Navigating Careers in Public Policy for Development Studies Students in India

Dr Arjun Kumar


As India continues its journey towards socio-economic development, the demand for skilled professionals in public policy has witnessed a significant surge. For students pursuing developmental studies, a career in public policy presents a unique opportunity to contribute actively to the nation’s growth. In this article, we will explore the avenues available in this field and highlight the relevance of online courses, specifically those offered by the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI).

Understanding Public Policy

Public policy plays a crucial role in shaping the socio-economic and political landscape of a country. It involves the formulation, implementation, and evaluation of policies that address various societal challenges. Development studies students are well-positioned to engage in this field, given their understanding of the intricate dynamics of economic, social, and environmental factors.

Career Avenues in Public Policy

1.Government Agencies:

Public policy professionals can find opportunities within government agencies at various levels, including central and state governments. Roles in policy analysis, program evaluation, and policy implementation are crucial in driving effective governance.

2.Think Tanks and Research Organizations:

Numerous think tanks and research organizations in India focus on policy research and analysis. Students can contribute to evidence-based policymaking by working with organizations such as IMPRI, Centre for Policy Research (CPR), and the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER).

3.Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs):

NGOs play a vital role in implementing policies on the ground. Development studies students can actively participate in the planning and execution of projects related to education, healthcare, poverty alleviation, and more.

4.International Organizations:

Opportunities exist to work with international organizations like the United Nations, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund. Professionals in these organizations contribute to global policy initiatives and collaborate with diverse stakeholders.

5.Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR):

Many corporations in India are actively involved in CSR activities. Public policy professionals can work in the CSR departments of companies, ensuring that their initiatives align with national development goals.

Online Learning with IMPRI

The field of public policy demands continuous learning and adaptation to evolving challenges. IMPRI, an institute dedicated to impact and policy research, offers online courses that can equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge.

1.Policy Analysis and Research Skills:  

IMPRI’s courses cover essential aspects of policy analysis, providing students with a solid foundation in understanding policy frameworks and evaluating their impact.

2.Data Analytics for Policy:  

In the age of big data, proficiency in data analytics is a valuable skill. IMPRI’s courses on data analytics for policy equip students with the tools to extract meaningful insights from data, facilitating evidence-based policymaking.

3.Gender and Social Policy:  

A nuanced understanding of gender and social dynamics is crucial for crafting inclusive policies. IMPRI’s courses in this area delve into the intersectionality of policies, ensuring that students can contribute to the creation of socially responsive programs.

4.Health Policy and Governance:  

Health policies are at the forefront of public discourse, especially in the wake of global challenges. IMPRI’s courses in health policy and governance empower students to navigate the complexities of healthcare systems and contribute to improvements in public health.


For students of developmental studies in India, a career in public policy offers a fulfilling path to contribute to the nation’s progress. With the increasing importance of online education, platforms like IMPRI provide valuable opportunities to enhance skills and stay abreast of the latest developments in the field. By combining a solid academic foundation with practical insights gained through online courses, aspiring public policy professionals can play a pivotal role in shaping the future of India.

Dr Arjun Kumar is the Director of the IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi.

Disclaimer: All views expressed in the article belong solely to the author and not necessarily to the organisation.

Posted by Samprikta Banerjee, research intern at IMPRI.

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