Dear Colleagues,

The University of Virginia has a B.A. in Language and Literature (Sanskrit), with heavy Sanskrit requirements but also with a structure that is similar to other US American B.A. degrees.  See:

Note also, the fact that the Oxford B.A. requires a paper in classical Indian literature, history, and culture, also a general paper in the preliminary exams, narrows the difference at least somewhat between the British and American B.A. in Sanskrit.


From: INDOLOGY <> on behalf of Donald R Davis via INDOLOGY <>
Sent: Thursday, June 24, 2021 10:57 PM
To: Dominik Wujastyk <>
Cc: Indology <>
Subject: Re: [INDOLOGY] Where can you do a BA in Sanskrit?
Dear Dominik,

You’re right. Our major, like all UT majors and I suspect all US BA degrees, will involve a lot of other requirements in some kind of core or general education category. Even a language major like Sanskrit will require other coursework for historical and cultural context and knowledge. So, in all language majors, roughly 2/3 of the coursework will be in the language itself (the first two years are hidden as part of core requirements in ours), plus about 1/3 of related courses in South Asian religion, history, philosophy, etc. 

I completed a “concentration” in Sanskrit and Indian Studies from Harvard, but I believe that major is now gone. Even that required several non-Sanskrit courses. It’s been the pattern in the US for a long time, I think. For what it’s worth, I endorse the general humanities degree with high Sanskrit, etc. content at the undergraduate level.

Best, Don 

On Jun 24, 2021, at 9:44 PM, Dominik Wujastyk via INDOLOGY <> wrote:

What about 

l’histoire de la société, des philosophies et des religions indiennes, ou encore l’histoire de la con­nais­sance de l’Inde.

Those would not be courses involving reading Sanskrit as such, would they?  They would be in French, about India?

Similarly at UT Austin, it looks like students have to take lots of courses called,

Asian Studies related to South Asia

Again, that wouldn't be actual reading of Sanskrit texts, would it?  And there appear to be a lot of courses under "Core" that are not Sanskrit. (US History; Social and Behavioural Science, etc.).  Presumably students take a few of these?  So it's a general humanities degree with a high Sanskrit content.  Would that be right, or am I misunderstanding?

I was thinking about a degree that focussed on Sanskrit language and literature, not a course where Sanskrit was a component (even a large component).  I'm thinking of the Oxford BA, or the BA at SOAS, when it existed, in the days when it was taught by Mr J. E. B. Gray with his legendary cyclostyled, typewritten, four-year course.  Or the courses taught at German universities in the days of the old MA system.


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