.
    4. Please mention your complete contact details on your CV – Email, Mobile Number, Skype ID (we recommend you have one if you do have it), and Postal address.
    5. Also please mention – Passport Number, Country (you are residing at present) and Nationality.
  4. Amrita accepts unofficial transcripts as part of the online application, but the original academic transcripts & Educational certificates (UG and PG) must be provided at the time of admission. The official transcripts can be emailed directly from university to the email:
    Postal Address to send us the transcripts:
    Dr. Maneesha V Ramesh,
    Center for International Programs,
    Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham
    Amritapuri, Clappana (P. O.)
    Kollam – 690 525. Kerala, India
    Office Hours: Monday – Saturday (9:00 am to 5:30 pm except second Saturdays).
  5. Recommendations/ References : A maximum of two recommendation letters to be provided during the online application. References should be from educators (preferred) or professionals familiar with the candidate’s experience and capacity for graduate work. At least one recommendation should be from a faculty member who has mentored you earlier. Name, contact details and designation of the referee should be clearly given. We may contact the person. Applicants are encouraged to submit the application early to give their references enough time to submit their feedback.
  6. English Proficiency Requirement (For International applicants ONLY): Applicants from a country where the native language is not English (regardless of current nation of residence) must provide proof of English proficiency. Applicants from an English- speaking country who earned a degree in a non-English speaking country may also be subject to the English proficiency requirement. This is absolutely mandatory and cannot be exempted for any reason. Either of the following English Language Certificates are accepted:
    1. IELTS overall score minimum 6.5 or equivalent (require a minimum score of 6 in each section); (OR)
    2. TOEFL score minimum 90 or equivalent
  7. Scanned copy of your Valid Passport (For International applicants ONLY): This document will serve as a proof of your Identity.
Preparing For Your Interview

You will be assessed based on the following points:

What Happens After The Interview


  • The applicants who are rated “Good” after the interview will be offered an E4LIFE International PhD Fellowship Offer Letter.
  • The students are required to print, sign the acceptance letter and send it back to us as a scanned copy.
  • This will be treated as a confirmation that the student has accepted the offer.
  • We will then issue an Admission Confirmation Letter and a Visa Letter, with which the candidates can apply for their Visas.
  • Any other formal document(s) required by the Embassy should be intimated to us, along with the Embassy Email ID and we will send it directly to the Embassy.

WAITING LIST: The applicants will be intimated about the results of their interview.

  • Those who are rated “Average” after the interview will be added to the “Waiting List”.
  • They will either be considered again for candidature upon discretion by the admissions committee or will be offered an Internship for 6 months to 1 year with the Live-in-Labs® program at Amrita.
  • This will be a paid internship and the students need to bear a cost of USD 315 per month. This internship is intended to help students build their capacities to pursue their PhD in Sustainable Development going forward. For more details on the Live-in-Labs program, please visit the embedded link.


Doctoral programs at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham are designed to develop outstanding educational researchers with a wide range of research skills as well as in-depth knowledge and practical understanding and expertise in their chosen field of educational research.


Academic Learning Module

The academic learning module will be designed and tailored to suit the need of implementing the proposed research and development. It will constitute a highly comprehensive, flexible yet customized set of Core courses and Elective courses. Wherever applicable, we will arrange:

  1. International faculty lectures to offer various specialised courses and academic workshops;
  2. Technical workshops from industries to enhance technical knowledge and
  3. Allow undertaking MOOCs from reputed Universities with transferable credits.
  4. Funded opportunities for Joint or Dual PhD in collaboration with highly reputed international universities are available for ALL candidates.

List of our Partner Universities:

  1. University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, USA
  2. Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands
  3. Politecnico di Milano, Italy
  4. University of Trento, Italy
Experiential Learning Module
  1. Organized community visits
  2. Theory-into-practice approaches to effective community engagement
  3. Explore and feel the pulse of rural communities in India that are very diverse in terms of their culture, language, literacy, natural resources and socioeconomic development
  4. Identify pressing problems of rural communities through one’s own experience by embracing and engaging with them
  5. Develop sustainable solutions and ensure empowerment of the rural communities

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 sustainable development. The students can decide on a list of core courses and electives after discussion with their allocated guides at Amrita. The students should maintain an overall B+ average with no lower than a B in any of the core classes.



  • Completed a Master’s degree or must be in their final semester of Master’s program
  • 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)
  • ALL students are exempted from taking an entrance exam at Amrita

Applicants must have:

  • Good communication skills
  • Capacity to work in an interdisciplinary team
  • Experience related to social work is helpful but not mandatory
  • Willingness to work in rural communities of India
  • We welcome applications from prospective full-time students ONLY. This PhD program will take 3 years to complete when enrolled as a full-time student.

Specialized Part-time Program

  • Currently offered in Sustainable Development and Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Offered exclusively to Central Agencies and National Research Institutes’ employees.

Apply Now (India)   Apply Now (International)

Important Note

2024 Phase 1 Admissions Open

Fee Structure

*A maximum of INR 30,000 per month will be given as stipend for international students.
**The total value of the Fellowship will not exceed INR 25,00,000/- for both international and Indian students. Exceptional research proposals may be given consideration upon review by the University’s Committee.

Funded opportunities for Joint or Dual PhD in collaboration with highly reputed international universities are available for ALL candidates.

Features of the Fellowship Cost/ year(INR) Net amount(INR)
Tuition fee (100% waived)
A monthly stipend(18,000 per month) 2,16,000 6,48,000
Teaching Assistantship/ Research Assistantship * 4,32,000
International Research Travel Scholarship (one time travel)* 2,00,000
International Research Experience 100,000
Sustainable solution implementation cost in a village** 1,050,000
Village visits (Accomodation, Food and Travel) 70,000
Maximum amount funded/ Fellowship (for 3 years) 2,500,000


Is financial assistance available for PhD students and what does it cover? Would it be sufficient to live in India?

Yes, financial assistance will be available for all PhD students in the form of stipends. The amount of financial support will be $4200 per year, which will amount to $350 per month. All the amounts stated here are in US dollars for practical purposes.

All of our PhD students will be provided accommodation facilities within the campus with a fixed monthly fee. The fee will vary on the type of accommodation opted.
The stipend will help cover the student’s living and accommodation expenses.

The cost of living in India is low.The stipend offered is more than sufficient to support upto two people – depending on how one wishes to prioritize their expenses.

What is the total fee to complete the whole PhD program?

E4LIFE International Fellowship Program is a fully funded PhD program. However you are required to successfully fulfill all the required admission criteria. Apart from your academic credentials, the most important requirement to get our fully funded E4LIFE Fellowship, is that:
Your PhD should result in the implementation of a working and sustainable technological solution that will address an existing problem in a village.
You will need to pay towards accommodation, which will be deducted from your monthly stipend given to you through the Fellowship.

Can I bring my partner along to stay with me? During village visits can my partner accompany me?

Bringing your partner to stay with you is your decision and all expenses related to any extended family members will have to be borne by you. The stipend is really meant for the students. During village visits it is not advisable to take partners along with you as accommodation facilities will be made available only for the student and moreover there will be issues relating to availing permits for non-students.

Can I be enrolled in the Phd program and do a full time job?

No. E4LIFE International Fellowship Program is a full time PhD program and every student enrolled is expected to complete the program in 4 years. Selected students must relocate to India with a valid student visa. We do not offer any part time PhD programs presently.

If I am not offered admission, can I be placed on the waiting list?

Yes, You may be placed on the waiting list but no assurances can be made for reconsideration of candidature by the admissions committee. However, if you are interested, you can apply for an internship in Live-in-Labs, our flagship academic program. This will give you a good foundation, following which you will qualify for the Ph.D. program, and you can apply again.

For further details on Live-in-Labs, please visit our website:

I am an Indian citizen and completed my Master’s degree abroad. Will I be considered as an international student?

As long as the applicant is an Indian citizen or an NRI, they will be considered as an Indian applicant. Note that the program is looking for exceptional talent whether domestic or international; if the applicants’ profile fits the requirements of the program and its philosophy, an applicant can expect at the very least will be given an opportunity to appear before an interview committee.

Is voluntary work at an NGO a mandatory eligibility criteria?

Experience related to social work is helpful but not mandatory.

Is the research proposal submitted at the time of applying, final?

You are allowed to modify/improve your research idea with the help of your allocated guide resulting in the implementation of a working and sustainable technological solution in a village that will address a problem in the village after admission to the PhD program .

I am currently a PhD student in another University. Can I drop out and apply at Amrita?

One of the eligibility criteria for E4 LIFE fellowship is a Master’s degree or being in the final semester of a Master’s program. You will have to provide us with clarification on dropping out from your current university and the reason for choosing Amrita for your Ph.D. program.

Are students allowed to take up part-time employment whilst studying ?

Students cannot take up part-time work as it is a full-time Ph.D

Which is the expected date of journey to campus?

Students are advised to join their allocated campuses, 3 or 4 days before the start date of the program. Therefore you can plan your travel date accordingly.

Will students’ spouses be allowed to work full time?

Spouses are not able to work but may accompany and/or apply for their own visa to India to work or study.

When will the scholarships be paid to the students? Is it advised to bring extra money for the first month if it may take more time?

The disbursement of scholarships would begin after students have reached the campus and official commencement of the programme. Usually, the scholarship payments – your monthly stipend – will be paid at the end of every month around the 28th or so. Hence it is recommended to bring some extra money. Kindly note that in some cases there might be a delay in disbursal due to FOREX rules as set by the bank and country.

The means of instruction for me during high school and undergraduation was in English. Also I completed my Masters degree from a foreign university. Do I still have to take an English test? Isn’t it enough if I complete all my degrees in English?

It is mandatory that all international applicants must submit an English language proficiency certificate except for English speaking natives and those brought up in English speaking countries. All other candidates from other countries will have to fulfill this criterion.

If you were enrolled in a program at a foreign university, you would have been asked to clear an English exam or exempted from it based on your previous degree. But in either case you will have a document that will justify this.

If you have any journal or Tier A conference publications in your name, AST will consider them on that basis.

But we need a document that proves your English language proficiency.

If you are unable to provide any of the above documents, the applicant needs to submit either TOEFL or IELTS score.

I am working in an international company where the medium of communication is in English. Normally we are not asked for English tests in our country. Do I still need to take the English exam?

Yes. It is mandatory that all international applicants must submit an English language proficiency certificate except for English speaking natives and those brought up in English speaking countries.

Which would be my port of arrival in India ?

The port of arrival should be the nearest airport to your allocated campus.
The nearest airport to each campus:

  • Amritapuri Campus- Trivandrum or Kochi Airport
  • Kochi Campus- Kochi Airport
  • Ettimadai Campus- Coimbatore Airport
  • Arasampalayam Campus – Coimbatore Airport
Will I be assigned a guide by the university or can I select one on my own?

You can select your Guide from the university website based upon your area of research interest. Appointment of a Guide is based on the availability of an eligible guide, your area of research and candidate’s preferences mentioned in the application form and Statement of Purpose. The school will provide the necessary guidance if a student cannot find a guide.

Is it mandatory to publish a research paper before submitting the thesis for award of PhD degree from Amrita University?

Yes, a minimum of two research papers must be published in a reputed journal of high impact factor (3.0 and above).

Which campus will I be located in? How close or far from the village would that be?

Your campus allocation will be based on your guide and area of study.We have around 100+ villages adopted around different parts of India and are not very near any of the campuses. The village allocation will be done based on your area of study and the accommodation for the same will be arranged separately.

Will I be able to choose off-campus housing or if it will be provided by the university? If so, I would like to know what the accommodation will be like, such as facilities and space?

Your accommodation will be provided inside the university campus on a monthly payment basis. We provide options -(i.e) single room, shared accommodation and flat accommodation for students moving in with family. The accommodation includes self-cooking or university cafeteria option.This will be worked out for you accordingly. All our campuses have great infrastructure with a lot of open space for recreational activities.

How do you offer the courses and for how long ?

We have 2 modules – one will be academic, where the relevant coursework needs to be completed as suggested by your doctoral committee. The other is an experiential learning module, where you will be spending a minimum of 1 year in a village in India.

For details please visit:

The fellowship is meant to be sanctioned for 1 year from the date of commencement of the program. What does it mean?

The fellowship is awarded in principle for 3 years but at the moment is sanctioned for the first year. We will sanction for the remaining 3 years based on the review of your overall performance and research proposal submitted. An extension of 1 year will be provided only to those who have a genuine reason and rare circumstances.

I want to travel with my spouse. Will I need another visa letter for him/her? Or can it be applied with the visa letter issued for me?.

It is best to inquire with the Indian embassy regarding dependent visas. In case anything is required from the university as per the embassy norms, we can help you with that.

What would be the contact details for reference in India?

Your allocated guide’s name and their contact details would be your reference.

Does the fellowship provide for student’s air ticket from home country to India?

No, the cost of the air ticket has to be borne by the student.

How do I find out about the status of my application once I apply?

We will send an acknowledgement email on receiving your application and request for the required documents. We would then schedule and inform you the date and time of the interview with a faculty of your area of interest (who could be your potential guide). We will then let you know your result in 2-3 working days.

How do I prepare for my interview?

Candidates must try to convey their ideas clearly. To be specific, the following question needs to be thought through:

What they want to explore through this PhD and how could they contribute towards sustainable rural development through their area of interest?

Also, the candidate should be able to explain their thesis methodology, its outcome/results/findings and its application in the real world.

Please visit to know more on how to prepare for your interview.

What are the travel options from airport to campus?

Students will be given a form on which they can choose to be picked up from the airport or make their own travel arrangements. However if the student needs to be picked up, a fee will be charged.

Are students with different religious beliefs allowed to worship according to their beliefs?

Yes, there are no restrictions on the practice of religious beliefs.

Do Phd students have uniforms?

There are no uniforms for the PhD students.

Does the accommodation include food?

The accommodation includes a self-cooking or university cafeteria option. The university cafeteria provides vegetarian food which is included in the accommodation fee which is deducted from the stipend.

How is the Joint or Dual PhD offered?

Every PhD scholar under this fellowship is eligible for a collaborative PhD opportunity with an international University. However, these opportunities will be offered based on your academic competencies and guide’s recommendation. The final decision will be made by the Dean, International Programs.

How should candidates provide reference details?

Every candidate should provide us with full-contact details of at least 2 references on your application.

We will then invite recommenders to complete an online form which includes short answers and ranking questions. Attaching a reference letter is optional. References should be from educators (preferred) or professionals familiar with the candidate’s experience and capacity for graduate work. At least one recommendation should be from a faculty member who has mentored you earlier.

How Long Does The Phd Take To Complete?

The doctoral program has guaranteed funding for three years. It is expected that students complete the majority of the requirements during this period.

How Many Students Will Be Admitted?

We have openings for 100 fully funded fellowships per academic year and we publicize 2 calls every year. There are two intakes every year for Ph.D. in Sustainable Development program. The first intake will commence in mid January every year and the second intake will commence in mid July every year.

What Is The Profile Of The Ideal Candidate?

The candidates we admit have different academic, professional, and national backgrounds. We would prefer candidates who have a passion to work in the villages, perform extensive field work and contribute towards their development. Also, an inclination or liking towards Indian culture will be an added benefit to the candidates as it will help them to be more committed to the program.

Professional experience especially being a part of an NGO is preferable. Alternatively, the candidates demonstrating strong domain knowledge will be preferred. We suggest all applicants to go through the Amrita Webpage to find out about the work we have done towards rural development. Amrita has established 25+ centres of excellence and there are several projects being undertaken under them.

We are looking for applicants who will be able to contribute towards the existing projects at Amrita from an interdisciplinary perspective.

For a list of ongoing rural development projects at Amrita, please click on the following link:

If you think you can leverage your skills and work towards taking one of these projects ahead that will benefit society, Eureka! You are the ideal candidate we are looking for!

Students with backgrounds including geography, environmental science, civil engineering, computer science, electrical and electronics, electronics and communication, wireless networks, social science, economics, chemistry, biotechnology, education, rural health and nutrition and management will be preferred.

What Are The Prerequisites For Admission? Can I Still Apply If I Haven’t Taken All Of The Recommended Courses?

Students admitted to the program come with a variety of educational and professional backgrounds. While there are no fixed academic requirements for admission, typically successful applicants have the following:

A strong background in natural sciences or engineering, with usually three or more courses in college-level science. Note that this is an interdisciplinary program and diversity is expected and embraced.

Do I Have To Have A Research Proposal Before I Apply?

A research proposal is mandatory for the application and the interview process.

Can I Transfer From A Regular Phd Program At Amrita To The Phd In Sustainable Development?

Unless you have a special permission from the Dean you can not transfer from regular PhD programs. Normally, applicants will have to apply separately and make a specific application.

Is It Good For My Application To Include Work Experience?

We welcome applications from both professionals and students. Relevant prior professional experience does strengthen the application. We expect that the strongest applicants will have outstanding academic and professional qualifications.

When should we enroll in the first semester courses?

Enrolment of courses will happen after your doctoral committee decides which courses you will need to attend.

Why Amrita

The top reasons to choose Amrita for your career


World University Rankings 2020


BRICS Rankings 2020


World University Rankings 2020


BRICS University Rankings 2020


India University Rankings 2023


Overall Rankings 2023
7th Best
University in India
Amrita Ranked No.1 in India Top 100 in The World
‘A++’ Grade

Contact Us

For PhD in Sustainable Development / Interdisciplinary Studies

For Specialized PhD Program (currently offered in Sustainable Development / Interdisciplinary Studies) :

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