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Course Levels Guidelines

Core Courses: Graduate Level Core courses feature a “G” before the course number. They are required courses and must be taken in order to graduate. Core courses are generally offered at the 500 level or 600 level.

500 Level Courses: These courses feature an “H” before the course number. They are foundational courses providing basic concepts, arguments, and themes. They are reading intensive: Students are exposed to readings of increasing complexity. Students will be required to write a minimum 10-page paper as part of the course. Students also learn how to write, edit, and footnote correctly as per established academic standards. The courses provide familiarity with primary and key secondary sources.

600 Level Courses: These are thematic courses or courses dealing with a key text such as the Yoga-Sūtras. Students learn the context of the text and its organization, arguments and major debates. If the course is thematic, key readings will be analyzed. Students are required to write a 15-page paper as well as a standard bibliography. Some examples of 600 Level Courses are:

  • 608 Race Theory
  • 609 Enlightenment
  • 610 Christian Theology
  • 611 Adi Shankara

Sample course description for 611 Adi Shankara:

Ādi  Śaṅkarācārya, the author of numerous commentaries and pedagogical tracts, is the seminal philosopher in Hinduism, especially its “Advaita vedānta” school. This course will address his key texts, ideas, and interpretive strategies. Both his influence on the commentary tradition and his insightful clarification of earlier texts will be explored; specifically focusing on his commentaries on the Upaniṣads and the Bhagavadgītā. How does Śaṅkara, for example, explicate his philosophy through dialogue with other schools of philosophy such as Sāṅkhya? In the final portion of the class, we will address some critical and historical views and debates within contemporary scholarship.

700 Level Courses: These are reading intensive courses focused on a specific issue: either thematic or textual. Each student is assigned a single published research paper, and the student is required to analyze it with arguments from her or his research. This analysis will take the form of a 20-page term paper after significant research. An Annotated Bibliography will be required. Examples are:

  • 708 German Indology
  • 709 Sanskrit Epic: Mahābhārata or Rāmāyaṇa
  • 710 Bhakti and Philosophy
  • 711 Secularism

800 Level Courses: Same as 700 courses, but with increased difficulty. The material dealt with is more specialized, and also more complex. Examples are:

808 Textual Criticism

809 Brahma-Sūtras

819 History and Historiography

900 Seminar: (Advanced Graduate Seminar) Student presentation and participation will be required. Each student presents one portion of the assigned material. The professor guides the discussion where other students participate. The presented material is turned into a detailed paper and submitted according to the guidelines provided in the syllabus. One advanced graduate seminar is required of each Ph.D. student towards the fulfillment of the degree requirements.

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