South Asian Studies


The diversity and shared histories of South Asia's cultures, religions, languages, and nations are an important area of engagement  in the world today. While India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and neighboring nation-states constitute a recognizable geographic region, the equally vital diasporic communities from South Asia and their globally dispersed networks extend our understanding of an old and yet changing South Asia. South Asian Studies is an interdisciplinary concentration in which students work in a specified chronological period (e.g. ancient, medieval, early modern, or contemporary), in a geographical area (e.g. Bangladesh, Bengal, Maharashtra, North India, Pakistan, South India), or in a particular discipline (e.g. anthropology, Hindi/Urdu, history, religion, or Sanskrit) but also take courses outside of their chosen area of emphasis in disciplines such as economics, literature, philosophy, political science, or theatre arts.

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Student Goals

Students in this concentration will:

  • Learn the histories and expressive cultures of South Asia
  • Design a curriculum focused on a chronological period, geographical area, or academic discipline relevant to South Asia
  • Demonstrate proficiency in Hindi, Urdu, or Sanskrit
  • Produce a significant piece of original research or creative work


Click here for a list of requirements.

Honors and Capstones

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All concentrators designate an upper-level course in the area of their primary focus as a capstone course, which is taken during the senior year. Each student produces a substantial paper or annotated translation displaying the unique focus of his or her concentration. Honors in the concentration requires a high B or A average in courses taken for the concentration as well as an Honors Thesis in the department of the student’s main focus. Candidates for the Honors Program should apply to the South Asia Faculty Committee by the middle of their sixth semester. Please visit the South Asian Studies website for complete information on the eligibility requirements for Honors.

Liberal Learning

This concentration allows you to address the following Liberal Learning goals:

  • Expand your reading skills
  • Collaborate fully
  • Understand differences among cultures
  • Embrace diversity
  • Engage with your community
  • Develop a facility with symbolic languages
  • Learn what it means to study the past
  • Evaluate human behavior
  • Work on your speaking and writing

Download the full statement on Liberal Learning at Brown

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Affiliated Departments


Director of Undergraduate Studies

Graduating Class

Year Total Capstone Honors

Alumni Pathways

South Asian Studies alumni have pursued work in non-governmental organizations like Greenpeace, Hellen Keller International, and the Clinton Foundation.

See more details on the CareerLAB website.

Dept. Undergraduate Group

Student Leaders:

  • Divya Mehta
  • Arundhati Ponnapa

If you are an advisor and would like to make changes to the information on this page, contact, or email Dean Besenia Rodriguez.