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 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."

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