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Tuesday, April 01, 2014



The history of psychological thought in India can be traced back to ancient times. Higher education in India has always been influenced by the social, economic and political context at any given time. The history of formal education in this discipline began as a result of several events that shaped the history of India 19th century.

Following the accession of India to the English empire after 1857 an education system modeled on the lines of Oxford and Cambridge was introduced in India. Formal education in Psychology began in the early part of the 20th century. The first Psychology department set up in the University of Calcutta in 1916 produced people trained in the western models of Psychology. Till then Psychology which was introduced in 1905 was under the department of Philosophy. Under the guidance of Dr. N. N. Sen Gupta a student of Wundt many Psychologists were trained in this department. (c.f. Jain, K.A., 2005). Many people preferred to enroll in Western Universities to get trained in the subject.

The Indian Psychoanalytic Society was started by Dr. Girinder Shekar Bose in 1922. Department of Psychology was started in Mysore University and Lucknow University in 1924. Dr Gopalaswami who started this department brought out Indian adaptations of Psychological tests and initiated the application of psychological principles in Education. The first Indian journal in Psychology, ‘Indian Journal of Psychology was started in 1925. Department of Applied Psychology and Experimental Psychology were set up in the University of Allahabad in 1946. Research in this period was based on western models and laboratory experiments to bring Psychology under the umbrella of science in alignment with western positivism.

Psychology Education Post Independence

Independent departments of Psychology which usually came under department of Philosophy started in the 1960’s-70’s. Pandit Nehru encouraged education and research in Psychology. The Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICCSR) established in 1968 monitored the status of research in Psychology in India. The Institute of Psychological Research and Services in the department of Applied Psychology in Patna is involved in teaching and research.

The popularity of Psychology in academics can be attested by the growth in the number of Universities offering Psychology as a subject from 51/101 in 1975 to 70/219 in 2001(c.f. Jain, K.A. 2005). After the University Grants Commission (UGC) was set up in 1956 funding was provided to set up departments of Psychology at various universities. Psychology has been introduced in the Senior secondary level, graduation and post graduation level. Research is being carried out in these institutes as a part of funded research projects, doctoral and post doctoral work.

The pioneer of Clinical Psychology in India was Calcutta University whose applied section started in 1938 and also started training in Psychoanalysis in 1922.

Some of the major Institutes offering Psychology education in India are as follows:

The All India Institute of Mental Health which was set up in 1954 in Bangalore was renamed as National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) in 1974 and it was an autonomous body and currently is a deemed University. The Department of Clinical Psychology offers a 2 year full time M Phil programme and a 3 year Phd programme.  They also provide short term training in various areas. Training programs were also introduced in Hospital for Mental Diseases in Ranchi in 1962.

Currently Psychology has been introduced in various organizations. Indian Institutes of Technology and Management offer doctoral programs in Psychology.

Psychology education and practice in India has been influenced by the West and Indian forms of Psychological thought has been sidelined till recently. People are now moving towards a more integrated and indigenized form of Psychology which is suitable for the Indian context. Indian Psychology as a paper has been introduced in most courses of Psychology.


Dalai, A. K. (2011). A journey back to the roots: Psychology in India. Foundations of Indian Psychology Volume 1: Theories and Concepts, 27.

Jain, A. K. (2005). Psychology in India. The Psychologist18(4), 206-208.

Misra, G., & Paranjpe, E. A. C. (2012). Psychology in modern India. In Encyclopedia of the history of psychological theories (pp. 881-892). Springer US.

Singh, A. K. (1991). The comprehensive history of psychology. Motilal Banarsidass Publ..


1 comment:

Asna Nesrin said...

very comprehensive with good introduction and conclusion

I think the chronological order of the article can be looked upon

The current trend in psychology as a discipline can also be included