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 first semester consists of the compulsory core course Introduction to Asian Studies that all students of the MA in Asian Studies have to take. 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 Introduction to Asian Studies in your second semester (September – December).

In your second semester you will again take one or two electives of a minimum of 15 EC, or fulfill this partially by an internship, and write your MA-Thesis (15 EC).

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

For a detailed programme, see the 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. 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.”

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."

Admission and Application

Do you want to find out if you are eligible for this Master's Programme?

Check the admission requirements

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