Degree Programs: Full-Time/Part-Time: Free-Standing M.A.
The M.A. in South Asian Studies centers on the culturally diverse region composed of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Tibet, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. With the help of the program advisor, students design an individual program of study by selecting among the courses on South Asia offered by different departments at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences as well as, to a lesser extent, other schools at Columbia. Students specialize in one of four general areas: history (including art history); literature; religion and thought; or social science. The program concludes with a thesis on a limited topic within the student's area of concentration.
In addition to the requirements listed below, all students must submit one transcript showing courses and grades per school attended, a statement of academic purpose, and two letters of recommendation.
The statement of academic purpose allows the university to evaluate your ability to succeed academically and the reasons you wish to undertake the degree. It should describe your academic interests and plans for graduate study at Columbia; mention relevant coursework, professional experience or other activity; and explain clearly the relation of your studies to your plans upon receiving the M.A.
The writing sample should be 10-15 pages long, preferably a paper that you have written for a course pertaining to the general field of South Asian Studies. Alternatively, you may provide a focused essay written in an academic style that examines an article, book, exhibit or event relevant to your field of interest.
If you have recently received an academic degree or have recent academic experience, letters of recommendation from faculty are preferred. If you have not been enrolled in an academic program in recent years, professional recommendations are acceptable.
All international students whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate degree is from an institution in a country whose official language is not English must submit scores of the TOEFL or IELTS exams. For more information, refer to the Information for International Students page.
FLAS Fellowships are available for students entering in the fall. If you are applying for the FLAS Fellowship you must submit your admission application, including the FLAS essay by the fellowship application deadline.