School of Social and Political Science

PhD South Asian Studies

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The deadline to apply for September 2023 entry is Friday 30 June 2023.

We warmly invite candidates to apply for a PhD degree in South Asian Studies

PhD research in South Asian Studies at Edinburgh is managed from within the Graduate School of Social and Political Science, and brings together Sociology, Politics, Social Anthropology, Social Policy and Social Work.

For research in South Asian Studies, PhD and MSc supervisors can be from other subject areas, especially History, Religious Studies and Geography, although the principal supervisor should be based in the School of Social and Political Science.

The Centre for South Asian Studies at the University of Edinburgh is one of the UKs leading centres of excellence, which was ranked amongst the top three by the Complete University Guide for 2016 and is the largest such Centre outside London. For the social sciences, it offers a wider range of expertise than anywhere else in the UK and is a leader within Europe.

We look forward to seeing you in Edinburgh.

Programme overview

We are deeply committed to our students at all levels and to investigating the social world of South Asia cross-culturally as well as within Scotland and the UK generally. Our School hosts a large, vibrant, intellectually stimulating and international community of postgraduate students from the UK, Europe, the Nordic countries, North America, Asia and Africa. Our PhD researchers attached to the Centre work on a broad range of theoretical, methodological and substantive topics. 

Undertaken full-time over three years, or part-time over six years, the PhD in South Asian Studies is a research degree in which graduate students explore in depth a piece of theoretical, and/or methodological, and/or substantive research on a topic of their choice.

Supervisors and topics

You should identify and contact potential supervisors, on the basis of their fit and expertise with your proposed research, to advise you wish to study with them and that you are applying for scholarships. Securing agreement in principle of their supervision strengthens your application.

If you wish any further advice on this or other academic matters, please contact the postgraduate advisor.

PhD researchers in South Asian Studies are allocated a supervisor and a co-supervisor, who will advise on the entirety of the research process, from reading and assembling ideas, fieldwork, analysing empirical or theoretical materials, writing up chapters, completing the thesis, to the viva which rounds off the process.

There is a regular progress review to discuss ideas, review progress and provide help and support where necessary. The supervisors and the Postgraduate Advisor are there to facilitate the existence of a supportive framework and to promote an active and sustaining research culture for our PhD students.

All members of Edinburgh South Asian Studies are involved in PhD supervision and our staff research and teaching interests can be seen on the Centre for South Asian Studies page.

Postgraduate community

South Asian Studies' PhD programme attracts many applications each year for an intake of around five to ten. Along with other students studying South Asia within disciplinary programmes, we have a large, flourishing, intellectually lively and international community of PhD students and post-doctoral researchers. 

An engaging programme of events and seminars complements our postgraduate courses. Find out more on the Centre for South Asian Studies page.


Applying for this PhD

  1. Identify potential supervisors suited to your research interests
  2. Write a draft research proposal
  3. Contact the Postgraduate Advisor with your research proposal and list of potential supervisors
  4. Once discussed with the Postgraduate Advisor, formally submit your application on EUCLID

Postgraduate Advisor

Programme advisor: Dr Jeevan Sharma