A B.A. in South Asian Languages and Cultures combines advanced language study in one or more South Asian languages (Bengali, Hindi, Sanskrit, Urdu), along with courses on the literatures and cultures of South Asia. Students benefit from the exceptional depth of coursework taught by leading scholars in these languages, and they expand their studies with curriculum in South Asian studies from across the humanities and social sciences. Many students pair this major with a major in a professional field (e.g., engineering, business, informatics, computer science), giving them an advantage in these fields as the importance of South Asian business, entertainment, medicine and technology organizations continues to grow. Alumni, as multilingual professionals with in-demand skills, find an advantage entering business and nonprofit work, STEM fields, graduate programs, and more across the globe.
Elementary language courses are available only in the fall quarter. Students should sign up for elementary coursework as early as possible in order to fulfill the major’s language requirement. If you have previous experience with South Asian languages, see the department's information on proficiency exams and placement interviews.
Admissions, Advising & Student Resources
Please see our Undergraduate Programs section for information about applying to the program, career paths, scholarships, and other student resources.
- Minimum 20 credits of college coursework (or department-approved equivalent) in the intended primary language of concentration. The most recent course completed in the intended primary language of concentration must be taken through the UW, with a minimum 2.5 grade.
- Completion of one writing course (W-prefix) taught in English with a minimum 2.0 grade.
- The department prefers that prospective majors present a cumulative 2.50 GPA. Students with a cumulative GPA below 2.50 may be considered for the major if they submit materials in addition to transcripts, clarifying any aspect of past coursework. Denied applicants may appeal.
- Transfer students must be enrolled at the UW before applying to the major.
Note: Students entering the junior year without two years of the appropriate foreign language are not able to complete the degree requirements in two years unless they take accelerated courses through the UW during summer quarter.
- Language courses: 40 credits of courses in one or more South Asian language (BENG, HINDI, SNKRT, URDU). Minimum 5 credits at second-year level (course numbered 203 or above) for Hindi, Sanskrit, and Urdu; minimum 3 credits at second-year level (course numbered 203 or above) for Bengali.
- Literature (5 credits): one South Asian literature course chosen from the following list of approved courses.
ASIAN 301 Songs of the Saints of India
- Area-related humanities and social science courses (20 credits): May apply up to 10 credits of upper-division South Asian language courses in addition to those used for requirement #1.
ANTH 316/JSIS A 316 Modern South Asia
HSTAS 202/JSIS A 202 Introduction to South Asian History, 1500-Present
HSTAS 303 Divided Lands/Divided Lives: An Environmental History of South Asia
HSTAS 401 History of Ancient India
HSTAS 402 History of Medieval and Mughal India
HSTAS 403 History of Modern India to 1900
HSTAS 404/JSIS A 409 History of Twentieth-Century India
HSTAS 408 Fabulous Gurus and Fake Fakirs: Religious Reform in Colonial India
JSIS 203 Rise of Asia
JSIS A 206 Contemporary India and Pakistan
JSIS A 340/POL S 340 Politics of India, Pakistan, and South Asia
JSIS B 406/POL S 432 Political Islam and Islamic Fundamentalism
JSIS A 417/POL S 417 Political Economy of India
NEAR E 229/JSIS A 210 Introduction to Islamic Civilization
NEAR E 230/RELIG 211 Introduction to Muslim Beliefs and Practices
RELIG 120/CHID 120 Yoga: Past and Present
RELIG 202 Introduction to World Religions: Eastern Traditions
RELIG 352 Hinduism
RELIG 354 Buddhism
RELIG 356/ANTH 352 Buddhism and Society: The Theravada Buddhist Tradition in South and Southeast Asia
RELIG 456 Gender and the Hindu Goddess
Other courses with South Asia content may be substituted with prior approval. Examples of such
CMS 320 National Cinemas (when focused on South Asia)
If you have questions about whether or not an outside of the department course counts towards the major, please consult with an advisor.
4. Minimum 25 credits at the 300- or 400-level
Updated: Winter 2023