The Department of South Asian Studies offers programs of study leading to the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and, in exceptional cases, the Master of Arts (AM) degrees. While graduate work is tailored to individual intellectual interests, it is our expectation that all doctoral students will ground their work in primary language materials and participate in interdisciplinary studies of South Asian languages, histories, and cultures.
Admission to the PhD program is offered on the basis of an outstanding academic record, letters of recommendation, a writing sample, and, ordinarily, GRE scores. A strong background in one or more areas of South Asian studies is required. 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.
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.
In exceptional cases, the Department will 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.