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South Asian Languages and Civilizations


  • Bangla (Bengali)
  • Hindi
  • Malayalam
  • Marathi
  • Pali
  • Sanskrit
  • Tamil
  • Telugu
  • Tibetan
  • Urdu

From reinterpretations of the Ramayana to explorations of diasporic film, from fresh insights into sufi and bhakti poetry to inquiries into the origins of literary traditions, University of Chicago scholars are at the forefront of research and scholarship on South Asia. In addition to working with these scholars and having access to one of the world’s leading private South Asian libraries, students can take part in a quarter-long study program in Pune, India.

The student majoring in South Asian Languages and Civilizations (SALC) will gain a broad knowledge of the literature and history of the South Asian subcontinent (i.e., Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka), and proficiency in at least one South Asian language that is equivalent to two years of study or greater. Students currently may study Bangla (Bengali), Hindi, Malayalam, Marathi, Pali, Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu, Tibetan, or Urdu. As part of their course of study, students are encouraged to participate in a study abroad program in South Asia such as the South Asian Civilization in India sequence (Pune program). The SALC curriculum will develop the student’s skills in formulating analyses of various types of texts (i.e., historical, literary, filmic); the student will also engage with social scientific approaches to South Asian cultures. The thorough area knowledge of South Asian arts, culture, history, and politics, and the critical and linguistic skills developed through the SALC degree, may prepare a student for any number of careers.

Students in other fields of study may also complete a minor in South Asian Languages and Civilizations.