Faculty of PhilosophySouth Asian Cultural and Religious History/Classical Indology – Master

Classical Indology deals with cultural and religious history. The main focus in teaching and research is on the classical languages, cultures and religions, and literatures and philosophies of South Asia with a special emphasis on Sanskrit.

Facts & Formalities

DegreeMaster of Arts
Type of programmeConsecutive
Start of programmeWinter and summer semester
Standard period of study4 semesters
Language(s) of instructionGerman and English
Fees and contributions151.05 € / Semester
Application procedureConsecutive master’s programmes with access restriction
Application deadlinesInformation about deadlines can be obtained after you have put together a degree program.
Part-time optionYes
May be studied as a minor subjectYes

Course Content

The academic programme allows students to study the cultural and religious history of South Asia with a special emphasis on the acquisition of philological and ethno-Indological methods. The course covers a broad range of different topics with equal attention being paid to philosophical aspects as well as the cultural, social and political dimensions. Students’ linguistic and interpretative skills are systematically honed in reading courses focussing on joint readings of texts in Sanskrit and Pali. 

During the course of study, students take courses that improve their ability to critically analyse and interpret texts in Sanskrit. At the same time, they also learn about social, cultural and religious history and are familiarised with local scientific traditions and philosophies. Seminars on manuscriptology and source studies convey the basic knowledge required to understand source material. 

Therefore, the subject is geared toward both historical and modern South Asia and uses philological, cultural scientific, theory-based and interdisciplinary approaches. Currently popular topics include initiations, life cycle rituals, festivals, pilgrimages, religious services and sacrifice rituals.

Course Structure

The two-year Master’s programme consists of 120 credits and can be studied as a single major subject, as a major subject with a minor, or as a minor subject. The modules are divided into compulsory modules and compulsory elective modules.  

The subject modules are based primarily on working with Sanskrit and focus on the following:  

  • cultural, social and religious history 
  • philosophy and scientific traditions 
  • source research 
  • methodology of cultural sciences 
  • poetics 
  • narrative literature and dramas 
  • Buddhism studies  

In addition, students must learn a second South Asian language. To this end, the students can choose from the wide range of languages offered at the South Asia Institute (SAI): Pali, Singhalese Nepali, classical Tibetan, colloquial Tibetan, Bengali, Hindi, Urdu and Tamil.  

All modules, including language modules, should be taken in the first three semester. The fourth semester is dedicated to writing the Master's thesis.