PhD programs in Indian philosophy in Europe—2017 edition

This post is the European continuation of Andrew Nicholson’s one. Andrew is also the one who prompted me to write a European list.

Indian philosophy is taught in at least two different places in Europe: (South) Asian (or Oriental or Indological) Studies and —less often— Philosophy departments. The dominant trend of US universities, where Indian philosophy is taught predominantly in Religious Studies departments is only evident in the UK. Departments of Asian Studies, of Oriental Studies or of Indology, often have a philological focus (so that knowing Sanskrit or other relevant languages is strongly recommended, although not compulsory), whereas studying Indian Philosophy in a Philosophy department may imply having to avoid Sanskrit.

Further elements for non-European students and scholars:
1) university fees are by and large very low in Europe (between nothing and 1,500 E per year for full-time students) and in many countries funding is available, so that one gets paid for being a PhD student —very often being a PhD student is much easier than being a post-Doc!
2) the main point of a PhD course in Europe is the final output, i.e., your dissertation. You might have to attend classes (or not), but the main focus should remain the fact of becoming an independent researcher, and this is proved by your ability to write a book on your own.
3) do not choose a certain department on the basis of your expectations to have a career in Indian Philosophy. Write a PhD in Indian Philosophy (only) because you are interested in it. There are little or no SLACs in Europe and in this sense you cannot really plan a career as a university teacher of Indian Philosophy in Europe (you might have a few more chances as a researcher, but this involves being willing and able to do research with others, or alone and to apply for fundings).

Now, a disclaimer: the European landscape of research related to Indian philosophy is variegated. I have surely forgotten many institutions (for instance, as far as I know, there is no one working on Indian philosophy in Spain, Portugal, Greece, Malta…is this really the case?) and have not been exhaustive in the case of others (for instance, I have been unable to gather exhaustive informations concerning Croatia and Hungary). I rely on readers for emendations and supplements.

The elements which will be listed, beside the universities, are: AOS, whether funding is possible and whether it is possible to write one’s PhD thesis in English. In all cases, no information does not mean that it is impossible, it only means that I have no information about it.

  • AUSTRIA (possibility to write a PhD thesis in English)

University of Vienna (Institute of South Asian, Tibetology and Buddhist Studies) Sanskrit philosophy, especially Nyāya, Mīmāṃsā and Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta, Āyurveda, Sanskrit philology, Buddhist philosophy, especially Pramāṇavāda and Mādhyamaka, Tibetan philosophy

University of Vienna (Institute of Philosophy) Intercultural philosophy (a main focus on Indian philosophy is possible)

funding possibilities: through the FWF, the Academy of Sciences or the University itself (in all cases you need the approval of a supervisor)

NB: some directors of studies affiliated to the IKGA (Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia, Austrian Academy of Sciences) may also accept PhD students, although those institutions do not directly deliver diplomas.

  • BELGIUM (possibility to write a PhD thesis in English)

Brussel, Vrije Universiteit (Antwerp FVG, Faculty for Comparative Study of Religions) (Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, Indian Philosophy, especially Vedānta schools, Kaśmīr Śaivism) 2 funding posibilities: FWO (regional) and BOF (university)

Ghent (dept. of languages and cultures of South and East Asia) (Jainism, Buddhism, Indian Philosophy)

Louvain, Université catholique de Louvain (Catholic University of Louvain in Louvain-la-Neuve):
—(Faculty of Letters, Oriental Institute, with Christoph Vielle)
—(Faculty of Theology, Religious sciences, with Philippe Cornu (Buddhism, esp. Tibetan one))

  • CROATIA

Zagreb (Humanities) (Upaniṣads, Vedānta)

  • CZECH REPUBLIC UPDATED

Charles University of Prague (Institute of Philosophy & Religious Studies) (please note that you’ll need to find a suitable supervisor)

  • FRANCE (possibility to write a PhD in English)

Paris, EPHE (4th section and especially 5th section, “Sciences Religieuses”) (Brahmanical systems, Buddhist philosophy (including Tibetan), Śaiva philosophy, philosophy of language (Sanskrit and, in case, Tibetan), very limited possibility for fundings

Paris III-Sorbonne Nouvelle (Department of Indian Studies) (Buddhist and Brahmanical philosophy, special focus on Śaiva philosophy, aesthetics).

Paris IV-Sorbonne, Department of philosophy (Comparative philosophy, general Indian philosophy). No Sanskrit needed for Masters-degree, needed for PhD but not taught at Paris IV; most students take an additional degree at Paris III.

Lille III (Tantrism)

Lyon 3-Jean Moulin / Institut de Recherches Philosophiques de Lyon: Jaina philosophy.

NB: some directors of studies affiliated to the EFEO (Ecole française d’Extrême-Orient, mostly based in Paris and Pondicherry) or to the CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris) may also accept PhD students, although those institutions do not directly deliver diplomas.

  • GERMANY (possibility to write a PhD in English, very low fees, special emphasis on Sanskrit texts, so that critical editions (also) of philosophical texts are possible also at other locations) (in all cases below, the universities have an “institute of Indology” or something similar)

Göttingen (Indian religions, including Veda, Pāli, Epics…)

Hamburg (Nyāya, Vaiśeṣika, Tantrism, Kaśmīrī Śaiva Philosophy, Mahāyāna, Tibetan Buddhism)

Halle (Sanskrit Philosophy, especially Mokṣopāya and Kaśmīrī philosophy)

Heidelberg (Pramāṇavāda)

Leipzig (Sanskrit Philosophy, especially Pramāṇavāda)

Mainz (Buddhist Philology in Central Asia)

Marburg (Śaiva and Kashmirī philosophy, Mokṣopāya, Buddhist Philosophy)

Munich (Buddhism, Tibetan religions, Jainism and Vedānta (esp. Dvaita))

  • HUNGARY

Budapest, Eötvös Loránd University (dept. of Indo-European Studies) (Sanskrit philology)

  • ITALY (possibility to write a PhD thesis in English)

Cagliari University (faculty of Humanities) (Sanskrit philosophy, Vyākaraṇa), full funding for 3 years possible

Naples University (Oriental Studies) (Sanskrit philosophy, especially Śaivism, Buddhism and Tantrism in general, Sanskrit philology), full funding for 3 years possible

Rome, Sapienza University (Oriental Studies) (Sanskrit Philosophy, especially Śaivism, Pramāṇavāda, Tantrism and Vyākaraṇa, Sanskrit philology), full funding for 3 years possible (2–3 funded position per year, some of them are reserved for international students)

Turin University (Asian and African Studies) (Indian religions and philosophy, especially Advaita Vedānta and Buddhism), full funding for 3 years possible (1 new funded position every second year) (one can write a PhD thesis in any language of the EU)

Venice University (Asian Studies) (Indian religions and philosophy, especially Vedānta, Sāṅkhya, Yoga, Dharmaśāstra, Sociology of Indian religions), full funding for 3 years possible (1 new funded position every year, but there are often not enough candidates). This PhD program is connected with the Heidelberg university. It might be worth noting that they also have an MA in Yoga studies.

  • NETHERLANDS (possibility to write a PhD thesis in English, all classes are in English)

Leiden (Institute for Area Studies) (Buddhist Philosophy), no fees and full funding for 4 or 5 years possible (see here)

Leiden (Philosophy Department), Chinese, Indian and comparative philosophy. Possibility of funding through the NWO (deadline around February, further information here)

  • POLAND

Krakow (Pedagogical University, dept. of Philosophy and Sociology) (Indian Philosophy, especially Buddhism, Sāṅkhya, Yoga, Advaita Vedānta, Comparative Philosophy, contemporary Indian philosophy)

Krakow (Jagiellonian University, dept. of Oriental Studies) (Indian Philosophy, especially early Advaita Vedānta and Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta, Vaiṣṇavism)

Poznan (Languages and Literature) (Indian Philosophy, especially ethics)

Warsaw (dept. of South Asian Studies) (Indian Philosophy, especially Jainism, Mīmāṃsā)

  • RUSSIA (possibility to write a PhD thesis in English at St. Petersburg)

Moscow (institute of Philosophy) (Indian philosophy, especially Vaiśeṣika)

Moscow (Moscow State University) (Vyākaraṇa, Sanskrit Philology)

Moscow (Russian State University for Humanities) (Jainism, Indian Philology)

St. Petersburg (St. Petersburg State University) (Bhartṛhari, Vyākaraṇa, Buddhism, some Indian philology)

St Petersburg (Institute of Oriental Manuscripts (Buddhist philosophy, Kaśmīri Śaivism, Bhartṛhari, Tibetan Buddhism)

  • SWEDEN

Stockholm (Oriental languages) (Indian Philosophy, especially Nyāya and Buddhism)

  • SWITZERLAND (possibility to write a PhD thesis in English)

Lausanne (Section on languages and cultures slavic and of South Asia) (Buddhist studies, contemporary Indian philosophy)

Zürich (Hinduism, contemporary Hinduism, Ethics) (possibility to apply for a six-month grant to write your PhD proposal before starting your PhD)

  • UK (higher fees, up to 4,000 pounds per year) (some possibilities of fundings through the University, the Colleges and private institutions)

Bristol (centre for Buddhist studies) (Theravāda Buddhism, Chinese Buddhism, Zen Buddhism)

Cambridge (Asian and Middle Eastern Studies) (Sanskrit Philology, Vyākaraṇa, Mīmāṃsā, Buddhist Studies)

Cambridge (Divinity) (Vedānta, contemporary Indian Philosophy)

Cardiff (Religious and Theological Studies) (Buddhist studies and philosophy)

Dundee (Philosophy) NO SANSKRIT

Durham (Philosophy) (Environmental Ethics in Buddhism)

Edinburgh (South Asian Studies) (Indian Philosophy, especially Jainism)

Kent (Religious Studies) (Buddhism, Vedānta)

Lancaster (Religious Studies; Philosophy) (Indian Philosophy, especially Vedānta)

Leeds (Theology and Religious Studies) (Sāṅkhya, Pātañjala Yoga)

Liverpool (Philosophy) (Vedānta, contemporary Indian philosophy)

London, King’s College (Philosophy) (logic, epistemology, metaphysics and philosophy of language in India, Greek and modern Western philosophy) NO SANSKRIT

London, SOAS (Religion; South Asia) (Buddhist studies, Tibetan Buddhism, Yoga, Jainism)

Manchester University (Arts, Languages, and Cultures) (Indian philosophy, especially Vedānta)

Oxford (Oriental Studies) (Indian philosophy, especially Vyākaraṇa and Mīmāṃsā, Sanskrit philology, Sanskrit scientific literature)

Oxford (Theology and Religion)

Oxford (one might also want to get in touch with the Oxford Center of Buddhist Studies and the Oxford Center of Hindu studies for external tuition)

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: I am really obliged to the following people for their help: Daniele Cuneo, Evgeniya Desnitskaya, Camillo Formigatti, Jonardon Ganeri, Marzenna Jakubczak, Lubomir Ondracka, Isabelle Ratié, Agnieszka Rostalska, Alex Watson.

ADDITIONAL ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS FOR THE 2018 EDITION: Elise Coquereau, Jonardon Ganeri, Marzenna Jakubczak, Robert Leach, Lubomir Ondracka, Agnieszka Rostalska, Robert Zydenbos

(cross-posted also on the Indian philosophy blog

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3 thoughts on “PhD programs in Indian philosophy in Europe—2017 edition

  1. The list “Münich (Buddhism, Tibetan religions)”. Although Buddhist studies are more prominent here due to cooperation with Tibetology, Sinology and Japanology in a centre for Buddhist studies, it should be pointed out that studies of Indian philosophy are not limited to that. One Ph.D. student of mine wrote her dissertation about Jainism, and at present another one is working on a comparative study involving Vedantic, Jaina and Buddhist sources.

    On a minor side note: our city is usually referred to either as “München” or anglified, “Munich”. 🙂

    • Many thanks and many apologies for the mistakes. Does it sound better if I add to Munich “Dvaita Vedānta and Jainism”? Or shall I write “Vedānta and Jainism”?

      • “Dvaita Vedānta and Jainism” rather describes my own fields of interest and expertise, and (of course) I would prefer to guide students who pursue their studies in something that I myself pursue. I think the best would be “Jainism and Vedānta (esp. Dvaita)”.