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South Asian Studies

We emphasize a rigorous approach to South Asian texts and traditions, the cultural, intellectual, and social practices that they inform, and the diverse disciplinary perspectives that are needed to study and write about them.

Additional information on the graduate program is available from the Department of South Asian Studies and requirements for the degree are detailed in GSAS Policies.

Admission Requirements

Please review GSAS admissions requirements and other information before applying. You can find degree program-specific admissions requirements below and access additional guidance on applying from the Department of South Asian Studies.

Academic Background

A strong background in one or more areas of South Asian studies is required. Applicants with the requisite background should email the department well before the admissions deadline. Please describe your previous academic work in South Asian studies and your specific research interests. Include the names of faculty members with whom you might wish to work.


For admission to the Sanskrit and Indian Studies program, prerequisites include two years of Sanskrit, and for the Tibetan and Himalayan Studies program, two years of classical Tibetan (these language requirements correspond to the first and second years of Sanskrit or Tibetan taught at Harvard). For the South Asian Studies program, candidates should have at least two years of study in a South Asian language. The student’s command of the relevant languages will be evaluated during the first term.

Please note: In exceptional cases, the department may offer admission to a one-year AM program for particularly promising students who would like to strengthen their background in South Asian studies but who may not have all of the qualifications for doctoral study. Applicants should be aware that there is no funding available for AM candidates.

Writing Sample

A writing sample is required as part of the application.

Standardized Tests

GRE General: Required

Theses & Dissertations

Theses & Dissertations for South Asian Studies


See list of South Asian Studies faculty


Degrees Offered


Questions about the Program?