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Sanskrit Studies at Harvard

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Posted

Anyone have/know of anyone who has experience with the Sanskrit and Indian Studies (henceforth to be called the South Asian Studies) graduate programs at Harvard? From the information on their website, it seems they have both a PhD program, and an AM program. However, the wording of the blurb regarding the latter is a bit ambiguous. It reads:

"Students who would like to strengthen their background in South Asian Studies might also apply for a one-year A.M. program. In some cases, a particularly promising student without some of the qualifications for doctoral study will be admitted to a one year A.M. program. [Applicants should be aware that there is almost no funding available for A.M. candidates.]"

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It's unclear whether admittance to the program is a rare, or regularly occurring, situation. It's the phrase "in some cases," that introduces some confusion.I know that a lot of potential and current grad students turn their noses down, at worst, or remain suspicious of, at best, at unfunded Master's programs. Unfortunately, however, my undergrad institution didn't conduct courses in Sanskrit, so my education in the language is completely autodidactic. Due to this fact, I feel it would be near impossible to be able to compete with students from the handful of universities in the country that do teach Sanskrit for the few spots available in PhD programs. To compound the problem, there's a paucity of universities offering MA-level instruction in Sanskrit, and those that do are heavy-hitters: places like Harvard, Cornell, Chicago, Penn, etc. While it might be presumptuous to imagine oneself studying a subject they taught themselves at a graduate level at an ivy institution, I refuse to accept that I'll be kept out of a field that I'm obviously very passionate about simply because my undergrad university wasn't in the short list of schools that teach the language.

To summarize: Does anyone know how anything about the Harvard AM in South Asian Studies, formerly Sanskrit and Indian Studies? For example, how many students are admitted each year, what kind of credentials they are expect to have, etc. I have contacted the department but have yet to hear back from them, so while I wait, I decided I'd like to see if any of the good people at this forum could help--thanks!

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Posted

I have contacted the department but have yet to hear back from them, so while I wait, I decided I'd like to see if any of the good people at this forum could help--thanks!

sorry, can't help much. but one suggestion from me: also contact current grad students in the department. many departments don't release the numbers you are seeking (for whatever reasons). however current students in the program will/should. i would, if some prospective student were to ask me about my program.

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