University of Oxford India

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University of Oxford India

University of Oxford India

The University of Oxford has longstanding connections with India, dating to 1579, when Father Thomas Stephens, from New College, was the first recorded Englishman to visit India. Ties have strengthened through time, with the creation of the Boden Chair in Sanskrit in 1832 and the arrival of Oxford’s first Indian students in 1871. The Indian branch of Oxford University Press, established in 1912, has a proud tradition of publishing its own distinguished scholarly list.

Today, Oxford University is a thriving location for the study of India. We have started a new postgraduate degree in Modern South Asian Studies, including language studies, and the new MSc in Contemporary India welcomed its first intake of students in 2008. Elsewhere, Oxford scientists are connecting with their Indian counterparts through unique networks in physics, cancer research and other fields.

Oxford University is a thriving and leading centre for the study of India. There are a number of India-focused courses offered by the University, both at undergraduate and graduate level.


Undergraduate students taking Philosophy, Politics and Economics can choose to study an option in the Politics of South Asia with a strong focus on Indian politics.

Students undertaking the MPhil degree in Modern South Asian Studies can choose to focus on the study of India, including intensive language studies in one of the major languages spoken in ancient or contemporary India including Hindi, Bengali, Sanskrit, Urdu, and Nepali.

The MSc in Contemporary India, launched in 2008, immerses graduate students in the study of India’s signal achievements and its persistent challenges, at the same time as equipping them to conduct rigorous social science analysis. It is the first degree of its kind anywhere in the world.

The Faculty of Oriental Studies also offers a two-year MPhil in Classical Indian Religions.


Oxford is home to more than eighty academics with a South Asia focus, the vast majority specialising in the study of India. Oxford academics study all aspects of India, including its history, language, literature, religions, economy, politics, society and public health. A new generation of postdoctoral scholars are broadening the range of research interests in India, with recent projects on microfinance; energy technology; food distribution; and dalit business among others.

Libraries and Museums

Bodleian Library

Oxford University has an unrivalled collection of material on India. The Bodleian Indian Institute Library holds over 100,000 volumes in Indian and European languages and one of the world’s most important collections of Sanskrit manuscripts, the largest outside India itself.

The Bodleian Law Library has extensive holdings related to law in India. The Oriental Institute Library, the History Faculty Library, and Queen Elizabeth House Library also hold important collections of South Asian materials.

Ashmolean Museum

The Indian collections of the Ashmolean Museum are also of international importance. Displayed in three galleries, visitors can see objects and works of art from the first flowering of the Indus Valley Civilisation (2500BC) up to the paintings of the late Mughal Empire from the end of the nineteenth century.