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South Asian Cultural and Religious History (Classical Indology)

Degree Master of Arts
Application required access-restricted
Course commences winter semester / summer semester
Standard course duration 4 semesters
Format options full-time / part-time
Language requirements Sanskrit (on application)
Language of instruction German

Faculty of Philosophy


Course outline

The M.A. course on South Asian Cultural and Religious History (Classical Indology) focuses on Ancient and Middle Indic languages in their cultural context, with special reference to Classical Sanskrit. Alongside the emphasis on the investigation of writings in Ancient and Middle Indic languages that this implies, Classical Indology also extends its purview to texts in living contexts requiring a sound understanding of the cultural, religious and philosophical history of India. Acquisition of this knowledge is part and parcel of the course. Accordingly, the programme is geared both to traditional and to modern India. The approach adopted is philological, cultural and interdisciplinary.

Course structure

1. Compulsory modules (CM)

CM 1: Language studies        4 hrs/week 14 CP

CM 2: Research skills

South Asian cultural and religious history

4 hrs/week 14 CP
CM 3: Indological research methods 4 hrs/week 13 CP
CM 4: Oral examination          10 CP
CM 5: M.A. thesis   30 CP


2. Elective modules (EM)

EM 1: Second language         4 hrs/week 12 CP
EM 2: Source utilisation skills           2 hrs/week 7 CP


Subsidiary (minor) subject

In this course 20 CP are accounted for by a subsidiary (minor) subject. You will find a list of all subsidiary subjects on offer here.

The M.A. course on the Cultural and Religious History of South Asia (Classical Indology) can also be taken as a subsidiary (minor) subject accounting for 20 CP:

1. Compulsory modules (CM)

CM 1: Language studies 4 hrs/week 8 CP


2. Elective-compulsory modules (EM)

ECM 1: Research skills

              South Asian cultural and religious history

2 hrs/week 6 CP
ECM 2: Source utilisation skills 2 hrs/week

6 CP


Main research interests

The Department of South Asian Cultural and Religious History focuses on the following topics in research and teaching:

  1. Ancient and Middle Indic languages – Sanskrit, Pali, Prakrit
  2. modern languages – Singhalese, Nepali, Newari
  3. religions and philosophies of India in their historical and contemporary forms
  4. research on rituals
  5. indigenous science and scholarship
  6. regional field research: Nepal, Benares, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Sri Lanka
  7. teaching of, and research on, theories underlying religious and cultural studies

Formal requirements


Access to the course is restricted. The current Admission Regulations are available here.

Prospective students from Germany

Prospective students from Germany can enrol without prior application at the Central University Administration building by the beginning of the lecture period. To matriculate, they are required to show a written statement of admission issued by the representative of the Master’s programme they wish to attend, confirming that the requirements set out in the Admission Regulations have been met. Please apply to the South Asia Institute for further information on how to proceed.

International prospective students

Prospective students from other countries must apply in writing, so that their previous academic record can be verified. The deadline for international applicants is 15 June. Applications must be addressed directly to the International Relations Office. Please use the M.A. application form here and enclose the necessary documents.

Further information

Current information on procedure



Study and examination regulations

Examination regulations M.A. (23 March 2017)

Examination regulations M.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.


Academic advisor

Anand Mishra, M.A.
office hours: Tuesdays 4 – 6 pm and by appointment
Office 305, South Asia Institute
Im Neuenheimer Feld 330
D-69120 Heidelberg
phone: +49 (0)6221 544907



South Asia Institute
Department of Classical Indology
Im Neuenheimer Feld 330
D-69120 Heidelberg


Julie Pusch
Office 313
phone: +49 (0)6221 548817
fax: +49 (0)6221 546338




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Latest Revision: 2019-02-06
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