PK Michael Tharakan has a Ph.D in History from Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam. He has worked as the Vice-Chancellorat Kannur University, Sri Ramakrishna Hegde Chair Professor in Decentralization and Governance at the Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC), Bangalore and the Director of Kerala Institute of local administration (KILA), Thrissur. He has also Served as Chief Adjudicator of Ph.D theses at various Universities
He has been the Guest Editor of the Special Issue on ' History : In a Different Perspective' of ORA the Malayalam Organ for Radical Action, Alappuzha, Kerala, Vol.23, and the Guest Editor along with Vikas Rawal of the two issues (presenting papers presented at the International Conference on Democratic Decentralization at Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, May 23-27, 2000) of Social Scientist. Vol.29.
He was awarded the Special Chair in Development Studies, Institute of Management Studies and Policy, University of Antwerp(RUCA), Belgium , 1998; was elected by the Governing Body of the St.Anthony's College, Oxford University, UK as Honorary Associate menber for the Trinity Term, 1996 and was the Chairperson and Convenor of the Session on Kerala at the European Conference on Modern South Asian Studies, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1996.
He has received the P Gopala Menon Prize in History, University of Kerala, 1974 and the National Merit Scholarship, 1972-74.