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MPhil in Sanskrit and South Asian Studies


The MPhil in Sanskrit and South Asian Studies is a one-year programme designed to promote an understanding of the region’s rich and complex cultural, religious and intellectual histories through the extensive corpus of textual sources in Sanskrit. The programme offers an in-depth introduction to South Asia’s seminal textual sources, significant language skills to interpret and analyse such sources, an understanding of the relevant historiographical and theoretical issues, and methodology training. Students with an interest in Pali or Prakrit literary cultures can work on them under Dr Kahrs' guidance.


The programme is appropriate for students who have already had some previous training in Sanskrit (and, where appropriate, in Pali or Prakrit). 

The MPhil is by dissertation only. It aims to give students an opportunity to develop their analytical, research and writing skills in preparation for further academic research or as a way to complement and enrich their interest in the Indian religious and intellectual traditions. The dissertation-only format entails working closely with one supervisor throughout the year on a dissertation to be submitted in mid-August (see below).

Even though there are no taught courses, MPhil students attend a weekly graduate seminar and other reading groups with PhD students and post-doctoral researchers, thus having an opportunity to interact with their peers and seniors in a supportive environment. They may also receive training in codicology, manuscriptology, and other skills. Where relevant, they are also encouraged to attend advanced undergraduate lectures and language courses. Students can also benefit from access to Hindi language literary sources under the guidance of the Faculty's Teaching Officer in Hindi.



Students are required to submit a dissertation of not more than 25,000 words (including footnotes and appendices but excluding bibliography), on a subject approved by the Degree Committee of the Faculty. Dissertations must demonstrate the student's research competence and make use of primary sources in one or more of the languages of pre-modern South Asia.