Frequently Asked Questions

Ph.D. program duration at Kautilya is full time?

Yes, the Ph.D. at Kautilya School of Public Policy is a full-time program.

What is Ph.D. program duration at Kautilya?

Ph.D. can be completed in at least three years and a maximum of 6 years. The Female candidates and persons with disabilities (more than 40% disability) will be allowed a relaxation of two years in the maximum duration prescribed for the program.

How is Ph.D. program structured at Kautilya?

The Ph.D. program is composed of two phases. The first phase consists of coursework and the second phase of the program consists of thesis work and finally viva- voce of the thesis.

What are Publication/Conference presentation requirements?

The research undertaken by a scholar at Kautilya is expected to provide a sufficient basis for writing papers in refereed academic journals. One of the program’s objectives is to prepare scholars for such literary work. Hence, a requirement for qualifying for the doctorate title is to have at least one publication in Scopus (Q1 to Q2) or Web of Science-indexed journals and two papers presented in peer-reviewed conferences/seminars approved by the institute.

Does Kautilya provide Research/Teaching Assistantship?

Yes, we support research scholars with Research/Teaching Assistantships to build research/teaching skills in the Ph.D. scholars. While working as a ‘teaching assistant’, a scholar will support the TAC Chair in course/curriculum development, course material development, assistance in scholar projects, conducting lecture sessions, participating in evaluation, etc. However, the school will ensure that the scholar’s TA/RA work is not coming in the way of their topic and area of research and their thesis-related commitments.

What is the role of Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC)?

TAC’s role includes:

  • The TAC will formally meet at least once a quarter and record the minutes.
  • Give guidance about the nature of the research and the expected standards.
  • Provide half-yearly/yearly progress reports.
  • Ensure that the scholar knows the inadequacy of progress or expected work standards.
  • Clear thesis proposal for presentation before the doctoral committee.
  • Clear thesis for presentation before the doctoral committee.
  • Guiding the candidate to incorporate the suggestions/mitigate the objections raised by the examiners and be present during Viva Voce.

Development and Defense of Thesis Proposal.

The research work for the thesis starts with the scholar working with the TAC, led by the Chairperson (TAC), on the thesis topic to develop a research proposal. The proposal explains and justifies the research study for an audience of peers and should address some of the primary questions. After the proposal is developed, the scholar will get approval from his TAC with one or two internal presentations and then give an open seminar on the thesis proposal. For the open workshop, the TAC will constitute a Research committee.

Who will be the members of the Research Committee?

For the thesis proposal and final thesis defense, the TAC chairperson will form a Research committee.


The following will be the members of that committee:

  • TAC members.
  • One faculty member either from Kautilya or the University (henceforth called internal member).
  • One external member from outside the university. This external member must have guided doctoral research.

What is the time frame for the proposal defense completion?

The thesis proposal should be successfully defended within 6 months after completing the course work. Some flexibility at the recommendation of TAC may be given to candidates on a case to case basis.

How research progress will be regularly monitored at Kautilya?

The scholars will have to submit a half-yearly progress report approved by TAC to the Dean’s office. Any scholar, who receives an unsatisfactory evaluation in the progress report, is considered to be failing to meet the requirements for maintaining good academic standing. In case of such evaluation continuing for two terms or more, the Dean, based on the recommendation of TAC may decide for a scholar to withhold the scholarship amount.

Can research scholar do the Pre-thesis Submission Defense

About three months before submitting the thesis for examination, the scholar shall present a summary of the thesis with due approval of her/his TAC. The chairperson (TAC) would also request the Dean’s office organise an internal presentation and open a seminar (popularly known as pre-thesis submission defence).

The pre-thesis submission defence will be to perform an internal peering vetting before the thesis is submitted for external examination and to prepare the scholar for the Viva-voce component of the thesis examination.

The Research scholar should submit the Thesis within three months of completing the pre-thesis submission defence (extendable by three months with the recommendation of TAC).

In case of a perceived weak defence during this seminar, the scholar may be asked by the Research Committee members for revisions/additional work before submitting the thesis in consultation with TAC.

How the thesis will be examined at Kautilya?

Two external examiners will examine the thesis. About three months before the thesis submission (at the time of the pre-thesis submission defence seminar), the Chairperson (TAC), in consultation with other members of the TAC, shall recommend a panel of five potential external examiners.

Out of these five potential external examiners, to begin with, two would be invited to examine the thesis of the scholar as selected by the Dean, who will rank these proposed examiners in order of preference. If no response is received from the contacted person within a month, the next ranked person from the list should be reached to accept the thesis examination.

This process will continue till two persons accept the examinership. The
thesis will not be dispatched for examination until the potential examiner has obtained consent. A soft copy of the thesis may be sent to the examiner(s) instead of a paper copy if they so desire.

Can scholar resubmit the thesis at Kautilya?

Only one resubmission will be allowed. If the scholar is invited to resubmit the thesis, resubmission may be at any time within six months of the date the Dean approves the recommendation. The resubmitted thesis will be examined in all respects in the same way as the original submission, except that examiners may choose not to require the viva voce if the resubmitted thesis is satisfactory.

How the Viva-Voce Examination will be carried out at Kautilya?

The viva-voce examination will be carried out by any one (or both) of the external examiners, with the Dean (person appointed by him) governing the conduct of the examination. The standard expectation is that members of the doctoral committee, interested faculty, doctoral scholars, and members of the TAC are present.

On completion of the viva voce examination, examiners will indicate to the scholar what amendments and corrections to the thesis are required, if any. They will be asked to give a list of the candidate as part of their examination report. Examiners may also return their annotated thesis copies to the candidate if a resubmission is anticipated.