NLSIU Bangalore

Ph.D Interdisciplinary Programme

The Interdisciplinary Ph.D programme in NLSIU involves research in law and its intersection with other disciplines – economics, sociology, political science, and  history, among others. While, increasingly,  research involves interdisciplinary approaches to arrive at a more comprehensive perspective and solution for a particular problem, some areas of legal research may inherently involve other disciplines . With a strong, established interdisciplinary research focus and a research advisory committee involving faculty from different disciplines, a candidate is well placed to explore such solutions in NLSIU.

As a part of the Ph.D programme, candidates are provided the opportunity to teach in areas related to their research, allowing for deeper integration with the NLSIU community and also provide diverse feedback opportunities.

The Post Graduate and Doctoral Council (PGDC), constituted by the Vice-Chancellor, is in charge of the administration of the Ph.D programme.

The University issues an advertisement every year inviting applications from candidates seeking admission for the Research Degree Programme. The maximum number of seats available during a particular year is determined by the PGDC.


Candidates with any of the following qualifications shall be eligible to apply for Ph.D (Interdisciplinary) programme:

a. A master’s degree in any discipline through regular mode with a minimum of 55% or equivalent grade (50% of marks or its equivalent grade in case of SC/ST/PWD), and a Bachelor’s in Law (LL.B.) degree from a recognized University through regular mode; or

b. A candidate having passed the Company Secretaryship examination conducted by the ICS in India and having been awarded Associate Membership of the Institute (ACS), and a Bachelor’s in Law (LL.B.) degree from a recognized University through regular mode; or

c. A candidate having passed the Chartered Accountants examination conducted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants and having been awarded Membership of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, and a Bachelor’s in Law (LL.B.) degree from a recognized University through regular mode.


  • The candidate shall complete a minimum of three years’ research in their chosen subject, including the mandatory course work as provided in the Ph.D Regulations
  • The maximum duration of the Ph.D programme shall be six years, subject to the fulfillment of the requirements per the regulations
  • Failure to complete the course within the maximum period of six years will automatically result in cancellation of registration

Admission Process

The admission process consists of three steps:

  1. Submission of application form along with a research proposal
  2. An admissions test
  3. Presentation of the research proposal before a panel constituted by the University

Submission of the application form, along with a research proposal

Every candidate shall submit an application form, along with a research proposal of not more than 3500 words. The research proposal should contain:

  • Title
  • Statement of the problem with background information on the subject and the expected contribution of the research
  • A set of research questions along with the hypothesis and methodology
  • A research design

Admissions test

Admission is through a national-level entrance examination. The examination will consist of the following:

  • Research Aptitude – 50 marks
  • Contemporary developments in the field of law and society –50 marks
  • Specific questions in Law – 50 marks
  • Candidates securing not less than 50% marks in the admissions test will qualify for an oral presentation before a panel of experts on the date specified by the University.

Presentation of the research proposal

  • Successful candidates, in the admission test, shall be required to make an oral presentation before a panel of experts on a date specified by the University
  • Research Proposals of candidates who qualify to make an oral presentation shall be evaluated by a panel of experts
  • The oral presentation will be evaluated by a panel of experts

Selection Process

  • Candidates will be selected by the PGDC  upon consideration of the marks obtained by each candidate in the admissions test, the written research proposal and the oral presentation.  The weightage of each score component shall be notified by the University to the candidates every year, in the Admissions Notification
  • The list of selected candidates as above shall be displayed on the NLSIU website
  • Candidates shall be admitted to the programme only upon payment of requisite fee as notified by the University, within the stipulated period, failing which the offer of admission shall stand automatically revoked
  • A candidate who has not been successful once may apply afresh during the next academic year, and the same procedure mentioned above shall be followed
  • A candidate who has failed in a second attempt shall not be eligible for any further attempts to seek admission to the Ph.D programme in NLSIU.

Upon getting admitted to the Ph.D Programme, the PGDC will allocate a supervisor for each candidate, after taking into consideration the area of research, the availability of faculty, and their subject of specialisation.

There shall be a Research Advisory Committee for each Ph.D candidate consisting of the supervisor and two members. The Research Supervisor of the candidate shall be the Convener of this Committee. This Committee shall review the research proposal and finalise the topic of research; guide the research scholar to develop the study design and methodology of research and identify the course(s) that he/she may have to do; and periodically review and assist in the progress of the research work of the research scholar, evaluate the progress report submitted by the candidate once in six months.

Course Work

The University will offer course work for a duration of three months for all the scholars, which is compulsory during the initial trimester. This programme will focus on equipping the scholar to carry out research in an effective manner. There will be training sessions relating to research questions, hypothesis, research methodology, literature review, use of computer applications etc.

At the end of the three months programme, the scholars have to obtain a minimum of 55% or B+ grade in the course work in order to be eligible to continue in the programme. The course work shall comprise the following compulsory courses:

Courses Credits Marks
Research Methodology and Computer Applications 4 100
Review of Literature 4 100
Fine-tuning of the research proposal and Submitting a revised proposal 4 100
Research and Publication Ethics 2 100
  • The evaluation of the components ‘Review of Literature’ and ‘Fine-tuning of the research proposal and submitting a revised proposal’ will include an oral presentation before the supervisor and an expert, who may make suggestions to the scholar for further improvement to be incorporated in the first progress report.
  • Scholars failing to secure B+ grade in the course work may be provided an opportunity to reappear within three months of the publication of results. It is clarified that failure in the repeat attempt will lead to cancellation of registration of the Ph.D programme. No fee refund will be provided.
  • In addition to the course work of three months as mentioned above, the scholar is also required to satisfy all the following requirements within a period of six months (two trimesters):
    – To attend a core course offered at NLSIU that is connected with their area of research, as decided by the PGDC
    – Offering a seminar course (subject to course being approved by the relevant University body) or assisting the Supervisor in a course offered by the Supervisor; or providing research assistance in any Research Centre of NLSIU in a thrust area which is relevant to the broad field of research of the scholar
    – The requirements specified in this sub-regulation must be completed at any time during the period prescribed for completion of the programme

The additional course work as specified above shall carry 4+4 credits, and shall be assessed for 200 marks by the course teacher. The University does not guarantee to provide accommodation on the campus.

Progress Report Submission and Presentation

Candidates are required to submit periodic progress reports of their research over the course of their Ph.D programme. The first report shall be submitted within three months after successful completion of the course work and subsequent progress reports shall be submitted once in six months. Failure to submit a progress report may result in de-registration from the programme. All progress reports shall be submitted to the Research Degree Department, which will transmit the report to the supervisor and the Research Advisory Committee. The Research Advisory Committee shall review the progress report.

First Presentation

  • The first oral presentation shall be scheduled within one month of the submission of the first progress report, which shall also include at least one chapter of the candidate’s dissertation. The scholar is required to detail the following aspects in their first presentation: (i) the problem identified for research (ii) indicate the research outline (iii) identify and firm up research questions and hypothesis, if any, and (iv) the proposed methodological approach and survey of literature.
  • The first presentation shall be made before a Panel of Experts comprising members of the Research Advisory Committee and external examiners. The suggestions and comments made by the experts will be furnished to the scholar by the supervisor.
  • If the scholar’s progress report and oral presentation are not satisfactory, the candidate may be required to engage in further research and make another presentation within a further period of three months from the date of the first oral presentation. The scholar may consult his/her supervisor and take guidance before submitting the improved written report to the Research Degree Department.
  • The Research Degree Department shall transmit the reworked progress report with the supervisor and fix a date for oral presentation.
  • After the first presentation, based on the suggestions made by the experts, the scholar may modify the title, if needed, without changing the subject.

Second Presentation

  • No earlier than six months from the date of satisfactory completion of the first presentation, and upon the candidate submitting at least two or three chapters of their dissertation, the Supervisor, on being satisfied that the candidate has made substantial progress in their research, shall recommend to the PGDC that the candidate may be permitted to make their second presentation.
  • The PGDC shall facilitate the second presentation before an expert panel consisting of Research Advisory Committee members and external experts.
  • The suggestions/ comments made by the experts will be furnished to the scholar by the supervisor.
  • If the scholar’s progress report and oral presentation are not satisfactory, the candidate may be required to engage in further research and make another presentation within a further period of three months from the date of the first oral presentation. The scholar may consult his/her supervisor and take guidance before submitting the improved written report to the Research Degree Department.

Third presentation

  • No earlier than six months from the date of satisfactory completion of the second presentation, the candidate shall submit the final draft of their dissertation to their Supervisor, who will examine the same and may recommend its submission to the Research Degree Department for scheduling the candidate’s Final Presentation.
  • The Supervisor must ensure that the candidate has complied with the requirements of Regulation XI prior to making a recommendation for the final presentation.
  • The Supervisor shall also subject the said draft to a similarity test, using appropriate anti-plagiarism software. If the extent of similarity is less than 20% and any instance/s of plagiarism in the document may be resolved by duly acknowledging the source of the textual material used through appropriate footnoting, the correction will be allowed before the supervisor approves the final draft.
  • If, however, the said similarity is more than 20%, or if it reflects instance/s of plagiarism, the Supervisor shall direct the candidate to revise and resubmit the draft and in case of non-compliance, the Supervisor shall decline to recommend the third and final presentation. The same shall be reported to the PGDC for its appropriate decision, which may include the de-registration of the candidate.
  • The draft thesis shall be submitted to the Research Degree Department three months prior to the date of completion of three years. In case of necessity, based upon the valid ground, an extension, not exceeding three years may be granted for submission of draft thesis. However, the total period shall not exceed six years.
  • The PGDC will subject the full text of the draft to a similarity test and send the report to the Supervisor and the scholar concerned about the same.
  • The candidate shall submit a soft copy and four hard copies of the draft thesis to the Research Degree Department once the final draft is approved for due processing and endorsed by the supervisor. On receipt of the draft thesis, the PGDC shall schedule the third and final presentation before a Panel consisting of the Supervisor and three external Examiners within two months from the date of submission. The experts will be furnished with a copy of the draft thesis at least fifteen days before the date of final presentation.
  • The panel consisting of external experts shall evaluate the final presentation of the draft thesis. Comments and suggestions made by the experts at the time of oral presentation shall be communicated by the Department to the candidate through the Supervisor.
  • After incorporating the recommendations made by the external experts, the final thesis may be submitted with due certification by the Supervisor within a period of two months in the format prescribed by the University.

The Ph.D Scholars must publish at least one research paper in a refereed journal, and make two paper presentations in Conferences/Seminars before the submission of the thesis and produce evidence for the same in the form of presentation certificates and/or reprints.


  • The candidates are required to submit the thesis both in soft copy and 5 (five) hard copies after paying the requisite fee.
  • The thesis shall be in English and it shall be the result of the candidate’s own work keeping in mind the standard of literary presentation.
  • The thesis should not include any other work done by the candidate for any other degree successfully completed at the present University or elsewhere.
  • The candidate should obtain a certificate from the Supervisor and the thesis should contain the same.
  • The thesis submitted by the candidate will be sent to three external examiners selected by the Vice-Chancellor, from out of a panel of external examiners submitted by the P.G. Council.
  • The examiners shall send detailed evaluation reports which shall include:
    – A detailed report in the proforma sent by the University.
    – A definite recommendation as to whether the thesis be accepted in the present form or with minor revision or major revision or to be rejected.
  • If the reports of the examiners are satisfactory, a public viva voce of the research candidate shall be conducted.
  • If two out of three examiners recommend the award of the Ph.D Degree, and the candidate is certified to have defended his research in the public viva-voce, PGDC shall recommend award of degree. On approval by the Vice-Chancellor, a notification shall be issued by the Registrar and also the award of the Degree is recommended to the Academic Council.
  • In case of one of the external examiners not recommending the award of the Degree, the candidate shall be provided through the Supervisor, a copy of the suggestions/comments made by the examiners. The candidate is required to submit the revised version of the Thesis after incorporating the suggestions/comments within three months along with the prescribed fee. Only one such resubmission shall be permitted. The Supervisor shall certify that the requisite changes have been incorporated.
  • The entire process of evaluation of Ph.D thesis shall be within a period of six months from the date of submission of the thesis.
  • Following the successful completion of the evaluation process and before the announcement of the award of the Degree, an electronic copy of the thesis shall be submitted to the INFLIBNET for hosting the same.

Public Viva Voce

  • After receiving the positive reports from at least two external examiners and the supervisor, the Chairperson of the PGDC shall set up a committee for conducting the open viva as follows:
    – The Research supervisor as Chairman of the Committee
    – One of the external examiners who evaluated the Thesis
    – The Chairperson of the PGDC
  • The Viva-voce examination will be set up at a date and time convenient to all concerned, with the help of the Research Degree department. The Research supervisor shall be setting up the examination, either in a physical or video-conferencing mode. The travel and local hospitality of the external examiner, if he/she travels to NLSIU campus for the Viva-voce examination, will be taken care of by NLSIU.
    The Viva-voce shall be held as follows:
    – The candidate shall make a presentation for a maximum period of 30-35 minutes highlighting the key findings and suggestions.
    – An open question and answer session inviting questions by any participant in the open viva.
    – Questions by the members of the committee.
    – The committee will decide if the Ph.D degree is to be awarded to the candidate and accordingly,
    – The Chairman of the committee will announce the acceptance of the thesis for award of the Degree. The committee members should satisfy themselves that the candidate made a comprehensive presentation of the findings, and answered adequately the questions raised by the audience and members.
    – The report signed by the Committee members shall be submitted to the PGDC.
    – PGDC will forward the report of the committee to the Vice-chancellor to approve for final notification by the Registrar

Award of Degree

The Degree shall be awarded after completion of all the above processes at the time of Annual Convocation. However, the candidate is entitled to take a Provisional Certificate after the results are declared.

Guidelines for Submission of Thesis

  • The length of the thesis should not be less than 200 printed pages (not including footnotes)
  • The thesis to be printed on single side
  • The thesis should be written in English
  • The font shall be `Arial’ (12 font size to the body of the text and 10 font to be used for tables, figures, appendices, etc.)
  • To begin each chapter on a new page
  • A margin of at least 4 cm to the left, top, bottom and right side may be stick to 2.5 cm
  • The thesis should be free from grammatical and punctuation errors
  • Certificate, Declaration, etc. – Formats duly filled in have to be enclosed

For Indian Nationals

Fee Amount
Registration Fee (at the time of admission) Rs. 30,000/-
Course Work Fee (at the time of admission) Rs. 30,000/-
Annual Fee (Every Year within one month from the date of registration, failing which they will have to pay the fine prescribed by the University ) Rs. 25,000/-
Fee for Final Presentation Rs. 50,000/-
Examination Fee (at the time of submission of Thesis) Rs. 20,000/-
Re-submission of thesis Rs. 20,000/-

For Foreign Nationals

Fee Amount
Registration Fee (at the time of admission) Rs. 65,000/-
Course Work Fee (at the time of admission) Rs. 65,000/-
Annual Fee (Every Year within one month from the date of registration, failing which they will have to pay the fine prescribed by the University ) Rs. 57,000/-
Fee for Final Presentation Rs. 1,12,500/-
Examination Fee (at the time of submission of Thesis) Rs. 45,000/-
Re-submission of thesis Rs. 45,000/-

The Ph.D scholarships ensure that scholars of the highest calibre and merit are recognised and encouraged to pursue their goals. The following scholarships are available for Ph.D candidates. Applications will be invited separately from admitted students.

Dr N. R. Madhava Menon Doctoral Scholarship: A three-year programme that will sponsor three meritorious students admitted to NLSIU’s Ph.D Programme every year. It is a fully-funded opportunity that includes annual tuition fees, monthly stipend, a laptop and travel costs for attending a conference.

Thakur Foundation Scholarships in Public Health & the Law: A three-year programme sponsored by Thakur Foundation. This scholarship will cover the cost of a laptop, travel expenses for one (domestic/international) conference, and monthly stipend for two selected candidates, who are conducting research at the intersection of health and the law.

To view the previous year’s question paper, click here.