Bachelor of Arts Degree

Program Description - South Asia option

The South Asia concentration of the Asian Studies degree offers students a framework within which to carry out the interdisciplinary study of the peoples and nations of the South Asian subcontinent-India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Afghanistan, and Bhutan. The curriculum combines rigorous training in one or more South Asian languages with study of various aspects of modern and classical South Asian civilizations. The University has a distinguished faculty of scholars who provide instruction in diverse areas of South Asian studies, offering a rich variety of courses on these topics.

 The South Asia concentration draws on the notable strength the program has in classical South Asian languages, literatures, and religions, especially Hinduism and Buddhism. Several of the South Asia faculty teach courses in Comparative Religion. Areas of expertise include the religious literatures of northern India in the late middle ages, and South Asian Buddhism. A related strength of the program is in the area of musical arts of South Asia. For example, members of the ethnomusicology faculty provide courses on the music and culture of India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. They also sponsor regular instruction and performances by distinguished visiting artists, many of whom come to the campus to provide instruction in the musical and performance traditions of South Asia.

The second focus of the concentration is in modern and contemporary South Asia. Topics covered include international development, public affairs, architecture, law, business, women and gender studies, environmental protection and nature conservation, health and demography, communications, dalit studies and postcolonial literatures. For instance among these faculty are experts teaching courses on international feminism, cultural aspects of international development, social ecology of the tropics, South Asian architecture, media and communications, international relations and human rights, education and youth cultures, contemporary political changes and government. Faculty with research and teaching interests in South Asia work in departments or interdisciplinary programs including Anthropology, Architecture, Business, Comparative Religion, Communications, English, Ethnomusicology, Geography, History, International Studies, Law, Public Affairs, and Women Studies.

Languages of South Asia offered on a regular basis by the Department of Asian Languages and Literatures include Hindi, Bengali, Urdu and Sanskrit. There are special offerings of other major languages, such as Pali, Gujarati, Panjabi, and Nepali, as well as special fields such as sociolinguistics, Vedic literature, Bhakti literature, epigraphy, and Paninian grammar. Instruction is available both in English and, for advanced students, in the languages involved. South Asian Studies graduates have gone on to graduate programs in various academic disciplines, as well as careers in government service, journalism, teaching, research, international trade, and the travel industry.

-Priti Ramamurthy
Chair South Asian Studies

Admission to Major

Any undergraduate in good standing may declare Asian Studies (South Asia concentration) as a major. 

Degree Requirements
(for majors declaring Summer Quarter 2006 and after)


Students must complete the equivalent of two years of a South Asian language (30 credits at college level). 


A minimum grade of 2.0 in all courses counted toward the major is required, except for first- and second-year language courses, where grades must average at least 2.00. Thirty of the 35 credits required for the thematic/cross-regional and South Asia concentration courses must be taken in residence at the University of Washington.

Overlapping credits: A maximum of 15 credits that are used to fulfill minimum requirements of any other UW major can be counted in this major.

To see the requirements on a planning sheet, browse to our checklist below. 

A list of courses approved for the thematic/cross-regional and South Asia option electives and requirements is available in the Jackson School Office of Student Services in Thomson 111 and by following this link (click HERE)

Minor Requirements


30 credits, to include the following:

  1. HSTAS 202 or SISSA 200 (5 credits)

  2. One additional introductory Asian civilization course from SISA 209 (premodern Asia), SISA 210 (modern Asia), SISEA/HSTAS 212 (Korea), SISEA/HSTAS 241 (Japan), SISEA 242 (Japan), SISSE/HSTAS 221 (Southeast Asia), HSTAS 201 (India), 211 (China)--10 credits

  3. 15 credits of electives taken at the UW, chosen from the approved list*

  4. 5 additional credits in South Asian language beyond second-year level, or in upper-division transfer courses on South Asia, or in additional electives chosen from the approved list*

  5. Minimum grade of 2.0 required in each course applied toward the minor.

*For a list of approved electives, follow this link.


Library Facilities

Visit the Suzzallo Library South Asia Home Page: