Undergraduate Programs

The University of Chicago has a long-established Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations (SALC) that offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in South Asian language and area studies. Language courses offered by the Department include Bangla (Bengali), Hindi, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Tibetan, Pali, Sanskrit and Urdu.

Undergraduate students may choose to pursue a major or a minor in South Asian Languages and Civilizations (SALC). The Department is a member of the Humanities Division; however, the social sciences and religious studies are well-integrated into the Department’s South Asian Civilizations course program, with courses which are cross-listed in the Social Sciences Division and Divinity School.

Department faculty members work with members of the Committee on Southern Asian Studies to coordinate the South Asian Civilizations course, which is offered both on campus and in India through the College’s study abroad Program in India. The course may be taken by undergraduates to fulfill the College’s Civilizations requirement. In recent years, an average of 25 undergraduate students per year have taken the course through participation in the study abroad program in India.

Although the University does not have a similar department for the study of Southeast Asian languages and civilizations, in recent years an increasingly larger number of faculty members have focused on the study Southeast Asia in their research and teaching. In response to increased interest in the study of the region, the Committee on Southern Asia Studies instituted a Southeast Asian Studies Group in 2007 to support research and teaching in this area.

Prospective students may consult the Committee on Southern Asian Studies faculty directory for a listing of faculty members whose research and teaching focus upon, or intersect, the study of South and Southeast Asia as regions.

Listings of all courses offered in recent years can be found in the University’s Time Schedules. Undergraduate courses are generally listed as 2000–3000 level courses, with a selection of upper level courses open to undergraduates with consent of the instructor.

Prospective undergraduate students should contact the University’s College Admissions Office for general information regarding the admissions application process and general requirements of the University of Chicago’s College. They may also contact Irving Birkner, the Associate Director of the Committee and Center for information regarding programs focused on the study of South and Southeast Asian studies at the University of Chicago.