University of Sydney Handbooks - 2021 Archive

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About the minor

The study of the Sanskrit language, the most important classical language of the Indian subcontinent, is the gateway for exploring the various intellectual, literary and artistic traditions - associated especially with Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism - that have shaped South Asian civilisation, and which have played a profound role in forming Asia as a whole. The Sanskrit minor is designed to foster a sophisticated grasp of developments in religion, literature and philosophy throughout South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan), Central Asia, South East Asia and Tibet, as well as an understanding of the broader social and historical contexts in which these developments took place.

On completion of the minor, you will find yourself well placed to adopt a critical yet self-aware and balanced ‘big-picture’ perspective upon South Asian society and culture (and more broadly, Asian society and culture). Your background in seeing South Asian civilisation as a whole by way of your exposure to formative Sanskrit texts such as the Mahābhārata, Rāmāyaṇa and Bhagavad Gītā, will enable you to see beyond stereotypes and media hype in forming sophisticated and insightful responses to critical issues in both ancient and contemporary South Asia, such as, caste, inter-religious tension, dowry and arranged marriages.

Students are encouraged to further deepen their understanding of Indian religion, philosophy, history, literature, art and culture through taking units with Indian and Buddhist content offered in the Asian Studies program.

Requirements for completion

The Sanskrit minor requirements are listed in the Sanskrit unit of study table. Students currently undertake third year units by cross-institutional study via ANU flexible delivery (please contact the Department for further details).

Learning outcomes
No. Learning outcome
1 Demonstrate a capacity to read and analyse a range of Sanskrit texts in the Devanagari script and demonstrate a sound knowledge of the grammar and stylistic features of the Sanskrit language and literature.
2 Demonstrate a sound knowledge of Sanskrit literature, its production, circulation and impact both within South Asia and other Asian societies.
3 Demonstrate a familiarity with grammatical concepts and terminology commonly used in indigenous discourse and contemporary scholarship to discuss the Sanskrit language.
4 Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of modern approaches to the study of Sanskrit language and literature.
5 Demonstrate awareness of wider issues and developments in the field and an ability to provide a critical appraisal of these developments.
6 Demonstrate an ability to engage in independent research, critical analysis and cross-cultural dialogue.
7 Apply appropriate professional and ethical standards to academic research and inquiry in Sanskrit Studies.
Contacts and further information

More information and current contact details for academic coordinators can be found at: