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Postgraduate Study

Course closed:

Modern South Asian Studies is no longer accepting new applications.


Assessed coursework will consist of the core course (Introduction to Modern South Asia), taken by all students, and one option selected by each student from the range offered as part of the MPhil. The core course will centre around 14 two-hour, twice-weekly classes in the Michaelmas Term, at which participation is mandatory. Eight 1.5-hour weekly option course classes will be held throughout the Lent term. In addition, the language element of the course will run throughout the year with weekly classes in either Hindi or Urdu. There will also be a strong element of research training to include preparing for fieldwork, interviewing techniques and the use of archival material. Students will be expected to attend the Centre's weekly seminar programme held on Wednesdays during term.

One to one supervision

On average students will receive approximately 12 half-hours to one-hour supervisions during the course of the academic year.

The University of Cambridge publishes an annual Code of Practice which sets out the University’s expectations regarding supervision.

Seminars & classes

Fourteen two-hour twice-weekly sessions in the Michaelmas term (core course). Eight 1.5-hour sessions in Lent term (option course). Weekly CSAS South Asian Seminar and other optional weekly seminars throughout the University.  Two two-hour weekly language classes throughout the year.


No lectures, but the Centre's annual Kingsley Martin and South Asian Public Affairs Lectures and other lectures held throughout the year may be of interest.


Language teaching, both spoken and written, throughout the year usually in either Urdu or Hindi (subject to change due to resources) at levels to suit students' abilities.

Practical skills training is incorporated in the core course.

Small group teaching

The option course sessions are generally made up of groups of between two and 15 students. Weekly 1.5-hour classes during Lent term.

Literature Reviews

At the end of the Michaelmas term, students will be required to produce a 2,000-word review of a book of their choosing within the remit of the course.

Posters and Presentations

Dissertation presentation sessions at the end of the Michaelmas term give students the opportunity to present their dissertation plans and gain feedback from the course convenor and fellow students.


The ‘practice’ essay is single marked.  Students receive the mark and feedback in mini-tutorials by the end of the Michaelmas Term.

Core and option essays, the book review and dissertation are double marked and an average mark produced.  Students receive both mark sheets containing feedback.

Students meet regularly with their supervisors, the course convenor and others teaching on the course who are happy to provide comments on students' progress.

It is usual to hold two sessions in the late Michaelmas term or early Lent term to provide the chance for students to present their planned dissertation research to the rest of the group and receive their feedback.

During the first week of the Michaelmas term, students are invited to elect two student representatives who are invited to attend at the end of the termly Graduate Education Committee meetings to raise concerns and ask questions.

Supervisors write termly online graduate supervision reports, which are available to students.


Thesis / Dissertation

Between 15,000 and 20,000 words in length. A viva voce or oral examination would only be required for certain candidates who received a failing mark (or a confirmed marginal fail) or in other special circumstances (eg suspected plagiarism).


  • A compulsory 'practice' essay, 1,500-2,000 words, submitted in Michaelmas Term. This essay does not count towards the final mark.
  • Book review: 2,000 words
  • Core course essay: 3,000 words
  • Option course essay: 5,000 words

Written examination

Three-hour written language examination in either Hindi or Urdu.

Practical assessment

One-hour language oral examination in either Hindi or Urdu.

Key Information

9 months full-time

Study Mode : Taught

Master of Philosophy

Centre of South Asian Studies This course is advertised in multiple departments. Please see the Overview tab for more details.

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Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 4, 2023
Application deadline
Feb. 29, 2024
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2024

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Course Funding Deadline
Dec. 5, 2023
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 11, 2023

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2024, Lent 2025 and Easter 2025.

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