The South Asian Studies named option offers a multidisciplinary range of courses that explore the diverse and vibrant cultures, arts, histories, political systems, and literatures of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Tibet. Students in the South Asian option can study Hindi, Persian, Sanskrit, Tibetan, or Urdu language; and probe the roots of Yoga; methods of Buddhist philosophy and meditation; South Asian religion and politics in the past and present of the Indian subcontinent; and medical history in South Asia. ALC faculty and instructors offering courses in this option include F. Asif, G. Bühnemann, S. Beckham, A. Cerulli, S. Farsiu, J. Dunne, J. Khedup, N. Tiwari.

To take advantage of the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures’ many relationships with other departments and program units across campus, students may choose to double major or enhance their studies in ALC with one of the certificates offered at the university, such as the global health certificate, the certificate in health and the humanities, or those offered by the area studies centers: Center for East Asian Studies; Center for South Asia; and Center for Southeast Asian Studies.

This major is interdisciplinary and offers a wealth of options. Careful planning and consultation with the ALC advisor is especially important.

Requirements for the South Asian Studies option

32 credits to include the Introductory and Residence and Quality of Work requirements of the general major, plus these requirements specific to the South Asian Option: 

Gateway Course

Required Course:
ASIAN 100 Gateway to Asia: Special Topics3-4

Required Language Courses

Complete Second Year South Asian Language Courses:
Third Semester Hindi
and Fourth Semester Hindi
Third Semester Persian
and Fourth Semester Persian
Third Semester Modern Tibetan
and Fourth Semester Modern Tibetan
Third Semester Urdu
and Fourth Semester Urdu
Third Semester Sanskrit
and Fourth Semester Sanskrit

South Asian Studies Courses

Complete 6 classes from the following course options (at least 16 credits):
ASIAN/​RELIG ST  206 The Qur'an: Religious Scripture & Literature3
ASIAN/​RELIG ST  218 Health and Healing in South Asia3-4
ASIAN/​RELIG ST  236 Asia Enchanted: Ghosts, Gods, and Monsters3
ASIAN 252 Contemporary Indian Society3
ASIAN/​HISTORY/​RELIG ST  267 Asian Religions in Global Perspective3-4
ASIAN 268 Tibetan Cultures and Traditions3
ASIAN/​RELIG ST  274 Religion in South Asia3
ASIAN/​RELIG ST  306 Hinduism3
ASIAN/​RELIG ST  307 A Survey of Tibetan Buddhism3
ASIAN/​HISTORY/​RELIG ST  308 Introduction to Buddhism3-4
ASIAN 311 Modern Indian Literatures3
ASIAN/​AFRICAN/​RELIG ST  370 Islam: Religion and Culture3-4
ASIAN/​ART HIST  379 Cities of Asia3
ASIAN/​RELIG ST  405 Gods and Goddesses of South Asia3
ASIAN/​ART HIST  428 Visual Cultures of India3
ASIAN/​RELIG ST  430 Indian Traditions in the Modern Age3
ASIAN/​COM ARTS  443 Indian Cinema in the U.S. and Beyond3
ASIAN/​RELIG ST  444 Introduction to Sufism (Islamic Mysticism)3
ASIAN/​RELIG ST  460 The History of Yoga3
ASIAN/​HISTORY  463 Topics in South Asian History3
ASIAN/​RELIG ST  466 Buddhist Thought3
ASIAN/​RELIG ST  473 Meditation in Indian Buddhism and Hinduism3
ASIAN/​ENGL  478 Indian Writers Abroad: Literature, Diaspora and Globalization3
ASIALANG 333 Fifth Semester Hindi3-4
ASIALANG 334 Sixth Semester Hindi3-4
ASIALANG 335 Fifth Semester Tibetan4
ASIALANG 336 Sixth Semester Tibetan4
ASIALANG 337 Fifth Semester Persian3-4
ASIALANG 338 Sixth Semester Persian3-4
ASIALANG 339 Fifth Semester Urdu3-4
ASIALANG 340 Sixth Semester Urdu3-4
ASIALANG 653 Advanced Readings in Hindi Language3
ASIALANG 675 Advanced Readings in Sanskrit3
ASIALANG 677 Advanced Readings in Tibetan3
ART HIST 305 History of Islamic Art and Architecture3
ART HIST/​RELIG ST  373 Great Cities of Islam3
ENGL/​ASIAN  478 Indian Writers Abroad: Literature, Diaspora and Globalization3
ENGL/​THEATRE  577 Postcolonial Theatre: Drama, Theory and Performance in the Global South3
HISTORY 142 History of South Asia to the Present3-4
HISTORY/​GNS  265 An Introduction to Central Asia: From the Silk Route to Afghanistan3
HISTORY 450 Making of Modern South Asia3-4
POLI SCI 370 Islam and Politics3-4

Capstone Course

Complete one course (at least 3 credits):
ASIAN/​RELIG ST  505 The Perfectible Body in Religions, Medicines, and Politics3
ASIAN 600 Capstone Seminar in Asian Humanities3
ASIAN/​ART HIST  621 Mapping, Making, and Representing Colonial Spaces3
ASIAN 630 Proseminar: Studies in Cultures of Asia3
ASIAN/​RELIG ST  650 Proseminar in Buddhist Thought2-3
ASIAN 655 Ethnography in Asia3
ASIAN 682 Senior Honors Thesis (must be enrolled in Honors in the Major)3
ASIAN 692 Senior Thesis (must have permission from faculty)3
ASIAN 699 Directed Study (must have permission from faculty)2-3

Four-Year Plan

This Four-Year Plan is only one way a student may complete an L&S degree with this major. Many factors can affect student degree planning, including placement scores, credit for transferred courses, credits earned by examination, and individual scholarly interests. In addition, many students have commitments (e.g., athletics, honors, research, student organizations, study abroad, work and volunteer experiences) that necessitate they adjust their plans accordingly. Informed students engage in their own unique Wisconsin Experience by consulting their academic advisors, Guide, DARS, and Course Search & Enroll for assistance making and adjusting their plan.

First Year
Communication A4Intermediate/Advanced COMP SCI, MATH, or STAT (if BS) or Electives (Intermediate/Advanced level)4
South Asian Language Course4Science Breadth4
ASIAN 100 (Required Introductory Course)3Ethnic Studies Course3
INTER-LS 1451South Asian Language Course4
South Asian Studies Elective3 
 15 15
Second Year
Intermediate/Advanced COMP SCI, MATH, or STAT (if BS) or Electives (Intermediate/Advanced level)4Science Breadth4
Science Breadth3South Asian Language Course4
South Asian Language Course4Communication B3
ASIAN 252 (South Asian Studies Elective)3ASIAN/​RELIG ST  306 (South Asian Studies Course)3
 15 15
Third Year
Science Breadth3INTER-LS 2153
Social Science Breadth3Elective (Intermediate/Advanced level)4
Literature Breadth3South Asian Studies Elective3
South Asian Studies Elective3Literature Breadth3
Elective (Intermediate/Advanced level)3ASIAN 699 (Optional, may be required for Honors in the Major)3
 15 16
Fourth Year
South Asian Advanced Language (optional)3ASIAN 682 or 692 (Optional, or may be required for Honors in the Major)3
South Asian Studies Elective3Electives (Intermediate/Advanced level)8
Electives (Intermediate/Advanced level)6South Asian Studies Elective3
ASIAN 681 or 691 (Optional, may be required for Honors in the Major)3 
 15 14
Total Credits 120