South Asian Studies

Director of undergraduate studies: Sarah Khan, 213 RKZ, 115 Prospect St.;

The program in South Asian Studies combines the requirements of a discipline-based first major with significant course work in South Asian Studies. South Asian Studies can be taken only as a second major. The major is intended to provide students with a broad understanding of the history, culture, and languages of South Asia, as well as the region's current social, political, and economic conditions. Work in a discipline-based major coupled with a focus on South Asia prepares students for graduate study, employment in nongovernmental organizations, or business and professional careers in which an understanding of the region is essential.

Requirements of the Major 

In addition to fulfilling the requirements of the primary major, a student choosing South Asian Studies as a second major must complete seven term courses in South Asian Studies numbered 200 or above. At least two of the seven courses must address premodern South Asia, and at least two should be seminars. Students may petition the director of undergraduate studies (DUS) to include one relevant course from another department or program; approval may require additional course work on South Asian topics. Students must also complete the senior requirement and meet the major's language requirement.

Language requirement One South Asian language must be studied at the advanced level (L5). Students who matriculate with advanced proficiency in a South Asian language (excluding English), as demonstrated through testing, are encouraged to study Sanskrit, or to study a second modern language through Yale courses or the Directed Independent Language Study program. Students may request substitution of another appropriate language (e.g., Persian or Arabic) for the core language requirement, and they are encouraged to pursue intensive language study through courses or work abroad.

Credit/D/Fail A maximum of one course taken Credit/D/Fail may count toward the major.

Senior Requirement 

The senior requirement may be fulfilled by completion of a seminar that culminates in a senior essay. Alternatively, the requirement may be fulfilled by completion of a one-credit, two-term senior research project in SAST 491, 492, or by completion of a one-credit, one-term directed study in SAST 486 that culminates in a senior essay. The senior essay should be a substantial paper with a maximum length of 8,000 words for one term, and 10,500 words for two terms. The use of primary materials in the languages of the region is encouraged in senior essay projects. The DUS must approve senior essay plans early in the student's senior year.


The South Asian Studies major permits students to choose courses from a wide range of disciplines. Individual programs should have a balance between courses in the humanities and those in the social sciences. The proposed course of study must be approved each term by the DUS. Students should also identify an adviser from the South Asian Studies faculty in their area of specialization as early as possible.

Two majors Permission to complete two majors must be secured from the Committee on Honors and Academic Standing. Application forms are available from the residential college deans and must be submitted prior to the student's final term.

Courses in the Graduate School Graduate courses in South Asian Studies are open to qualified undergraduates. Course descriptions appear in the online Graduate School bulletin and are also available in the South Asian Studies program office. Permission of the instructor and of the director of graduate studies is required.

Study Abroad 

Up to three course credits from approved study abroad programs may be applied toward the requirements of the major, with permission of the DUS.


Prerequisites None

Number of courses 7 term courses (not incl senior req or lang req)

Distribution of courses 7 courses in South Asian Studies numbered 200 or above, 2 in premodern, 2 sems

Substitution permitted One relevant course in another dept, and/or up to 3 study abroad credits with DUS permission

Language requirement Study in a South Asian lang through L5 level

Senior requirement Senior essay in sem, or research project in SAST 491, 492, or senior essay in SAST 486

The South Asian Studies Council (SASC) brings together faculty and students with diverse interests in South Asia. The University offers a wide range of courses on South Asia in the humanities and social sciences, including courses in anthropology, English, religious studies, history, comparative literature, linguistics, history of art, economics, environmental studies, and political science. The Council organizes an annual speaker series, concerts of South Asian music, and conferences. Information on courses and Council events can be found on the SASC website.

Yale College offers South Asian Studies as a second major. Students select courses for the major from a wide range of disciplines and complete a language requirement in a South Asian language.


Professors Akhil Amar (Law School), Tim Barringer (History of Art), Veneeta Dayal (Linguistics), Nihal de Lanerolle (School of Medicine), Michael Dove (Anthropology, Forestry & Environmental Studies), Phyllis Granoff (Religious Studies), Robert Jensen (Economics), Mushfiq Mobarak (Economics, School of Management), Kaiyan Munshi (Economics), Rohini Pande (Economics), Kalyanakrishnan Sivaramakrishnan (Anthropology, Forestry & Environmental Studies), Shyam Sunder (School of Management), Steven Wilkinson (Political Science)

Associate Professors Rohit De (History), Mayur Desai (Public Health), Zareena Grewal (Ethnicity, Race, & Migration), Kishwar Rizvi (History of Art)

Assistant Professors Subhashini Kaligotla (History of Art), Sarah Khan (Political Science), Priyasha Mukhopadhyay (English)

Senior Lecturer Carol Carpenter (Anthropology, Forestry & Environmental Studies)

Lecturers Hugh Flick, Jr. (Religious Studies), Supriya Gandhi (Religious Studies)

Senior Lectors Seema Khurana, Swapna Sharma

Lector Aleksandar Uskokov