PhD programs in Indian Philosophy in Europe—2015 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.
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 os 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, Āyurveda, Sanskrit philology, Buddhist philosophy, especially Pramāṇavāda and Mādhyamaka, Tibetan philosophy)

  • 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)


Zagreb (Humanities) (Upaniṣads, Vedānta)

  • CZECH REPUBLIC (possibility to write a PhD thesis in English) UPDATED

Charles University of Prague (Institute of Philosophy & Religious Studies) (Buddhism, especially Mahāyāna and Madhyamaka, Nyāya, Kashmiri Śaivism)

  • 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 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.

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

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)

Münich (Buddhism, Tibetan religions)


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

Milan University (aesthetics), 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

Turin University (Oriental Studies) (Indian religions and philosophy, especially Advaita Vedānta and Buddhism), full funding for 3 years possible (1 new funded position every year)

Venice University (Asian and African Studies) (Indian religions and philosophy, especially Vedānta, Sāṅkhya, Yoga, Dharmaśāstra, Sociology of Indian religions), full funding for 3 years possible

  • 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)


Krakow (Pedagogical University, dept. of Philosophy) (Indian Philosophy, especially Buddhism, Sāṅkhya, Yoga, 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)


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, Ethics of Medicine)

  • UK (much 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)

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)

Sussex (Philosophy) (Indian Philosophy, especially Nyāya, Vedānta)

York (Philosophy) (Indian ethics and Indian Buddhist philosophy), NO SANSKRIT

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.


(cross-posted also on my personal blog)

About elisa freschi

My long-term program is to make "Indian Philosophy" part of "Philosophy". You can follow me also on my personal blog:, on Academia, on Amazon, etc.

5 Replies to “PhD programs in Indian Philosophy in Europe—2015 edition”

  1. I suspect in many cases a particular field of study may be represented by a single person. The prospective student might well want to investigate that, and if it so, to determine when that scholar will be retiring, and if it is soon, whether they are willing and allowed to continue to supervise a student and serve on their committee for the final degree after formal retirement.

    • Well, that a single person reprsents a given field is more the norm than the exception. Thus, yu are absolutely right, thanks for pointing it out. In this connection, prospective students should know that the retirement age varies in different countries.

  2. You should add in the section about Germany that in some cases you are allowed not to pay fees, if you don’t want to live in the same city where the university is and you just work on your own on the thesis—though if you opt out, you won’t be able to get full access to the benefits provided by being a member of the University, for instance you don’t get a Semesterticket, whichallows you for a very low fee (usually around 300 Euros) to travel for six months for free on buses, underground and trains within the state boundaries. Moreover, you are always allowed to write your PhD in English.

  3. Hello, very good post. I had an unpleasant suprise when I was admitted a couple of years ago in the Mst. in the Study of Religion in Oxford for hindu studies regarding the fees. I am a european citizen but I live outside Europe. There was a requirement of having lived the last two years in Europe to be charged as an european student, and, as I hadn’t, I was requested a fee three times more expensive (from 5000 euros for the year course to 15000). So this has to be born in mind in relation to the fees, at least for “not european” students

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *