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Festive image of Ganesh, the elephant-headed Hindu god of wisdom and learning

Department of Indian Subcontinental Studies

The gateway to Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism
We teach Sanskrit and explore its profound role in shaping the intellectual, literary, religious and artistic traditions of South Asian and Asian civilisations.

We offer studies in Sanskrit as well as non-language areas that explore traditional and modern cultures and religions, especially Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism. We also investigate the history, literature, politics and social structures of South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan) as well as Tibet and Central Asia. 

Our study offerings

Through the study of Sanskrit language, the most important classical language of the Indian subcontinent, you can explore the various intellectual, literary and artistic traditions that have shaped South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan), Central Asia, Southeast Asia and Tibet and played a profound role in forming Asia as a whole.  


*Available in the shared pool of majors and minors

Our research

Our research areas include: 

  • The religious traditions of South Asia
  • Indian religion as manifest in other parts of Asia, particularly Buddhism in Central Asia, East Asia, and Southeast Asia
  • Method in the study of Indian and Buddhist thought
  • Early Buddhist literature, particularly of the ‘mainstream’ schools as preserved in Pali, Gandhari, Prakrit, Buddhist Sanskrit and Chinese
  • Recent discoveries of Buddhist manuscripts from Afghanistan and Pakistan
  • Buddhism in South and Southeast Asia, with a special interest in ancient Gandhara
  • Buddhist Sanskrit and the Middle Indo-Aryan languages, particularly Pali and Gandhari.

Our people


See our school's calendar for a full listing of upcoming events.

Department Chair


  • School of Languages and Cultures, Room 506, Brennan MacCallum Building A18, The University of Sydney NSW 2006

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