The Sanskrit Language Program at the University of Virginia is housed here in the Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures, and we work closely with colleagues in the Department of Religious Studies and the South Asia Center. Students at any level of their undergraduate or graduate career are encouraged to begin studying Sanskrit. In the first year, the emphasis is on grammar, vocabulary, reading, writing, speaking, and cultural background. The “second-year” courses are in a three-year sequence. One year we read from the Mahabharata in the fall and the Bhagavadgita in the spring. The next year it is the Ramayana in the fall and one of the older Upanisads in the spring. The next year it is the Kathasaritsagara in the fall and the Devi Mahatmya or some other Puranic text in the spring. After at least one year of “second-year” courses, a student may take any of the advanced courses as they become available. Those focus on plays and poetry, poetics, philosophy, the Indian grammatical tradition, and Vedic texts. Which of these courses is offered is often determined by student request. Beyond that, independent study is available for the most advanced students.


Sanskrit Faculty


Sanskrit Language Program Coordinator

Robert Hueckstedt
137 New Cabell Hall
(434) 243-8228



Course Descriptions

SANS 1010/5010 - (3) (Y)
Elementary Sanskrit I

Prerequisite: SANS 1010 - none, SANS 5010 - graduate standing
Studies Sanskrit sounds, the Devanagari script, and basic grammar.

SANS 2016/5016 - (3) (IR)
Selections from the Kathasaritsagara of Somadeva

Prerequisite: for SANS 2016 - SANS 1020; for SANS 5016 - SANS 5020 and graduate standing
A second-year course focusing on developing reading fluency in Sanskrit. Selections are chosen to reinforce student's knowledge of grammar from SANS 502, to expand vocabulary, and to introduce the Kathasaritsagara of Somadeva, the most important collection of story literature in Sanskrit.

NOTE (taken from Undergraduate Record):
(3) = Number of credits. For courses dually numbered (101, 102 or 201, 202, etc.) the number of credits represents the number of credits for each course. For example three credits for 101, three credits for 102, etc.
(Y) = Code for frequency course is offered. Variations are: S = offered fall and spring semesters; Y = offered at least once every academic year (fall or spring semester); SI = offered upon sufficient student interest; IR = offered irregularly.


The Department reserves the right to place any student in the course most appropriate to his or her skill level. Such placement will be the responsibility of the coordinator for each language program, and should be made by the fifth class meeting.

For current course listing, please visit the Student Information System:

Sanskrit Placement Test Information