Green goal

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  • Published 10.01.08

Located in its upscale campus at the India Habitat Centre in Delhi, TERI (The Energy Research Institute) University is a premier institution in the field of environmental and energy studies. It may be all of 10 years old, but the university is already making its presence felt as an institution that offers students an all-round education in environmental sciences. This is a university that every budding environmentalist in the country ought to take note of.

The foundation of TERI University came about as an extension to the research, consultancy and environment-related activities that were carried out by TERI, its parent body, which happens to be a prominent nonprofit organisation devoted to environmental causes.

“We took sustainable development as our anchor point, and developed our university around the issue,” says Gp Capt. Rajiv Seth, registrar, TERI University. “We realised the need to collate our courses in a way that they were multi-disciplinary, and encompassed all aspects of sustainable development such as economics, social studies, the environment, management and policy research, so that our students had a holistic approach to the subject rather than just skimming the surface,” he says.

Established in August 1998, TERI University was granted ‘deemed-to-be university’ status by the University Grants Commission. The objectives of the institution is to provide training in branches such as energy studies, biosciences and environmental studies, while encouraging research and the advancement of knowledge.

While the university does not have any mandate for undergraduate programmes, it has gone on to develop several masters programmes for its students, apart from formulating a two-year masters in business administration (MBA) programme in infrastructure. Besides, TERI University also takes in doctoral students. Currently, the university boasts a student strength of around 220, which includes 52 PhD students. Its core faculty, on the other hand, comprises 17 full-time members, who are complemented by an adjunct faculty of around 30 research fellows. That gives TERI University a student-teacher ratio of 4.6:1, perhaps among the highest in the country.

Infrastructure-wise, TERI University could be placed among the best in the country. The state-of-the-art laboratories, well-equipped field stations and agreements with global institutes such as the Yale University, US and the Monash University and La Trobe University in Australia for mutual exchange of students, faculty and information, have all stood TERI University in good stead. “The library is extremely well-stocked, and access to quality reference and research material was never a problem,” says ex-student Manpreet Singh, now a climate change consultant with Ernst & Young.

The academic courses at TERI University follow the semester system, with the academic year beginning in August every year. The MSc programmes and the MBA programme are spread out over four semesters spanning two years, while PhD students have more flexibility. All information pertaining to admission in the various curricula can be found on the university’s website (

The cost for academic programmes at TERI University range from Rs 20,000 per semester for MSc courses to Rs 60,000 per semester for the MBA course. Doctoral students need to pay Rs 12,000 per semester for their own research projects. Since course fees are the only mode of revenue generation for the university, it doesn’t hand out scholarships. However, doctoral students are often accommodated as researchers within projects conducted across the country by TERI, in return for a monthly stipend.

A small glitch with the university, as of now, happens to be the absence of a hostel for outstation students. However, it’s an issue that would be addressed by the authorities in a couple of months’ time. By February-March, TERI University is slated to move out of its India Habitat Centre offices to a two-acre environment-friendly campus in Vasant Kunj, where a new hostel is being built to accommodate 50 outstation students.

As for a career after walking out of the university, students seem to be spoilt for choice. “The PhD students find their calling so easily that we don’t have a placement cell for them,” says Seth. “For our masters students, we put together a placement cell which has been ensuring 100 per cent recruitment every year, with our students joining several corporate giants committed to issues such as sustainable development and the environment. Some firms such as Reliance, Ernst & Young, IL & FS, have been regularly recruiting from our university over the years,” he says.

And the remunerations that have come the way of TERI University alumni are handsome, to say the least. While MSc students from the institution have been commanding annual pay packets worth Rs 3 to 4 lakh, the MBA graduates have been pocketing about Rs 5 to 6 lakh every year, says Seth. “The demand for students is only set to rise, as India needs a huge number of trained human resources in the environment sector today,” says Seth.

So if environment is your calling, TERI University is clearly the place to be in.

Vital Statistics

WHAT IS IT? An institute that grew out of the research work that the environmental NGO TERI did.

WHO’S THE BOSS? Group Captain Rajiv Seth is the registrar.

WHAT does IT offer? Postgraduate and doctoral programmes on environment-related subjects as well as an MBA.

IS there a hostel? Not yet. A hostel for 50 students is being built at the Vasant Kunj campus where the university will move later this year.

WHere is it Located? Habitat Place, Lodhi Road, New Delhi-110003
Phone: 011-24682100 / 11



Divya Mohan Project officer, WWF India

I completed my undergraduate studies in botany from Delhi University, and decided to enrol for a masters in environmental studies at TERI University in 2005. What appealed to me was the way the course was structured, and the multi-disciplinary approach that the institute took in training its students. We were taught everything from statistics to biodiversity, so as to give us a better perspective of things, and the field trips were of immense importance too. I completed my course in 2007, and was interviewed by WWF for a post in their climate change and energy division. I met their expectations and was absorbed by the organisation late last year. It was a great experience for me at TERI University, and I am happy to have chosen it for higher studies.