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Bannergrafik (Indologie)

Indology and Tibetology at the University of Marburg

The discipline "Indology" is an academic occupation with the languages and cultures of the Indian subcontinent. On account of the ongoing continuity of Indian culture Indology encompasses a period from the early centuries of the common era to contemporary times.

The discipline "Indo-Tibetology" is an academic investigation into the literature of Indian Buddhism on the basis of Tibetan sources, the Tibetan reception of Indian-Buddhist cultural treasure, and also its further development within and outside Tibet up to present times. One of the focal points thereby is grasping the meaning of the extant works of both the rather voluminous canonical collections of Tibetan Buddhism (Kanjur and Tanjur), which entail by and large direct translations of Indian texts. Tibetan translations of Buddhist texts were prepared from around the seventh century of the common era and often present the only faithful rendering of their Indian texts which are no longer extant in the country of their origin.

Both the disciplines Indology and Indo-Tibetology thereby avail themselves not only of philological-historical methodology, but also that of cultural studies; one can therefore also call them cultural studies based on texts.

Within the framework of the BA programme "Historische Sprach-, Text- und Kulturwissenschaften" (HSTK), the "Main Area Indology and Tibetology" (Schwerpunkt Indologie und Tibetologie) may be chosen, where together with the general fundamentals and methods of an academic occupation with texts of different cultures, the specific linguistic, cultural and - together with the Department of Geography – regional areas of India and Tibet may also be studied. Another special feature of Indo-Tibetology in Marburg is that Tibetological studies are based on the fundamentals of Indological and Buddhological knowledge.

The various study programmes in Marburg offer a possibility, hardly found elsewhere, to occupy oneself with all the important languages of the Indological and Tibetological canon of languages on the basis of a philological methodology. The favourable ratio between the number of students and teachers guarantees an intensive personal supervision, something that has become totally impossible in mass departments.

Why study Indology in Marburg?

Small subjects in German universities have always been attractive to specialized foreign students. They hold a long tradition of teaching in what we would now call small research seminars, a principle adopted in the 19th century by universities in the United States. Here advanced students can benefit from direct contact with scholars and be introduced into a research not only theoretically by means of lectures, but practically and individually. While this system has, under economic presssures, in most subjects given way to large school-like classes, it remains intact in small subjects such as Indology.

With the recent abolition of study fees—a happy return to the older model of free education—it has become easier for exchange students to benefit from this system. Marburg offers a full training in Indology, starting from important source languages like Sanskrit, Pali, Hindi, Tibetan etc., progressing into a study of segments of Indian literature, philosophy and the like.

Quite unlike our own students who have to follow a fixed B.A. or M.A. programm, exchange students can pick their own mix of courses. Foreign students in Marburg can benefit from a wide variety of activities. As a member of university one has free access to a large number of courses and seminars. Once enrolled as a guest student, the University of Marburg, with its wide variety of subjects—termed in German a “full university”—, can offer you courses from anthropology, classical philology, philosophy, religious studies, to oriental studies and the like. Especially for Sanskritists, the intensive courses in German (taylored to foreign students) can be interesting, since direct access to sources in German is likely to widen one’s perspective. But even shorter visits can be made useful without deeper knowledge of German: seminars will be held in English on demand.

One of the core expertises of German Indology in general and of the Marburg indological school in particular lies within the techniques used for editions of Sanskrit texts. The techniques and background is taught for M.A. students with a good grasp of at least Sanskrit, but can be useful for outsiders too. It is a course of two semesters, covering everything from the theory of general textual criticism, manuscripts studies and editorial technique to the specific practices of textual criticism in Indology. The idea is to learn the tools in the first semester, and then read and edit a hitherto unpublished and unknown text, or reedit a badly edited one, in the second.

Tuition Fees

There are no tuition fees in Marburg. Currently only the total sum of 315.67 € per term needs to be paid (for the current rate, see here). This includes a student services contribution (80.50 €), a student union contribution (10.00 €), an administrative fee (50.00 €), and most notably the so-called Semesterticket (175.17 €). The Semesterticket is a ticket to be used unlimited times in the public transport system (busses and trains) during an entire semester. This is indeed a very good deal, since even if you live a little outside of town, you will not have to pay extra charges for commuting. Besides this, this Semesterticket permits you to travel "for free" across a vast region and visit (lectures at) other university cities from Göttingen in the north to Heidelberg in the south (for details, see here).

Exchange students who pay fees at their home universities need to check whether they may be exempt from payment of the administrative fee (50.00 €) at the University of Marburg. This may be the case if there are specific intergovernmental or supranational agreements and agreements between institutes of higher education in which exemption from charges is guaranteed. Queries in this connection should be addressed to the International Office of the University of Marburg.


A German test (DSH-Prüfung) will be required before enrolment, unless foreign students do not aim to complete a full study programme at the University of Marburg (for details concerning this test and the conditions for exempting from it, see here). At the Department of Indology and Tibetology practice seminars can be held in English (unlike lectures which are generally in German), whenever the need arises. There are, moreover, regularly Indian and other foreign guests, in which case the language of the seminar is usually English.


B.A. Indology: The B.A. Indology is part of the B.A. Historische Sprach-, Text- und Kulturwissenschaften (HSTK) which combines several smaller subjects. Within this course an almost complete specialization on things Indian is possible for those interested, but there is also enough space to squeeze in other fields as minor subjects and follow your own interests. It is for instance possible to focus on the religious history of India and study Indology and Comparative Religion, or to specialize in more languages. Thus, the options are only limited by the range of subjects offered at the university. The only problem is that the labelling of the programme may be misleading, for one would enrol in the B.A. Historische Sprach-, Text- und Kulturwissenschaften (with a specialization in Indology) and could add courses from a rather complicated sounding B.A. from another department, as for example Comparative Religion. The choice is yours: typical combination, as we have learned from our students, are with Anthropology, Conflict Studies, Geography, Economics, and others.

M.A. Indology: The M.A. Indology is designed for students who decide to continue studying Indology after finishing their B.A. Indology in Marburg. But in fact quite often this programme is chosen by students with various degrees coming from abroad or from other German universities. To enable their enrolment in M.A. Indology a B.A. in some related subject other than Indology may also be considered as a prerequisite. If the basic requirement, namely, an appropriate knowledge of Sanskrit, is not met with, the student can be enrolled as an official M.A. student with the requirement to add a preliminary year in which Sanskrit is learned.

In order to find out whether their B.A. from a foreign university or college is accepted in Germany foreign students should check here (only in German).

Zuletzt aktualisiert: 10.11.2016 · Dragomir Dimitrov

Fb. 10 - Fremdsprachliche Philologien

Indologie und Tibetologie, Deutschhausstr. 12, 35032 Marburg
Tel. +49 6421/28-24741, Fax +49 6421/28-24995, E-Mail: indology@staff.uni-marburg.de

URL dieser Seite: https://www.uni-marburg.de/fb10/iksl/indologie/studium-en/index_html-en

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