Graduate Certificate in Strategic Studies (GCSS)

Programme Fee:  33,000/- plus 18% GST
Programme fee for full-time university students:  22,000/- plus 18% GST
Application fees:  500/-

Spring cohort: January – April
Application deadline: 10 January 2019
Programme: 19 January – 6 April 2019

Get an Early Bird Advantage!
Apply by 10 December, 2018 and get a 10% fee waiver. 

The Graduate Certificate in Strategic Studies (GCSS) programme will teach you how to explore issues such as the role of power in the international system, making of foreign policy, the relevance of the Arthashastra for modern statecraft and the interaction of political and economic development.

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

The GCSS is an online programme, allowing participants to learn from anywhere in the world, and while working.


The programme is designed with three courses –

  • Course 1 Basics of Strategic Studies – Concepts and Methods
  • Course 2 Arthashastra: Indian Strategic Thought
  • Course 3 Introduction to Policy Analysis

Each course will include readings and videos, along with live webinars and written assignments. In addition, students get to attend two physical workshops (in Bangalore, India) which include guest lectures and participation in a crisis simulation exercise.

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

  1. Complete three courses
  2. Participate in two weekend contact workshops (usually held in Bangalore)
  3. 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 certificate. Students can attend workshops with future cohorts in case they miss one, and receive their certificate with future cohorts.


The full programme fee for individuals is INR 33,000 (plus 18% 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.


The GCSS 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.


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.


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 India, likely in New Delhi and Bangalore.

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- 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 GCSS 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).

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 GCSS?

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 Strategic Studies 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 Strategic Studies 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 three 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.

Q- When are the Weekend Workshops scheduled?

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

Q- Where will the Weekend Workshops be held?

A- The venues for the Weekend Workshops are usually New Delhi and Bangalore.

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.

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.

Q- Will some classes be held on weekdays?

A- Occasionally we will have some webinars on weekdays, depending on the availability of guest speakers, after 7:30 PM IST. 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.


Lt General (Dr) Prakash Menon

Lt. Gen. (Retd) Prakash Menon is the Director of the Strategic Studies Programme.
Lt Gen Menon joined the Indian Army in 1972. He has extensive operational experience in
commanding counter-insurgency operations in Central, North and South Kashmir.

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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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