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Modern Languages and Literatures of South Asia

Degree Bachelor of Arts
Application not required
Course commences winter semester only
Standard course duration 6 semesters
Focus options 75%; 50%; 25%
Language requirements English
Language of instruction German and regional languages


Faculty of Philosophy

As of the winter semester 2016/17, the B.A. programme in Modern Languages and Literatures of South Asia  will no longer be available. It is, therefore, not possible to apply for admission to this programme.

Course outline

In research and teaching, modern South Asian Studies investigates the languages, literatures, new media and historical discourses of the Indian subcontinent. All these concerns have their roots in the study of language and language-centred media (texts, films, Internet).

The core programme encompasses classes on Hindi, Urdu, Bengali and Tamil. Where possible, the curriculum is broadened by offerings pertaining to other South Asian languages. Theoretical models provide insights into topics from literary studies and cultural studies, practical translation work figures prominently in the curriculum.

In scholarly terms, the Department investigates not only literature in the narrower sense of the term but also original sources in modern languages on historical and political aspects of this pluricultural area and on the history of ideas on the subcontinent. Engagement with newspapers, audiovisual material and scholarly literature in the language selected is also very much part of the course.

For more information on the course, go to the website of the Department of Modern South Asian Languages and Literature at the South Asia Institute. When - or preferably before - embarking on the programme, students are strongly advised to take advantage of the student counselling services available.

Course structure

B.A. Modern Languages and Literatures of South Asia

The course takes six semesters (including final examinations) and can be taken as a main subject (75%), a joint-main subject (50%) or a subsidiary subject (25%). The focus of the programme is on the modern languages, literatures and media of South Asia regarded from a cultural-studies viewpoint.

At the beginning of the course, students choose one of the languages on the curriculum (Bengali, Urdu, Hindi, Tamil) as their first foreign language. It is advisable to embark on the course in the winter semester as beginner language courses are only offered once a year.

In the first semesters the emphasis is on language acquisition. At the end of the second semester at the latest, there is a programme-integrated orientation examination. Language acquisition is supplemented by seminars and lectures acquainting students with the fundamentals required for scholarly engagement with South Asia. In the early semesters these take the form of introductory classes on area studies and the cultures and religions of South Asia. In later semesters, students are above all required to attend seminars on literary studies and linguistics.

Joint- and joint-main-course students normally learn another South Asian language. Depending on the study focus selected, the second language can also be contextualised with the help of cultural-studies provided by other departments of the Institute.

The B.A. course ends with an oral examination and (for main- and joint-main-course students) a B.A. thesis of approx. 35 pages.

Main research interests

Modern Indology is concerned mainly with linguistic and textual studies focusing on modern South Asia. The relevant literatures and languages are regarded in their cultural contexts (in the fullest sense of the term) with special importance attached to their interactions with their societal, historical/political and religious environs. In the near future there will also be more intensive engagement with Islamic and other modern religious currents in South Asia.

Formal requirements


There are no admission restrictions. Click here for instructions on how to enrol.
Admission regulations.

International applicants

There are special regulations for international applicants. Please consult Heidelberg University’s International Relations Office (Akademisches Auslandsamt, Seminarstraße 2) for more information.

Subject combinations

Subject combinations are listed in the Catalogue of Subjects.

For both main- and subsidiary-course students, it is advisable to select a non-philological subject in order to extend one’s academic horizons in systematic and methodological respects. The disciplines offered by the South Asia Institute are ideal in this respect.

Study and examination regulations

Examination regulations B.A. (22 April 2013)
Examination regulations B.A. (28 March 2007)

Module Handbook

Please click here to find the latest Module Handbook.

Examinations board

Issues arising in connection with examinations, credit transfer and academic credential recognition are dealt with by the relevant examinations board/office. For more information, consult the academic advisor(s) indicated below.


Tuition fees at Heidelberg University are payable at the beginning of each semester.

M.A. course

Heidelberg University offers consecutive M.A. courses on Modern Languages and Literatures of South Asia and  Health and Society in South Asia.

Academic advisor

Jürgen Schaflechner, M.A.
Im Neuenheimer Feld 330, Office 216
office hours: Wednedays 2.30 – 4.30 pm
phone: +49 (0)6221 548933


South Asia Institute
Department of Modern Languages and Literatures of South Asia
Im Neuenheimer Feld 330
D-69120 Heidelberg

Britta Cierniak, Office 217
phone: +49 (0)6221 548837
fax: +49 (0)6221 548841

Student representation

E-Mail: Seitenbearbeiter
Letzte Änderung: 2017-04-06
zum Seitenanfang/up