MPhil in Modern South Asian Studies

Why study for the MPhil in Modern South Asian Studies at Cambridge?

Because The Complete University Guide has ranked the Centre of South Asian Studies at the top of the list of Universities and Centres across Britain (in South and South-East Asian Studies) for the ninth year running.  Our Centre has at its heart a brilliant library and archive to which our students have 24-hour access.  The friendly team of staff, 3 of whom have clocked up over 60 years at the Centre between them, are here to help you – you will soon feel like one of the Centre family.

Apply now for 2018-19!  

The MPhil in Modern South Asian Studies is a postgraduate course with a substantial research component, which runs for nine months covering the three terms (Michaelmas, Lent and Easter) and part of the summer research period of the Cambridge Academical Year. If you wish to enhance your understanding of the social, cultural, political and economic history and present condition of South Asia to prepare yourself for a variety of careers, or if you want to go on to pursue further research, this is the course for you. It provides intensive research and language training and research methods for those who wish to go on to prepare a doctoral dissertation, but it is also a freestanding postgraduate degree course in its own right. The MPhil is associated for examination purposes with the Faculty of Human, Social and Political Sciences, but teaching and learning for the course take place in the Centre of South Asian Studies and is provided by scholars in various faculties and departments of humanities and social science across Cambridge.

The course covers South Asia from the early modem period to the present. The areas studied cover the modern states of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal.

The MPhil aims to introduce you to the latest research topics, methods and debates in South Asian studies at an advanced level. It provides training in the use of printed, manuscript and other sources relevant to South Asian studies. It provides essential language training in Hindi and Urdu. The Centre’s Librarian and Archivist will provide training in the advanced use of library and archival facilities and the appropriate use of electronic databases for the location, identification and evaluation of source materials. The course provides a structured introduction to key debates in South Asian history, development economics, politics and sociology through a variety of intensive courses. Finally, it offers close supervision in undertaking an original research project. Although this is an inter-disciplinary course, the degree is conferred by the Faculty of Human, Social and Political Sciences.

Assessment: the core course is assessed by means of a written essay of no more than 3,000 words (worth 12% of the final mark) and a book review of no more than 2,000 words (worth 8% of the final mark), both to be submitted on the first day of the Lent Full Term.  The optional course is assessed by means of an essay of no more than 5,000 words (worth 15% of the final mark) to be submitted on the first day of the Easter Full Term.  The language course is examined by means of one three-hour unseen written examination and a one-hour oral examination, taken during the May/June examination period (worth 15% of the final mark).  The dissertation must be between 15,000 and 20,000 words in length.  It counts for 50% of the final mark and must be submitted towards the end of the Easter Term.  If the examiners consider it necessary, they may conduct an oral examination on the MPhil essays or dissertation.

Click here for information about how to apply  Further information about the course can be found in the course handbook for current students, also available at the foot of this page. The timetable of the classes for the course is available from the ‘Lecture list’ .

Average class size: 12

What our students said about the MPhil in 2016-17:

‘This is the fourth academic department of which I have been a member, and it is much the best! It is very friendly, and there is a genuine sense of enthusiasm and love for the study of South Asia.  Various departmental events and seminars also add a great deal to the departmental life.’

”The language course was excellent.  The right amount of contact hours, and Mr Kumar is an outstanding teacher.’

The core course introduced a wide range of topics and readings on the history, culture and politics in South Asia.  There was a balanced mix of lectures and presentations in class – it enabled students to better their public speaking skills while critically engaging with the readings.’

‘The Centre has been a home this year and it is exactly the space needed to make work happen in such a short time.’



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