The Sanskrit Language Program at the University of Virginia is housed here in the Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures, and we work closely with colleagues in the Department of Religious Studies and the South Asia Center. Students at any level of their undergraduate or graduate career are encouraged to begin studying Sanskrit. In the first year, the emphasis is on grammar, vocabulary, reading, writing, speaking, and cultural background. The “second-year” courses are in a three-year sequence. One year we read from the Mahabharata in the fall and the Bhagavadgita in the spring. The next year it is the Ramayana in the fall and one of the older Upanisads in the spring. The next year it is the Kathasaritsagara in the fall and the Devi Mahatmya or some other Puranic text in the spring. After at least one year of “second-year” courses, a student may take any of the advanced courses as they become available. Those focus on plays and poetry, poetics, philosophy, the Indian grammatical tradition, and Vedic texts. Which of these courses is offered is often determined by student request. Beyond that, independent study is available for the most advanced students.


Sanskrit Faculty


Language Program Coordinator