B.A. in South Asian Languages and Cultures

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Completion of one writing course (W-prefix) taught in English with a minimum 2.0 grade.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Degree Requirements

65 credits

  1. 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.
List of Approved Courses for I. Language Requirement
Bengali: BENG 101, BENG 102, BENG 103, BENG 201 (3 or 5 credits), BENG 202 (3 or 5 credits), BENG 203 (3 or 5 credits), BENG 301 (3 or 5 credits), BENG 302 (3 or 5 credits), BENG 303 (3 or 5 credits), BENG 499
Hindi: HINDI 101, HINDI 102, HINDI 103, HINDI 201, HINDI 202, HINDI 203, HINDI 301, HINDI 302, HINDI 303, HINDI 317, HINDI 321, HINDI 323, HINDI 324, HINDI 417, HINDI 421, HINDI 422, HINDI 423, HINDI 424, HINDI 431, HINDI 499
Sanskrit: SNKRT 101, SNKRT 102, SNKRT 103, SNKRT 201, SNKRT 202, SNKRT 203, SNKRT 311, SNKRT 312, SNKRT 313, SNKRT 494, SNKRT 495, SNKRT 499
Urdu: URDU 101, URDU 102, URDU 103, URDU 201, URDU 202, URDU 203, URDU 301, URDU 302, URDU 303, URDU 321, URDU 322, URDU 323, URDU 324, URDU 421, URDU 422, URDU 423, URDU 424, URDU 499 
  1. Literature (5 credits): one South Asian literature course chosen from the following list of approved courses.
List of Approved Courses for II. South Asian Literature
S ASIA 203 Love and War in Classical Indian Literature
S ASIA 206 Modern Literature of South Asia
S ASIA 225 Indian Philosophical Literature
S ASIA 254 Fairies, Genies, and Monsters: The Romance Genre in India
ASIAN 210 Asian War Epics: Working through Many Mahabharatas
ASIAN 223 Buddhist Literature
ASIAN 301 Songs of the Saints of India
S ASIA 316 Postcolonial Literature of South Asia
JSIS A 461/ASIAN 494 Ramayana in Comparative Perspective
  1. 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.
List of Approved Courses for III. Area-Related Humanities & Social Science Courses
S ASIA 498 Special Topics in Languages and Cultures of South Asia
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
courses include: 

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