#SocialSectorGuide: Courses To Study The Social Impact Sector

In the past few years, there has been a rise in courses related to the development sector, especially for those who are looking to transition into the sector or searching for leadership opportunities in the space. While undergraduate and graduate degrees in social work have always existed, this article concentrates on specialised courses catering to the rising interest in understanding the sector.

Indian School of Development Management (ISDM)

ISDM is responsible for expanding Development Management as a discipline. The institute aims at training professionals who can cater to the social sector. The courses are designed in a way that leaders and managers are able to learn & differentiate between impact, scale and sustainability of organizations working for the betterment of society and improving the quality of life of the underserved. They have two kinds of courses  – the postgraduate programme and professional development programme. For more information on courses offered by ISDM, visit their website.

India Leaders for Social Sector (ILSS)

India Leaders for Social Sector (ILSS) is an initiative by the Central Square Foundation (CSF) to build the next generation of senior leaders who can drive scale, sustainability and impact in the social sector. The development sector has seen substantial growth in the past decade and currently needs professional talent to expand it further. With this in mind, ILSS, in partnership with ISDM, is offering a series of 9-day programs aimed at enabling senior leadership make meaningful transitions into the social sector. For more details, visit their website here.

DASRA Social Impact programs

 Dasra Social Impact (DSI) Programs help social sector organisations achieve greater impact at scale. The programs allow participants to leverage Dasra’s two decades of experience in strengthening the sector and receive insights from leaders and experts. It is an immersive learning experience for those working in the development sector. Additionally, the programs provide internal capacity building support and fostering powerful networks.  There are two kinds of programs – flagship programs and partnership programs. To know more about Dasra social impact programs, you can read more on their website.

Indian Institute of Forest Management (IIFM)

IIFM is a sectoral management institute, that is working to create and disseminate knowledge useful for the managers in the area of forests, environment and natural resources management.  They select and train outstanding and talented youth for careers leading to management responsibilities in forestry and the forest-related systems. IIFM has different courses ranging from a two-year residential program to M.phil. For more details, visit their website.


Other colleges/universities offering degrees and courses related to Development Sector  

Apart from the above institutes, a Masters degree in Social Work is available in various universities and autonomous institutes across India. A degree in social work, either BSW or MSW, is inspired by different disciplines such as sociology, medicine, education or psychology. The course focuses on working towards the well being of society and has a variety of subjects focussing on Gender, Children, Women’s Health and more. For example,  The Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) has a variety of courses focusing on tribal studies, mental health and gender studies.  Another popular institute is Xavier Institute of Social Service that has been engaged in conducting research on the rural, and marginalised communities in India. Similarly, there is College of Social Work, Nirmala Niketan which has both a Bachelors and a Masters degree in social work.


Additionally, there are also colleges that focus on specific research areas such as rural management, environment or the forest systems.

Indian Rural Management Institute (IRMA) is India’s premier school in rural management and focuses on educating individuals and organisations inspired to serve the rural sector and are keen in engaging with rural communities. They have a variety of programs ranging from full-time management program, executive programs, fellowships and certificate courses. Another similar institute is the Indian Institute of Forest Management (IIFM) that is working to create and disseminate knowledge useful for the managers in the area of forests, environment and natural resources management.  It offers different courses ranging from a two-year residential program to M.phil. Finally, there is also the TERI School of Advanced Studies that has a wide variety of programmes including MA and PhD focusing on sustainable development.

Universities such as Jamia Milia University, Delhi University, Mumbai University, Christ University and Coimbatore university among others also offer a Masters in Social Work (MSW) degree. The Department of Social Work (Delhi School of Social Work) attracts students from India as well as abroad.  The department focuses on the social development of marginalised communities including the minority communities, women, children, vulnerable and backward caste groups, elderly, persons with disability, persons affected by HIV/ AIDS, LGBT communities or by a disaster.  

The social impact sector has become a much sought-after space over the last decade and for individuals looking to make a career in this space have multiple courses and institutions to choose from.


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