Upon joining the programme, students go through coursework in 6 terms spread across 2 academic years and complete at least 90 credits. The academic group that a student joins is treated as the Major area of specialization.

In the first year, students take up at least 15 compulsory credit courses (includes 2 compulsory courses on research methods [qualitative and quantitative], for groups requiring students to do these courses in the first year) and 1 compulsory non-credit course in Qualifying Mathematics.

In the second year, students have to take the following courses:
  • 8 courses in major area (out of which at least six should be doctoral-level advanced courses; if a student has already taken any doctoral-level course in the first year, he/she needs to take the remaining number of doctoral-level advanced courses in the second year out of total six)
  • Minimum of 3 doctoral courses of 3 credits each offered by any academic groups (or mix thereof) other than his/her group of specialization
  • 2 compulsory doctoral level courses on research methods (qualitative and quantitative), for academic groups deciding students to do these courses in the second year.
  • Students are required to take at most two term papers (in lieu of courses) of which at least one term paper must be in the major area.

In the summer vacation at the end of first year, students undertake a project/research work which is treated as equivalent to 2 credit courses.

The qualifying CGPA for first year is 5.5 while that for the whole period of coursework is 6.0. Students failing to meet the cut-off CGPA are required to withdraw from the programme.

After successful completion of coursework, students take a CQE (Comprehensive Qualifying Examination) administered by the respective academic group. Upon successful completion of CQE, a student moves into the thesis or dissertation phase.

Students are required to attend a teaching practicum.

Students are required to take up Teaching Assistantship over the tenure of Fellowship for at least one diploma course offered by the academic group.