South Asian Studies

Director of undergraduate studies: Priyasha Mukhopadhyay,

The program in South Asian Studies combines the requirements of a discipline-based first major with significant coursework 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 Graduate School online 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 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.

Certificate of Advanced Language Study

The Department of South Asian Studies offers a Certificate of Advanced Language Study in Hindi. A certificate adviser, typically the director of undergraduate studies (DUS), advises students on the certification process and certifies to the University Registrar's Office that students have completed the stated requirements before the end of eight terms of study. The Certificate of Advanced Language Study, once certified, is listed on the student's transcript. 


Students seeking to earn the certificate are required to take four courses beyond the L4 level in their chosen language, at least two of which must be Yale courses designated as L5. All courses must be taken for a letter grade, and students must achieve a grade of B or above. With the approval of the adviser, one advanced non-L5 Yale course, conducted in the target language, such as an independent study course (graded Pass/Fail), a graduate seminar, or an advanced seminar may count toward certification requirements.

The certificate adviser may allow one “language across the curriculum” (LxC) course taught in English to count toward the certification requirements provided the course includes at minimum a weekly discussion section conducted entirely in the target language. The discussion section must enroll a minimum of three students and the course must be designated as LxC in the course description.

The certificate adviser may also approve the substitution of up to two credits earned during study abroad and taught in the target language to count toward the certificate requirements. If the adviser approves courses taken outside of Yale for inclusion in the certificate requirements, students must take the necessary steps to ensure that those courses appear on their transcripts.

Credit/D/Fail No courses taken Credit/D/Fail may be counted toward the requirements of the certificate.

Students are encouraged to complete and submit the Declaration of Candidacy for a Certificate Form found on the University Registrar's website. Once completed, the form sends notification emails to the certificate adviser(s) and to the Yale University Registrar’s Office so that the student's Degree Audit can be updated with the Certificate of Advanced Language Study. 


Professors Akhil Amar (Law School), Sunil Amrith (History), Tim Barringer (History of Art), Veneeta Dayal (Linguistics), Nihal de Lanerolle (School of Medicine), Michael Dove (Anthropology, Forestry & Environmental Studies), Robert Jensen (Economics), Mushfiq Mobarak (Economics, School of Management), Kaivan Munshi (Economics), Rohini Pande (Economics), Kishwar Rizvi (History of Art), Kalyanakrishnan Sivaramakrishnan (Anthropology, Forestry & Environmental Studies), Shyam Sunder (School of Management), Kalindi Vora (Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, Ethnicity, Race, & Migration), Steven Wilkinson (Political Science)

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

Assistant Professors Anthony Acciavatti (Architecture), Supriya Gandhi (Religious Studies), Sonam Kachru (Religious Studies), Sarah Khan (Political Science), Priyasha Mukhopadhyay (English), Ameera Nimjee (Music), Madiha Tahir (American Studies)

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

Lecturers Jane Lynch (Anthropology), Jane Mikkelson (Comparative Literature, Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations)

Senior Lector Swapna Sharma (Hindi)

Lectors  Mansi Bajaj (Hindi), Aleksandar Uskokov (Sanskrit)