GCPP (Health & Life Sciences)

Programme Fee: ₹ 33,000/- excluding 18% GST

Application fees: ₹ 500/-

Sprint cohort: Jan-Mar

Programme begins: 16th Jan 2021

Last date to apply to avail 10% Early Bird Scholarship: 29th Nov 2020

Financial assistance offered towards course fees for applicants, economically impacted by the COVID-19 lockdown. Applicants who meet our admission criteria but have suffered loss of income due to the COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown since 1st March 2020 will be eligible for this financial assistance. Additionally, anyone engaged in frontline efforts to manage and mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic are also eligible for this financial assistance towards course fees.

Workshop* 1: 12th to 14th Feb 2021

Workshop* 2: 19th to 21st Mar 2021

Programme ends: 03 Apr 2021

*The workshops of Takshashila’s GCPP and PGP programmes are designed to be delivered as contact workshops in Bangalore. In view of the COVID-19 outbreak and containment measures, all workshops will be conducted online until Apr 2021. This is in the interest of the health and safety of our students, faculty and the community. The decision on conducting contact workshops will be taken after assessing the situation and government/health advisories in Apr 2021. Thanks to over eight years of our proven experience in managing online education, we have structured our online workshops such that the learning experience will be of the highest quality possible.

This course carries 7 credits or 105 hours of learning.

The health & life sciences sector in India holds the promise of becoming a major economic driver whilst also playing a critical role in our ability to respond to the on-going COVID-19 and future pandemics. The sector has grown to an extent that it is now intricately enmeshed with politics and policy.

The Graduate Certificate in Public Policy (Health & Life Sciences) is for those who wish to understand the political economy of public health and life sciences, particularly in the backdrop of a pandemic. Participants will be equipped to navigate the rapidly evolving health & life sciences ecosystem so as to capitalise on the opportunities while managing the risks. They will also learn the basics of India’s public healthcare system, particularly the role of the government and also understand the public funding of fundamental research.

Through networked self-study, lectures, and interactive discussions, students will gain a sound knowledge of policy analysis frameworks and tools along with a firm understanding of the relationship between life sciences, public healthcare, economy, society and governance.

The GCPP (HLS) is largely delivered online allowing students to participate and learn from anywhere and while working in full-time positions. The course consists of weekly online webinars (typically held on Saturdays) spanning 12 weeks and two contact workshops (currently being conducted online, in view of the COVID-19 outbreak and containment measures). You can attend the lectures from anywhere as long as you have a stable internet connection.

Students will study compulsory core modules along with students from other specialisations:
CP1 – Policy Analysis and Concepts
CP2 – Economic Reasoning for Public Policy – I
CP3 – Effective Communication and Media Engagement

As part of the Health & Life Sciences specialisation, you will take the following specialisation modules:
CH1 – Public Health
CH2 – Pandemics
CH3 – Biotech Policy


Students will study compulsory core modules:
CP1 – Policy Analysis and Concepts
CP2 – Economic Reasoning for Public Policy – I
CP3 – Effective Communication and Media Engagement

As part of the Health & Life Sciences specialisation, you will take the following specialisation modules:

CH1 – Public Health
CH2 – Pandemics
CH3 – Biotech Policy

Each course will include readings and videos, along with live webinars and written assignments. In addition, students must attend two online workshops which include guest lectures and participation in a policy simulation exercise.

To successfully complete the programme and receive a certificate, a participant must:

  • Complete each module
  • Participate in the two contact workshops, and
  • Pass a composite final examination.

Students who complete all other requirements but are unable to attend both workshops will receive a Citation of Completion of Studies instead of the GCPP (HLS) certificate. Students who are unable to attend a workshop can attend it with three subsequent future cohorts. They will receive their GCPP (HLS) certificate with such future cohort.


These are the milestones you need to know about before you apply to our courses:

Application: Your application is considered complete after we receive a payment of Rs 500 along with your complete application form. The entire process is online.

Acceptance: If you have been accepted into the course you’ve applied to, you will receive an email confirming your admission either 2 weeks or 2 days before the programme begins, depending on when we receive your application.

Fee payment: You will receive a link with the payment details after you’ve been accepted into the programme. This is part of your acceptance email. You will receive the login details to your programme only after you have made the full fee payment.

Induction webinar: During the induction webinar, you’ll be taken through the learning management system that you will use to access course material, the grading system, webinar schedules, attendance requirements and all the details you’ll need to successfully complete the course.

Weeks 1-5:

The first five weeks of your course will consist of foundation courses which include:

  • Policy Analysis and Concepts
  • Economic Reasoning for Public Policy - I
  • Effective Communication and Media Engagement

Weeks 6-12:

The second half of the programme will focus on specialisation courses:

  • Public Health
  • Pandemics
  • Biotech Policy

Workshops: The two workshops at the 5th week mark and 9th week mark are contact workshops. Each workshop is intensive and spans 3 days. Attendance at the workshops will only be considered if you attend all 3 days.

Note: all workshops will be conducted online until further notice

Capstone webinar: At the end of the 12 weeks, you will attend a capstone webinar which will act as a debriefing. You’ll be able to ask any questions before your final exam, share what you learnt during the course, exchange notes with students and faculty and prepare for course completion.

Final exam: You will receive your final exam essay question at the end of the capstone webinar. Your final exam submission deadline will be two weeks after that. Your programme officially concludes after you have made your final exam submission.


The full programme fee for individuals is INR 33,000 (plus GST). A limited number of financial scholarships are available for talented individuals. Separate scholarships are also available for students enrolled in full-time programmes at other universities. Fees, once paid, are non-refundable. Students have the chance to defer their admission to three subsequent batches without incurring any additional financial costs.

Admissions are conducted on a rolling basis, and early applicants will get an early bird waiver and will also have a significant advantage in availing scholarships.

All the mandatory categories in the application form must be filled in order for an application to be considered. This includes a statement of purpose and an essay on a public policy issue of interest to the applicant. Further details are provided in the application form.

A non-refundable application fee of INR 500 is charged at the time of applying. Your application will be considered only after we receive this application fee.

A bachelor’s degree in any discipline. While the course is not maths-intensive, 10th standard (or equivalent) level of mathematical skills is necessary. The course will be conducted and assessed in English.


Our students represent diverse backgrounds in terms of languages, experiences, passions, and talents. Here’s what they all have in common:

  • Individuals who are interested in taking an active and more informed role in influencing the governance of health and life sciences
  • Commitment to learning and active participation.
  • A record reflecting a strong work ethic, drive for excellence, and self-motivation.
  • Strong written and oral English skills. English will be the language of instruction for the programme.
  • A strong collaborative spirit and a positive attitude.

The programme meets the needs of all those who engage with the life sciences and public health ecosystem. Those who stand to benefit from the programme include policymakers, researchers in life sciences areas, public health professionals, investors as well as undergraduate & post-graduate students from relevant fields.


Q. Is the course recognised/approved by UGC/AICTE and other Union or State government bodies?
A. No. We have not sought approval from any government body. Our commitment is to provide the highest quality education possible to candidates who seek it.

What this means is that the GCPP (HLS) might not be considered a valid qualification for employment/career advancement within the services of the Government of India and other State governments.

Q. Do you do placements?
A. No. The programme is primarily targeted at individuals who are engaged in or wish to engage in public affairs

Q. What are the fees I am expected to pay?
A. The fees include INR 500 as a one-time application fee (non-refundable and to be paid while submitting the application form) and INR 33,000 (excluding 18% GST) for the course (to be paid after admission has been granted).

Once paid, the course fee is non-refundable. A student can, however, defer admission to the course to the subsequent three batches without incurring any additional cost.

Q. Can I apply for financial support?
A. It is recommended that applicants seek financial support only if they cannot take the course without it. There will be a limited number of scholarships to enable deserving candidates to take the course.

An applicant seeking financial support will be asked to provide reasons why such financial support should be extended to them. If their application is shortlisted for admission and financial support, they might also be asked to provide further information and supporting documents.

Please note that financial support is by no means guaranteed. Students who receive financial support are liable to pay the full fees in case they do not complete the course with satisfactory performance.

Q. What sort of work experience do you expect candidates to possess?
A. Those with 3 years or more of work experience. However, anyone in the biotechnology and public health ecosystem, government, biotechnology R&D and businesses, are well placed to take advantage of what the course has to offer. However, those with fewer years of work experience and even full-time undergraduate students are welcome to apply.

Q. Do students need to be based in India?
A. No. Students need not be based in India. The GCPP (HLS) is conducted online, including the two workshops.

Q. Can this course be taken by someone without being familiar with computers and/or without an internet connection?
A. No. Students must have basic familiarity with computers and have a decent internet connection (preferably a broadband connection of 256kbps or higher).

Q. Do I need to mail mark sheets and other documents during the application process?
A. No. Students are not expected to mail in documents at the time of application. However, the Takshashila Institution reserves the right to require all applicants to provide documents to support their educational qualifications and employment history.

Q. I am a full-time undergraduate student. Can I apply for the GCPP (HLS)?
A. Yes. Dynamic young undergraduate students from any discipline looking to purse a career in life sciences or public health, are encouraged to apply for the GCPP (HLS). A few scholarships will also be available to deserving undergraduate candidates. It should be noted, however, that all students of the GCPP (HLS) will be subject to the same curriculum.

Undergraduate students will receive a Certificate in Health & Life Sciences if they have not yet received their bachelor's degree at the time of completion of the programme. This can be converted into a Graduate Certificate in Health & Life Sciences once they have completed their graduation.

Q. Are the two Weekend Policy Workshops mandatory?
A. Yes, they are mandatory

Students who complete all other requirements other than the contact workshops will receive a Citation of Completion of Studies.

Note: all workshops will be conducted online until further notice

Q. When are the Weekend Policy Workshops scheduled?
A. Tentatively, the Weekend Policy Workshops are scheduled for the fourth and ninth weekends of the course. This might be shifted depending on public holidays and other considerations. The students will always be informed in advance of any change in the dates for the workshops.

Note: all workshops will be conducted online until further notice

Q. Where will the Weekend Policy Workshops be held?
A. The Weekend Policy Workshops are conducted online.

Q. When and where will weekly classes be held?
A. Classes will be held online as interactive webinars on weekends, typically Saturdays. It is recommended that students keep 4-5 hours of their Saturdays free over the duration of the programme.

The attendance for the webinars will be recorded. The students must have at least 70% attendance in the webinars. There will be a half grade penalty to the overall grade if the attendance is less than 70%.

Q. Will some classes be held on weekdays?
A. There could be occasional webinars that are scheduled on weeknights, depending on the availability of guest speakers and faculty. Such webinars are usually scheduled to commence after 7:30 PM IST. Scheduling of such weeknight webinars will be kept to a minimum.

Q. How much time does a student need to set aside a week for coursework?
A. It is recommended that a student set aside around 7-10 hours per week to complete the readings and essential coursework. That said, each student has a unique pace so this is only an indicative benchmark to enable students to budget their time. See this survey for more information.


Nitin Pai

Nitin Pai is co-founder and director of the Takshashila Institution, an independent centre for research and education in public policy.

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Pranay Kotasthane

Pranay Kotasthane heads the geostrategy programme at the Takshashila Institution.
Pranay started his career as a policy analyst focusing on geopolitics at the Takshashila Institution in March 2014.

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Anupam Manur

Anupam Manur is an Assistant Professor at the Takshashila Institution.
He has published many editorial articles in the Financial Express, The Hindu, Deccan Herald, NDTV, Scroll, Bloomberg Quint.

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Shambhavi Naik

Shambhavi Naik is a Fellow with Takshashila’s Technology and Policy programme.
Shambhavi has a Ph.D in Cancer Biology from University of Leicester, UK and over 3 years of experience as a PostDoctoral Fellow at NCBS and InStem, Bangalore.

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