MSW vs MA in Rural Development

Abhik Das

Updated On: August 12, 2022 08:24 pm IST

Find out how MA in Rural Development is different from Master of Social Work via the article below. Also, check out the career opportunities for a postgraduate degree holder in either Social Work and Rural Development.

Differences between MA Rural Development and Master of Social Work

Once Mahatma Gandhi, the father of our Nation remarked that “The Soul of India lives in its villages”. Even today these words have not lost their relevance as 68.84% of the total Indian population resides in the rural areas which are a staggering 833 million people. It is because of this reason mainly, the study of rural development becomes pretty important. Today we are going to discuss two such degrees, Master of Social Work (MSW) and Master of Arts (M.A) that broadly comes under the Rural Development studies in India. We will understand the programme structures, universities/institutes offering these two degrees, admission process, job opportunities.

But, before giving you all a vivid picture of MSW and MA in Rural Development, we will try to give you a glimpse of rural development in India and why it is important.

Table of Contents

Rural Development in IndiaWhy India Needs Rural Development
Comparison Between MSW and M.A in Rural DevelopmentMaster of Social Work (MSW) Admission Process
Top Universities Offering Master of Social Work (MSW)Job Prospects for Master of Social Work (MSW) Degree Holders
All About M.A in Rural DevelopmentM.A Rural Development Admission Process
List of Universities/Institutes Offering M.A in Rural DevelopmentJob Prospects for Master Degree Holders in Rural Development

Rural Development in India

As per the census of 2011, approximately one-third of the entire rural population of India sustain themselves on a monthly income of 5000 rupees. Seems like the ever-increasing cost of living has not spared our own kind living in the villages which is a matter of grave concern. In such a scenario, studying rural development in India become important more than ever. Currently in India, the following areas of rural development require a lot of attention:

  • Elimination of poverty

  • Credit availability

  • Infrastructure Development like electricity, irrigation etc

  • Land reforms

  • Law and order enforcement

  • Female empowerment

  • Education

  • Public health and sanitation

Let us see why rural development in India is required except for the cost of living stat mentioned in the opening paragraph.

Why India Needs Rural Development

Agrarian economy is the backbone of the Indian rural economy which means the primary rural activities in India are farming and agriculture. Agriculture has been one of the prime contributors to the GDP of India. In the last few decades, however, the scenes have changed completely. With the advent of globalisation and the beginning of the “World Wide Web” revolution in India in the early ’90s coupled with decreasing public investment has forced the Agrarian Economy of India to seek shelter in an I.C.U. The agriculture sector’s share in the GDP is constantly going downhill. With around 2/3rd of the Indian population still dependant on agriculture, the signs indicated by the productivity are not encouraging. The declining agricultural output has shifted the focus from rural development to urban development in India.

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Comparison Between MSW and MA in Rural Development

Rural development has been discussed briefly in the above paragraphs and it is time we turn our attention towards the two degrees that students opt for in the rural development discipline - Master of Social Work (MSW) and Master of Arts (M.A). Check out the major comparison between M.A and MSW in Rural development through the table below:

Course Name


M.A in Rural Development


2 years

2 years


Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work (or in any discipline)

Bachelor’s Degree from a recognised University

List of Entrance Exams

  • Tata Institute of Science and Technology Social Work Entrance Exam.

  • Aligarh Muslim University MSW Admission Test

  • Jamia Millia Islamia Entrance Exam

  • Patna University entrance exam

  • Tata Institute of Science and Technology Entrance Exam.

  • Sarala Birla University Entrance Exam

  • Jamia Millia Islamia MA Entrance Exam

  • Calicut University PG Entrance Test

Admission Process

Merit basis/ Entrance examination

Entrance examination

Average Fees

INR 11,450/- to 1,82,000

INR 9,000/- to 25,000/-

Top Job Roles after Graduating

  • Assistant Human Resource Manager

  • Human Resource (HR) Associate

  • Social Worker

  • Programme Managers

  • Rural Technology Project Head

  • Rural Manager

  • Senior Programme Officer

  • Assistant professor

Top Recruiting Organizations

  • NGO’s

  • Institutes

  • Hospitals

  • Health Care

  • Rehabilitation centres

  • NGO’s

  • Institutes

  • Hospitals

  • Health Care

  • Rehabilitation centres

Career Growth

The scope as a social worker in broad as a candidate can opt to work with a different organisation like academic institutes, hospitals, NGO’s, nursing, rehabilitation centres etc.

A Career in rural development is a personal satisfaction as professionals are involved with NGOs and organisations for the upliftment of the people and society in the rural areas

Highest Salary Range

Rs 6 lakh

Rs 6 lakh

Average Salary

Rs. 3- 4 Lakhs

Rs. 3- 4 Lakhs

List of Government Jobs

  • Executive- World Wide Fund for Nature India

  • Manager- NABARD

  • Social Workers Tata Memorial Hospital

  • Professor - Social Work at Mahatma Gandhi Central University

  • Professor - Social Work-Indira Gandhi University

  • Rehabilitation Officer at National Institute for the Empowerment of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities

  • Ministry of Rural Development, Delhi NISG (National Institute for Smart Government)

  • Post Doctoral Fellows - Rural Development and Technology IIT Delhi


  • Assistant Professor - Rural Development at IIT

  • The Ministry of Rural Development - Government of India

Related Links

Master of Social Work (MSW) Admission Process

We know that by just providing the basic details about MSW or Master of Social Work will not help if nothing about its admission process is provided. Both Indian and Foreign nationals can apply for admission in the Master of Social Work programme provided they fulfil the required eligibility criteria (mentioned above). Selection into the MSW programme is done on the basis of marks obtained by the applicants at the qualifying exam level. In some institutions, applicants are shortlisted on the basis of their qualifying exam marks and then called up for an interview and then the final selection is done. Applicants can only apply under general or Foreign category candidates for MSW admissions.

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Top Universities Offering Master of Social Work (MSW)

Presented in the table below is the list of those top Universities or Institutions which offer Master of Social Work (MSW) -

Name of University/Institution

Direct Link

Programme Fee (In INR)

Madras Christian College (MCC), Chennai


Rai University, Ahmedabad


Kristu Jayanti College, Bengaluru


Jaipur National University, Jaipur


Dibrugarh University Institute of Engineering and Technology, Dibrugarh


Job Prospects for Master of Social Work (MSW) Degree Holders

In this section, we will try to focus on the type of jobs that an MSW degree holder can target. We have also tried to provide the expected annual salary package they can expect during the early years -

Job Type

Expected Annual Package (In INR)

Assistant Human Resource Manager


Human Resource (HR) Associate

2,00,000/- to 3,00,000/-

Senior Human Resource Manager

6,00,000/- to 7,00,000/-

Programme Managers at Non-Profit Organizations

4,50,000/- to 5,00,000/-

Social Worker

5,50,000/- to 6,00,000/-

Now, let us find out a bit more about the Master of Arts (MA) in Rural Development programme provided in the sections below.

All About MA in Rural Development

Master of Arts in Rural Development is a two-year postgraduate programme which basically teaches the processes involved to improve the quality of life and economic well-being of people living in rural areas. It also teaches how to handle rural issues in the Indian context. Upon completion of the study, the students are offered various opportunities with various Government/Non-Government agencies, departments etc.

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M.A Rural Development Admission Process

M.A admission in the rural development programme at various institutes is done in a different manner. Most of the recognised and top-level rural development institutes conduct an entrance exam to shortlist potential students from the list of applicants. Based on the performance of the candidates in the entrance exam a subsequent counselling process is conducted followed by two additional rounds - group discussion and personal interview round before finally selecting the most suitable ones for the rural development Master’s programme.

List of Universities/Institutes Offering MA in Rural Development

Check out the list of Universities/Institutes which offers MA in rural development from the table below along with their fee structure and direct link -

Name of University

Direct Link

Course Fee (In INR)

Sri Venkateshwara University, Tirupati


Patna University



Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith, Varanasi



Andhra University, Vishakhapatnam


Dr. B. R Ambedkar University, Agra



Bangalore University



Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), Delhi


Job Prospects for Master Degree Holders in Rural Development

With the help of the table provided below, you will have a fair idea about what a Master’s degree in rural development can offer you in terms of career prospects -

Job Type

Expected Salary Package (In INR)

Rural Technology Project Head


Lecturer & Teacher


Rural Manager

4,00,000/- to 6,00,000/-

Senior Programme Officer

3,00,000/- to 6,00,000/-

Also Read: How to not let Coronavirus scare affect your ambition of studying in Colleges

CollegeDekho experts always suggest to not look at the salary package column as in this field, packages will gradually increase with experience and passing years. However, the most important thing that should matter is the passion to follow your dreams as it gives us a sense of satisfaction at the end of the day!!

Good Luck!!!

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