Master of Philosophy in Modern South Asian Studies

  • 1. The course shall be under the supervision of the Modern South Asian Studies Teaching Committee. The Course Director(s) will, where possible, rotate between members of the Faculty of Oriental Studies and the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies.

  • 2. Each candidate will be required to follow a course of instruction in Modern South Asian Studies for six terms. Candidates may specialise in Contemporary India by selecting combinations of courses and options as set out in the Course Handbook.

  • First year examinations

  • 3. During the first year, candidates for the MPhil complete the following:

    • (a) Core Course in Modern South Asian Studies

    • The course will be assessed by two take-home 5,000 word maximum essays. The first essay will be issued on Friday of Week 8 of Michaelmas Term and should be submitted by 12 noon on Monday of Week 1 of Hilary Term, and the second essay will be issued on Friday of Week 8 of Hilary Term and should be submitted by 12 noon on Monday of Week 1 of Trinity Term.

    • (b) Research Methods

    • All candidates will submit a 2,500 word maximum ‘What is South Asia?’ essay by 12 noon on Monday of Week 5 of Michaelmas Term, and a 2,500 word maximum individual research proposal by 12 noon Monday of Week 9 of Hilary Term.

    • In addition, candidates will complete one of the following three courses in Research Methods:

      • (i) Research Methods for Area Studies: Candidates will submit a 2,500 word maximum practical exercise in the collection and analysis of qualitative data by 12 noon on Monday of Week 9 of Michaelmas Term; and a take-home test in quantitative analysis to be set on Monday of Week 8 and submitted by 12 noon on Monday of Week 9 of Hilary Term.

      • (ii) Qualitative and Historical Methods: Candidates will submit a 2,500 word maximum practical exercise in the collection and analysis of qualitative data by 12 noon on Monday of Week 9 of Michaelmas Term; and a 2,500 word essay on Historical Methods to be set by Monday of Week 5 of Hilary Term and submitted by 12 noon on Monday of Week 9 of Hilary Term.

      • (iii) Qualitative Methods, Literature and Language: Candidates will submit a 2,500 word maximum practical exercise in the collection and analysis of qualitative data by 12 noon on Monday of Week 9 of Michaelmas Term; and a 2,500 word essay on Literature and Language to be set by Monday of Week 5 of Hilary Term and submitted by 12 noon on Monday of Week 9 of Hilary Term.

    • (c) either a language or non-language track:

      • (i) Language track

      • Candidates will complete an intensive language course in Hindi or a substitute core language as specified in the Course Handbook (teaching for some languages may not be available every year), based on knowledge of grammar, translation and reading comprehension to be assessed by a three-hour written examination at the end of Trinity term of the first year. 

      • Candidates will also be required to satisfy the examiners in one option paper from a list approved by the Modern South Asian Studies Teaching Committee to be assessed by one three-hour written examination in Trinity Term. This list will be published by the Course Director(s) in the Course Handbook at the beginning of each academic year. The availability of options in any one year will depend on teaching resources and the level of student interest. Students should select this paper in consultation with their supervisor. With special permission of the Modern South Asian Studies Teaching Committee, candidates may choose a paper offered by another relevant Master’s degree in the University, subject also to permission by the relevant Graduate Studies Committee. Candidates will take the standard assessment for such options.

      • (ii) Non-language track

      • Candidates will choose three option papers from a list approved by the Modern South Asian Studies Teaching Committee each of which will be assessed by one three-hour written examination in Trinity Term. This list will be published by the Course Director(s) in the Course Handbook at the beginning of each academic year. The availability of options in any one year will depend on teaching resources and the level of student interest. Students should select three of these papers in consultation with their supervisor. Native speakers or advanced learners may substitute one option paper with an appropriate advanced language option (further details are provided in the Course Handbook). With special permission of the Modern South Asian Studies Teaching Committee, candidates may choose papers offered by other relevant Master’s degrees in the University, subject also to permission by the relevant Graduate Studies Committee. Candidates will take the standard assessment for such options.

  • 4. Two printed copies of each of the items of written work detailed above and, in addition, an electronic copy in PDF format on a memory stick or CD, must be delivered to the Examination Schools, addressed to the Chair of Examiners for the MPhil Modern South Asian Studies, c/o the Examination Schools, High Street, Oxford at the times and days specified for each paper. Each submission must be accompanied by a declaration indicating it is the candidate’s own work.

  • 5. To be permitted to progress to the second year of the MPhil course all candidates must pass the two core course essays, the research methods course overall, and for students following the language track, the language examination. A candidate who fails the research methods course overall will be permitted to re-submit a new submission for the failed piece(s) of work within four weeks of publication of the failed mark, on a date specified by the Chair of Examiners.  A candidate who fails either of the core course essays or the language examination paper will be permitted to re-submit the essay(s) or re-sit the paper on one further occasion, normally at the beginning of the September preceding the second year.

  • A candidate who fails any of the option papers will be permitted to re-sit the paper(s) on one further occasion when next examined. If a student fails more than one option paper they will be required to resit and pass all failed option papers before proceeding to the second year of the MPhil course.

  • 6. Students wishing to transfer from the MPhil Modern South Asian Studies (non-language track) to the MSc in Modern South Asian Studies must normally apply to the Course Director(s) by 12 noon of Monday of week 4 of Hilary Term.  It is not possible to transfer from the MPhil Modern South Asian Studies (language track) to the MSc.

  • Final year examinations

  • 7. Candidates will complete a course in Advanced Research Methods. 

  • 8. Candidates will be required to present themselves for examination as specified for either the language or non-language track.

    • (a) Language track:

      • (i) Candidates will complete the intensive language course commenced in the first year progressing to an advanced level, in Hindi or a substitute core language as specified in the Course Handbook (teaching for some languages may not be available every year), based on knowledge of grammar, translation, reading comprehension and literary context, to be assessed by a three-hour written examination at the end of Trinity Term.

      • (ii) Candidates will choose one option paper from a list approved by the Modern South Asian Studies Teaching Committee which will be assessed by one three-hour written examination in Trinity Term. This list will be published by the Course Director(s) in the Course Handbook at the beginning of each academic year.

    • (b) Non-language track:

      • (i) Candidates will choose two option papers from a list approved by the Modern South Asian Studies Teaching Committee each of which will be assessed by one three-hour written examinations in Trinity Term. This list will be published by the Course Director(s) in the Course Handbook at the beginning of each academic year.

  • 9. The availability of options in any one year will depend on teaching resources and the level of student interest. Students should select a paper in consultation with their supervisor. With special permission of the Modern South Asian Studies Teaching Committee, candidates may choose a paper offered by other relevant Master’s degrees in the University, subject also to permission by the relevant Graduate Studies Committee. Candidates will take the standard assessment for such an option.

  • 10. Candidates will complete a 30,000 word maximum thesis (full details of what is included in the word count are provided in the Course Handbook). The title of the thesis must be approved by the Course Director(s) by 12 noon on Monday of Week 3 of Michaelmas Term in the academic year in which the examination is taken. The thesis must be submitted by 12 noon on Monday of Week 4 in Trinity Term. The thesis must be accompanied by a statement that the thesis is the candidate’s own work except where otherwise indicated.

  • 11. Two printed copies of each of the items of written work detailed above and, in addition, an electronic copy in PDF format on a memory stick or CD, must be delivered to the Examination Schools, addressed to the Chair of Examiners for the MPhil in Modern South Asian Studies, c/o the Examination Schools, High Street, Oxford at the times and days specified for each paper.  Each submission must be accompanied by a declaration it is the candidate’s own work. Successful candidates may be required to deposit a hard copy of the thesis in the Bodleian Library.

  • 12. Candidates may be required to attend an oral examination on any part of the examination.

  • 13. The examiners may award a distinction for excellence in the whole examination.

  • 14. A candidate who fails either any of the written examination papers or the thesis will be permitted to re-sit/re-submit on one further occasion when next examined.