Program in South Asian Studies

Academic Unit

Program Information

The Program in South Asian Studies, under the auspices of the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, offers students the methodological and theoretical tools to study the political, economic, social, religious, literary, and cultural institutions of the region with particular focus on the modern history of India and Pakistan.

Hindi, Urdu, and Sanskrit. The Program in South Asian Studies offers a four-term sequence of language instruction in Hindi, Urdu, and Sanskrit. Completion of all four terms of a language will satisfy the University language requirement. All language instruction is offered with an emphasis on gaining knowledge of the cultural context of South Asia, with Hindi and Urdu instruction focusing on speaking, reading, and writing, and Sanskrit instruction focusing on reading and interpreting a variety of traditional literary genres. The program encourages students to take advantage of intensive summer language programs and of the numerous opportunities to study or travel in South Asia, including a semester or year abroad. For more information, contact the Office of International Programs.

Admission to the Program

Students concentrating in any department may enter the certificate program with permission from the director. A student normally enters the program at the end of the sophomore year, although entrance in the fall of the junior year is not precluded. Students in the departments of anthropology, history, politics, religion, sociology, comparative literature, or the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs may find that their studies mesh particularly well with the requirements of the program. Concentrators in the Woodrow Wilson School will select South Asia as a field of concentration.

Program of Study

To obtain a certificate of proficiency, students must complete the normal requirements in their department of concentration as well as the following requirements of the program:

1. Four semesters of Hindi, Urdu, or Sanskrit, or demonstrated proficiency in one of these or another South Asian language through a program examination. See the program director to discuss using a language other than Hindi, Urdu or Sanskrit to fulfill the program's language requirement.

2. At least four courses on South Asia in any of the following departments: anthropology, comparative literature, cconomics, history, Near Eastern studies, politics, religion, the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, or the Program in South Asian Studies. Please note: No more than two courses in any one department may be used to count toward the certificate of proficiency, and only one course of the four may be taken as P/D/F.  Advanced Hindi and Urdu courses (HIN-URD 300-level or higher) will count in the SAS course designation category.

3. A senior thesis written in the student's department of concentration with a significant South Asian component. If there is no possibility for South Asian content in the senior thesis, students must write a separate piece of independent work focusing on South Asia; please consult with the program director.

Certificate of Proficiency

Students who complete the requirements of the program with satisfactory standing receive a certificate of proficiency in South Asian studies upon graduation.