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 M.A in Rural Development, we will try to give you a glimpse of rural development in India and why it is important.
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
Infrastructure Development like electricity, irrigation etc
Law and order enforcement
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.
Difference Between MSW and M.A 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 differences between M.A and MSW in Rural development through the table below:
Master of Social Work (MSW)
M.A in Rural Development
Level of Study
Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work (or in any discipline)
Bachelor’s Degree from a recognised University
Average Fee (for two years)
INR 11,450/- to 1,82,000
INR 9,000/- to 25,000/-
Mode of Education
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.
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
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 -
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/-
5,50,000/- to 6,00,000/-
Now, let us find out a bit more about the Master of Arts (M.A) in Rural Development programme provided in the sections below.
All About M.A 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.
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 M.A in Rural Development
Check out the list of Universities/Institutes which offers M.A in rural development from the table below along with their fee structure and direct link -
Name of University
Course Fee (In INR)
Sri Venkateshwara University, Tirupati
Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith, Varanasi
Andhra University, Vishakhapatnam
Dr. B. R Ambedkar University, Agra
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 -
Expected Salary Package (In INR)
Rural Technology Project Head
Lecturer & Teacher
4,00,000/- to 6,00,000/-
Senior Programme Officer
3,00,000/- to 6,00,000/-
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!!