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MPhil in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies by Research (South Asian Studies)

Course Description

This MPhil is by dissertation only. It aims to give students an opportunity to develop their analytical, research and writing skills in preparation for further academic research or as a way to complement and enrich their interest in the Indian religious and intellectual traditions. The dissertation-only format entails working closely with one supervisor throughout the year on a dissertation to be submitted in mid-August.

The dissertation will be on a subject approved by the Degree Committee, and has a word limit of 25,000, including footnotes and appendices but excluding bibliography. An oral examination on the thesis and on the general field in which it falls will be required.

We strongly encourage prospective applicants to discuss their particular interests with one of the potential supervisors before applying.

See the website http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/directory/amammpsar

Course detail

At the end of the MPhil programme, students will be expected to have:

- acquired the ability to read, interpret and translate primary sources in Sanskrit (and/or Pali/Prakrit);
- acquired a good knowledge of the general scholarship on pre-modern South Asian culture(s);
- acquired an in-depth knowledge of the secondary literature relevant to the subject of their dissertation;
- developed the ability to formulate original research questions and produce a well-constructed, argument to answer them, in the form of an independent piece of research based on the use of primary and secondary sources;
- acquired the skills to use library and internet resources independently.


Even though there are no taught courses, students taking the MPhil in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies by Research (South Asian Studies) may attend a weekly graduate seminar and other reading groups with PhD students and post-doctoral researchers, thus having an opportunity to interact with their peers and seniors in a supportive environment. They may also receive training in codicology, manuscriptology, and other skills. Where relevant, they are also encouraged to attend advanced undergraduate lectures and language courses. Students can also benefit from access to Hindi language literary sources under the guidance of the Faculty's Teaching Officer in Hindi.

All prospective MPhil applicants are advised to peruse the staff profiles on our website to familiarise themselves with the research and teaching interests of staff members. Applicants should contact prospective supervisors by email and discuss potential MPhil dissertation topics.


For the MPhil in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies by Research (South Asian Studies), students will submit a thesis of not more than 25,000 words, including footnotes and appendices but excluding bibliography on a subject approved by the Degree Committee. All MPhil dissertations must include a brief Abstract at the start of the dissertation of no more than 400 words.

Those students who take the MPhil by research will be required to take a viva examination.


Applicants for the PhD will be expected to have scored at least 67% or above (or the equivalent from an overseas University) in their Master's degree which should be related to the PhD programme they wish to pursue. All applicants should submit with their GRADSAF (graduate application) a workable and interesting research proposal and demonstrate that they have the required academic knowledge and skills to carry out their project.

Admission is at the discretion of the Degree Committee, which judges each graduate applicant on his or her own merits and in accordance with its own set rules and regulations.

How to apply: http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/applying

Funding Opportunities

- Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) -

NB: Applicants should check the Faculty's website before the academic year 2016 - 2017 is due to start to see if AHRC funding is available to apply for. Home PhD and MPhil students and EU students who satisfy home residency criteria may be eligible for a full studentship which covers the University Composition Fee and College Fees plus an annual maintenance stipend. EU students are eligible for a fees-only award.

Further information: http://www.cambridgestudents.cam.ac.uk/fees-and-funding/funding/ahrc-funded-students

- Rapson Scholarship in Indian and Iranian Studies -

Grants are offered for postgraduate research in Indian and Iranian Studies, but preference is given to applicants who use Sanskrit, Pali or Avestan sources for their research. The value of the scholarship will be determined by the Electors after taking account of any other financial resources available to the applicant. The maximum award is equivalent to University and College fees at the home/EU rate for up to three years. Both MPhil and PhD applicants will be considered for this scholarship.

Visit the MPhil in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies by Research (South Asian Studies) page on the University of Cambridge website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Applicants for this course should have achieved a UK High II.i Honours Degree. High 2:1 or a 1st at B.A. level from a UK university or equivalent. Evidence of a good knowledge of Sanskrit and at least two years of formal courses in Sanskrit or the equivalent will be expected. Find University Minimum Academic Requirements here View Website

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