Universiteit Leiden

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South Asian Studies (MA) (60EC)

About the programme

The one-year master in South Asian Studies, a specialisation of Leiden University’s master in Asian Studies, offers a large and varied selection of subjects and the freedom to choose the areas on which you will focus.

The curriculum of this master's programme consists of compulsory core courses, electives, a research seminar and an MA thesis.

The first semester consists of the core courses Introduction to Asian Studies and Thesis and Methods Class which are compulsory for all students of the MA Asian Studies. In addition to a core course on South Asia, you will take one or two courses of your own choice. These electives introduce the issues, debates and methodologies of a discipline with a regional focus on one of the countries or regions of Asia. During this semester, you will also participate in a thesis research seminar linked to the South Asia core course.

If you start in February you will take the Thesis and Methods Classes in your first semester and Introduction to Asian Studies in your second semester (September – December).

More info to be announced.

You have the option of taking a intensive language courses in Sanskrit, Tibetan, or Hindi. This course is taken instead of one elective in both the first and second semesters. 

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Self-study
  • Internship/Study abroad options
  • Thesis
  • Exams
  • Peer feedback and assessment
  • Essays, reports
  • Oral presentations

Detailed programme

For a detailed programme, see the e-Prospectus. Please note that this guide applies to the current academic year, which means that the curriculum for next year may slightly differ.

Jonathan Silk

Professor of Buddhist Studies

Jonathan Silk

“Leiden University has incredible strengths – it is possible, for instance, to study Buddhism across the whole of Asia.”

Access to famous libraries

"The library of our Kern Institute, the national centre of expertise for South Asia and the Himalayan region, is famous around the world for its excellent resources on South Asia and Tibet, while the library at the Sinological Institute is second to none in Europe for the depth and breadth of its collections."

Reading Buddhist texts

"I teach introductory courses on Buddhism, and advanced thematic seminars on various topics. And of course, I always love to read Buddhist texts with students in their original languages as well as in translation. The study of Buddhism should be a dynamic synthesis of factual knowledge and critical perspectives, and the Leiden master’s programme offers students just this approach."

Mark Rutgers

Dean

Mark Rutgers

“Many of our master’s students discover the quality of our programmes only after they join us. In the Netherlands, self-promotion is not a big part of our culture, yet Leiden University’s Humanities Faculty ranks alongside the most prestigious universities in the world, and is the established leader in continental Europe. What can our students expect from this programme? An education on par with the world’s best, with teaching by top researchers.”

Alumni: close-knit global community

“Your graduation from a master’s programme marks a new chapter in your relationship with Leiden University. Our alumni community is highly active in terms of network-building and development. They are valued by the university, and we support them with personal and professional development and free use of our facilities such as the Leiden University Library. This close-knit global community offers life-long support for all our former students in terms of reaching goals, maintaining friendships and expanding networks.”

Research: encouraging you to think beyond your own discipline

“Some of the most high-profile humanities research produced today is conducted at Leiden University’s Humanities Faculty. These faculty members are among a handful worldwide who can lay claim to such a depth and breadth of academic expertise. One example is our centre of excellence on Native American cultures, languages and history – a research group that is one of the best in the world. At Leiden, we can offer students expertise in most niche areas of interest. Our faculty members often work together across disciplines, and encourage students to think beyond the limits of their own discipline, which is where the future of innovative research lies.”

Careers: opportunities to develop your talent

Decisions made during your studies have a big impact on your future. We offer you many opportunities to develop your talents both within and outside of the classroom, including internships, study trips abroad, student committees, and minors. These opportunities help define your objectives for after your studies, and equip you with additional skills and experience.”

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