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Development, Environment, Societies, and History in South Asia

Degree Master of Arts
Application required access-restricted
Course commences winter semester / summer semester
Course duration 4 semesters
Format options full-time / part-time
Languages of instruction English, German
Other features post-graduate, consecutive

Faculty of Philosophy


Programme overview

The interdisciplinary M.A. course in Development, Environment, Societies, and History in South Asia offers a broad choice of classes catering for people with a wide variety of academic profiles. Geographers and economists, art historians and anthropologists, political scientists and historians all stand to benefit from this course, which is taught at the South Asia Institute (SAI) of Heidelberg University.

The course represents in nuce Heidelberg University’s very considerable expertise on the subject of South Asia. The following modules are offered and can be combined for your specific needs:

  • Development Economics
  • Anthropology
  • Geography
  • History of South Asia
  • Art History and Visual Culture of South Asia 
  • Political Science of South Asia.

Supplement your disciplinary focus with intensive or advanced language courses (available as minor programmes).

As courses are offered in German and English, the study programme is open to people from around the world.

The South Asia Institute offers a regular teaching of eleven South Asian languages, from beginners to advanced level. The following languages are taught: classical Tibetan, colloquial Tibetan, Bengali, Dari, Hindi, Nepali, Pali, Sanskrit, Sinhala, Tamil, and Urdu. If you are interested to learn or continue with one of the above listed languages you can combine this M.A. course with a minor in "Cultural and Religious History of South Asia" or "Communication, Literature, and Media in modern South Asia languages".

Course structure

While offering a wide array of subject combinations, the M.A. course attaches great importance to thorough grounding in a special subject of the student’s choice. This specialisation prepares the ground for later doctoral work on the same topic. The M.A. programme takes 4 semesters and adds up to a total of 120 ECTS credit points. The special subject module selected by the student plus the examination module (30 CP) that goes with it account for 66 of the total CP required and is given special mention on the M.A. degree certificate. The standard four-semester duration of the course encompasses the M.A. examinations and the time required for the M.A. thesis. Taught classes extend over three semesters, the fourth semester is earmarked for the oral examinations and completion of the thesis. South Asian Studies can be study as:

  • Major (120 ECTS)
  • Major (100 ECTS) in combination with a minor (20 ECTS)
  • Minor (20 ECTS) (Click here for a complete list of all subsidiary subjects on offer.)

Formal requirements


The course is access-restricted and admission-restricted. Please consult the Application Regulations 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 for the winter semester and 15 November for the summer semester. Applications must be addressed directly to the International Relations Office. Please use the M.A. application form available here and enclose the necessary documents.


Current information on procedure


Examination regulations

M.A. examination regulations (6 July 2016)

M.A. examination regulations (6 July 2016, last amended 15 December 2017)


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

The people to contact are listed with their office hours on the website of the South Asia Institute.



Examinations office

Lars Stöwesand
Im Neuenheimer Feld 330
, Office 224
D- 69120 Heidelberg

Mondays 10 - 11 am, Wednesdays 2 - 4 pm
phone: +49 (0)6221 544313
fax: +49 (0)6221 544998


Student representation

Student representation at SAI:



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Latest Revision: 2019-02-26
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