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SAA Students and Faculty members on a field research trip in Lahore, Pakistan.

The School of Arts and Aesthetics,
Jawaharlal Nehru University

Shukla Sawant, noted artist and faculty member of the School of Arts and Aesthetic, JNU writes on the special educational features of SAA and gives a lucid description on the courses offered.

The School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi is a new research programme for postgraduate students who are inclined to work in an interdisciplinary manner. The courses the School offers are theoretical in their orientation and there is no provision currently for studio based research. The School though stresses on a strong theory and practice interface. Therefore workshops, gallery and studio visits as well as performances, screenings and study tours form an integral part of the curriculum.

The M.A, M.Phil and PhD programmes are open to students from all disciplines, in recognition of the fact that in the creative arts there are no set parameters of learning and building knowledge bases. Admission to the M.A programme is through an entrance exam while the M.Phil has an entrance exam as well as an interview. Introductory courses at the M.A level which are mandatory for all students cover the three broad areas of Visual, Cinema and Performance studies. Additionally students have to take compulsory courses in the theory and philosophy of art.

The courses combine theory and methodology from history and theory of the arts, social sciences, anthropology, and humanities in order to engage with the arts in a more complex, integrated manner. The programme facilitates students to develop a wider understanding of the individual arts by contextualizing them in relation to their historical, social, and political circumstances. The three streams of study offered at the school Visual Studies, Theatre and Performance Studies and Cinema Studies are integrated at the M.A level allowing students to develop a multifaceted view of the relationship between the arts. The students may also choose to specialize in any discipline as well, by focusing on courses in their area of interest while selecting their optional courses.

Currently the faculty comprises of Professor Parul Dave Mukherji (Dean), D.Phil (Oxford), Professor Jyotindra Jain, Ph.D (Vienna University), Ira Bhaskar, Ph.D. (New York University) Naman P. Ahuja, Ph.D. (London University) Bishnupriya Dutt, Ph.D. (Calcutta University) Ranjani Mazumdar, Ph.D. (New York) Shukla Sawant MFA, MA, (UCL), H.S. Shiva Prakash, Ph.D (Bangalore), Kavita Singh, Ph.D (Panjab University) & Y.S Alone (Ph D, JNU)

Courses on offer as outlined in the School handbook

The School currently offers MA, M.Phil. and Ph.D. programmes. The M.Phil and Ph.D. degrees offer specialized degrees in any one of the three streams at the school: (i) Visual Studies, (ii) Theatre and Performance Studies and, (iii) Cinema Studies.

Programmes of Study

1. Ph.D.: Candidates conduct original research towards a Ph.D dissertation in any one of the three streams of study offered at the School under the supervision of a guide from within the School's faculty.

2. M Phil.: Students complete course work in the first two semesters of the first year, including one compulsory course on research methodology in their respective stream (Visual, Cinema or Performance Studies) and three specialised electives. In the second year, students are required to write and submit a dissertation.

3. M.A. in Arts and Aesthetics: The school currently offers an MA programme with a cross-disciplinary study of the visual, cinematic and performing arts. Students are required to take 64 course credits within the space of four semesters. Of these, eight courses (32 credits) are compulsory that cover core materials in the fields of aesthetics, film, the visual and the performance arts along with related critical theories and methodologies for the study of the arts. For the remaining eight courses, students are free to choose from a basket of optional subjects that offer a more specialised focus. They may also take a language course, or a course in another centre at the University.

Eligibility for admission

(i) The Ph.D. Programmes:

A PhD programme is designed to give a student the space and infrastructure to come up with original research that contributes to the chosen discipline. It presumes a demonstrably high degree of specialised knowledge, familiarity with the literature on the subject and the training to undertake original research. To that end a strong research proposal is absolutely essential to be considered for admission.

Successful M.Phil students of the School may graduate to a Ph.D. programme. However, the School also invites applications for direct admissions to the Ph.D. programmes at the School. Only those candidates will be considered for direct admission who have either:
a) Obtained an M.Phil. Degree from a recognized University/Research Institution with a minimum Grade Point Average of 6.00 on a 10 point scale. The candidates who have obtained an M.Phil. Degree from a University/Institution where the M.Phil. dissertation is not graded or grading is not based on a 10 point scale are required to forward a copy of their M.Phil dissertation along with the application form for the purpose of assessment of their credentials.


b) Possess demonstrable research experience in recognized Universities/ Research Institutions and /or research publication(s) equivalent to the M.Phil. level.
(ii) The M.Phil. Programmes:

Admission to the M.Phil. is through a separate entrance examination for each stream ((i) Visual Studies, (ii) Cinema Studies, and (iii) Theatre and Performance Studies) followed by a viva voce. Only those candidates will be eligible to apply who have a Masters degree in any discipline with at least 50% marks.

(ii) The M.A in Arts & Aesthetics

Admission to the MA is through an entrance examination. Candidates with a Bachelor's degree under 10+2+3 pattern of education with at least 50% marks are eligible to appear for the exam. For details about the examination, dates, and application forms please see and follow the links in 'admissions.' Application forms for admission may also be obtained from the Admissions Branch in the Administrative Block, JNU, from 1st February to 15th March. The last date for receipt of completed applications forms is 16th March. The entrance examinations are held every year in the month of May.


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