GCPP (Defence & Foreign Affairs)

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

Application Fee: ₹500

Summer cohort: May to July

Programme begins: 8 May 2021

Last date to apply to avail 10% Early Bird Scholarship: 28 March 2021

Application Deadline: 25 April 2021

Limited scholarships available for armed forces officers. Full fee waiver. When physical workshops resume, cost of travel, food and accommodation for two workshops at Bangalore to be borne by the officers.

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.

Workshop* 1 begins: 4 June 2021

Workshop* 2 begins: 2 July 2021

Programme ends: 31 July 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 August 2021.

Given the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, we have decided to continue conducting the workshop component of our educational programmes online.

1. Workshops for all of Takshashila’s public policy programmes will continue to be held online until August 2021.
2. When we determine it is safe, Takshashila will conduct optional hackathons/workshops free of charge at Nandi Hills, north of Bangalore city, for all students who want the full learning experience. Students will have to bear their own travel and accommodation expenses.

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 Graduate Certificate in Public Policy (Defence & Foreign Affairs), GCPP (DFA), programme will teach you how to analyse current international affairs by providing you with a strong foundation in the disciplines of International Relations, Strategic Studies and Economic Analysis. Learn the role of power in the international system, the making of India’s foreign policy, the relevance of the Arthashastra for modern statecraft and the interaction of political and economic development.

The highlight of the specialisation is the second Workshop christened ‘EXERCISE AMRUT’, which involves diverse crisis management scenarios played over three days.

Students will develop the skills to assess developments in the international system and how to analyse and impact policy. 

You can attend the lectures from anywhere as long as you have a stable internet connection. The Defence & Foreign Affairs programme is largely delivered online allowing its students to participate and learn from anywhere in the world and while keeping their full-time professional or academic commitments. The programme 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). Apart from the Course fee, transport to the workshop venue and stay at the workshops will be an additional cost (once the workshops go back to the physical format).

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 Defence & Foreign Affairs specialisation, you will learn the following specialisation modules:
CS1 – Strategic Studies & International Relations
CS2 – Introduction to Arthashastra
CS3 – Strategic Economics


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

Categories marked mandatory in the application form must be filled in order for the application to be considered for review. 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 will be charged at the time of applying (waived off for the Jan 2021 cohort). Your application will be considered for review only after this application fee is paid.
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year. Decisions are communicated to all applicants as soon as possible and no later than one week before the commencement of the cohort. Early applicants receive a small waiver and will also have a significant advantage in availing scholarships.



Category Amount (not including 18% GST) 
Full-programme feeINR 33,000 
Full-time university studentsINR 22,000 


Fees once paid, is non-refundable. 

The programme fee mentioned does not include the costs of transport and accommodation for the workshops. These additional costs will have to be borne by the students. 


Students will study compulsory core modules in the first five weeks of the programme. The webinars are common and include students from other specialisations:

CP1 – Policy Analysis and Concepts
CP2 – Economic Reasoning for Public Policy – I
CP3 – Effective Communication and Media Engagement

The following modules are part of the Defence & Foreign Affairs specialisation, which students take from week 6 to week 12 of the programme:
CS1 – Strategic Studies and International Relations
CS2 – Introduction to Arthashastra
CS3 – Strategic Economics

Each module includes readings and videos, along with live webinars and written assignments. In addition to the coursework, students must attend two contact workshops in Bangalore, India*.

*Given the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, we have decided to continue conducting the workshop component of our educational programmes online.

Workshops for all of Takshashila’s public policy programmes will continue to be held online until July 2021


Once you apply

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

Decision: If you have been accepted into the course you’ve applied to, you will receive an email confirming your admission.

Fee payment: You will receive a link with the payment details after you’ve been accepted into the programme. This is part of the acceptance email. You will be able to access the reading material only after the fee payment is made. 

After you pay the fee

Induction webinar on Day 1: In induction webinar, you’ll be taken through the learning management system that you will use to access reading material, assignments and grading scheme, webinar schedule, attendance requirements and all the details you’ll need to successfully complete the programme.

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

  1. Complete all modules
  2. Participate in two weekend contact workshops (held in Bangalore) (currently conducted online due to the pandemic)
  3. Pass a composite final examination

Students who complete all other requirements but are unable to attend both (currently online) workshops will receive a Citation of Completion of Studies instead of the certificate. Students can attend workshops with future cohorts in case they miss one, and receive their certificate with future cohorts.


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

  • A desire to engage with global issues and understand the nuances of statecraft
  • Commitment to learning, active participation and academic success
  • A record reflecting a strong work ethic, drive for excellence, and self-motivation
  • Strong written and oral English skills. English is our language of instruction
  • A strong collaborative spirit, and a positive attitude

The skill sets you acquire will be useful for professionals dealing with security, defence and strategic affairs, students of political science and international relations, journalists and those interested in discerning the forces at play on the national and international stage.


The GCPP (Defence & Foreign Affairs) provides you foundational knowledge of strategic culture. You will study the role of power in an anarchic world and factors that influence a state’s foreign policy and military strategy.

The interdisciplinary nature of this programme allows you to engage with and analyse broad themes in international affairs. You will polish your analytical thinking and writing skills, making you relevant to research institutes, ministries, universities, media outfits, and non-governmental organisations.


Q- Is there an entrance examination for candidates?

A- No, there is no entrance examination. However, students can cite their entrance examination scores (including CAT, GRE, GMAT) to support their application.

Q- What sort of work experience do you expect candidates to possess?

A- Those with 3 years or more of work experience in any discipline, but especially in government, media, NGO, business and corporate management, 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. We hope to have a robust class diversity that reflects the nature of the policy environment.

Q- Can non-graduates apply?

A- The curriculum level is set at the graduate level and requires a bachelor’s degree/undergraduate education as a prerequisite. Candidates who do not possess a good bachelor’s degree but have equivalent work experience or qualifications can still apply for the course, but the application must convince the admissions committee that the applicant is capable of undertaking rigorous academic activity and add value to the class composition.

Q- Do students need to be based in India?

A- No. Students need not be based in India. Almost all of the course, except for the Weekend Workshops, is conducted on an online Learning Management System. The Weekend Workshops will be conducted in Bangalore (currently being conducted online, due to the pandemic).

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 stable broadband/4G internet connection.

Q- Is the course recognised/approved by UGC/AICTE and other central or state government bodies?

A- No. We have not sought approval by 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 (Defence & Foreign Affairs) might not be considered a valid qualification for employment/career advancement within the services of the Government of India and other state governments.

Q- Can someone working for the government (e.g. civil service or armed forces) take the course?

A- Yes, those working for the government will find that this programme gives them new perspectives, frameworks and skills to perform their duties better.

Q- Can politicians and/or aspiring politicians take the course?

A- Yes, the course will equip politicians with essential knowledge and skills of the policy environment, enabling them to better work with civil servants and the public.

Q- Do you do placements?

A- No. Not yet, at least. The programme is primarily targeted at individuals who are engaged in or wish to engage in public affairs (as policy analysts, politicians, political cadre, government employees, media persons, regulatory affairs managers in the private sector and students).

Q- What are the fees I am expected to pay?

A- The fees are Rs 500 application fee (to be paid while submitting the application form) and Rs 33,000 + 18% GST for the course (to be paid after admission has been approved).(this has been waived off for the Jan 2021 cohort)

Q- Can I apply for financial support?

A- We recommend that you apply for financial support only if you cannot take the course without it. We have a small amount of funds to enable deserving candidates to take the course.

If you decide to apply for financial support, please give reasons why. If your application is shortlisted for admission and financial support, we might ask you to provide more 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- Do I need to mail mark sheets and other documents?

A- Not at the time of application. We work on the basis of trust. We reserve to the right to require all applicants to provide documents to support their educational qualifications and employment history.

Q- I am a full-time undergraduate. Can I apply for the GCPP (Defence & Foreign Affairs)?

A- Yes, we have made a few junior studentships available to undergraduates (in any discipline) for the purposes of class diversity and encouraging dynamic young individuals to pursue a career in public affairs. The junior students will take exactly the same curriculum as the rest of the class. Junior students will receive a Certificate in GCPP (Defence & Foreign Affairs) if they have not yet received their bachelor’s degree at the time of completion of the course. This can be converted into a Graduate Certificate in GCPP (Defence & Foreign Affairs) once they have completed their graduation.

Q- Are the Weekend Workshops compulsory?

A- Yes, they are compulsory. However, we recognise many students have busy work, family or academic schedules, so those who are unable to attend the weekend workshops can request for deferment, provided they have genuine reasons. The deferment can be up two subsequent offerings of the course. Students who complete all other requirements other than the workshops will receive Citation of Completion of Studies. This can be converted into the full Graduate Certificate once they complete the two workshops within the stipulated deferment period. This flexibility has been provided to ensure that the course is accessible to working professionals who must balance work and family commitments with their studies.

Note: all workshops will be conducted online until further notice

Q- When are the Weekend Workshops scheduled?

A- Tentatively, the Weekend Workshops are scheduled for the fifth and tenth weekends. We might shift these in line with public holidays and or other considerations.

Note: all workshops will be conducted online until further notice

Q- Where will the Weekend Workshops be held?

A- In Bangalore.

Note: all workshops will be conducted online until further notice

Q- Will the Takshashila Institution pay for accommodation and transportation to attend the Weekend Workshops?
A- No, these costs will have to be borne by the students. We will share the exact dates and schedule of the workshops once the programme commences.

Note: all workshops will be conducted online until further notice

Q- When and where will weekly classes be held?

A- Classes will be held online as interactive webinars on Saturdays (usually). It is therefore recommended to keep 4-5 hours of your Saturdays free.

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- Occasionally we will have some webinars on weekdays (evenings, IST), depending on the availability of guest speakers. We try to keep this at a minimum.

Q- How much time does a student need to set aside a week for coursework?

A- We recommend 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.


"I’m from Spain, from Madrid. I work in a consultancy. I found GCPP (Defence & Foreign Affairs) fascinating. For me, I have discovered a new world in the international relations field. I used to study it from a European perspective. I have seen many new ideas and many new views from this part of the world. The course had a huge value for me."

- Raul Alvarez Prieto @Raul_Alvarez_Pr has a masters in telecom engineering, and works at Everis Aerospacial y Defensa in Spain.

Read more alumni stories here.


Kajari Kamal

Dr. Kajari Kamal is a PhD in Political Science from the University of Hyderabad. She holds a postgraduate in International Relations from Jawaharlal Nehru University.

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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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Pranay Kotasthane

Pranay Kotasthane is deputy director of the Takshashila Institution. Pranay’s current research includes high tech geopolitics and the politics of radically networked societies. Pranay teaches public policy, international relations, and public finance at Takshashila’s graduate and post-graduate programmes.

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Lt General (Dr) Prakash Menon

Lt. Gen. (Retd) Prakash Menon is the Director of the Strategic Studies Programme. He is also Professor Emeritus at Trans Disciplinary University (TDU), Bangalore and Adjunct Professor, National Institution of Advanced Studies, Bangalore.

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Anand Arni

Anand Arni is a Distinguished Fellow of the Geostrategy Programme at the Takshashila Institution.
Anand Arni was formerly Special Secretary in the Research & Analysis Wing.

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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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