M.A. (Pali)

(This programme will be conducted in offline mode.)

Date of commencement:  8th August 2022
Days and timings: Weekdays; 11.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.


The study of Pali is critical for understanding Indian Buddhist heritage. The Pali Canon preserves some of the oldest extant materials on the Buddha’s teachings; it is the only complete Tipitaka in an Indic language and is therefore an extremely vital and precious resource for the study of Buddhism. In addition, this literature provides us with a lot of information about ancient India from social, economic and political perspectives.

The M.A. (Pali) programme is designed primarily to develop language skills, as the focus on grammar and translation continues throughout the four semesters. At the same time, the electives permit students to explore various genres of literature preserved in Pali, including commentarial and narrative literature. Students thus become equipped to undertake research in doctrinal and religious aspects of Buddhism based on Pali literature as well as delve into the materials for socioeconomic themes and comparative aspects within Buddhist Studies.

Continuous assessment requires the students to commit to regular attendance and involvement through the semester; as with all our programmes, there is a strong focus on developing research skills. For this, an audit course is compulsory in each semester, and students can study any of the other classical languages we teach – Prakrit, Sanskrit and Tibetan.

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Key Information


1. B. A. in Pali or Graduate in any other discipline with Diploma in Pali OR Diploma in Pali Grammar.

2. Students from disciplines other than Pali must have cleared the Diploma in Pali or Diploma in Pali Grammar in order to qualify. Candidates with self-study of Pali will have to take an entrance exam.

3. Exceptional candidates with a score lower than 55% may be considered, based on an interview. In case selected, they will have to undergo the entrance exam.

4. A score of minimum 40% is required in the entrance exam.



Teaching-learning occurs primarily in lecture format, and there are workshops each semester on themes relevant to the curriculum. Students also have the opportunity to select electives from the M.A. (Buddhist Studies) or M.A. (Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology) programmes, to broaden their understanding of Indian religious texts and history.


Download Curriculum
Semester I Semester II
Grammar & Translation I Visuddhimagga I
Theravada Buddhist Philosophy  I Kamma and Vipaka in Pali Narrative Literature
Vinaya Literature  I Elective I
Abhidhammatthasangaho  I Elective II
Workshop Workshop
Mandatory Audit Course Audit Course
Archaeology and Discovery of Buddhism Elective 1 & 2 are to be selected from the following table 
Buddhist Sanskrit: Grammar & Comprehension Grammatical Texts - I (Kaccayana)
Tibetan Language: Basic Commentarial Texts - I
  Vamsa Literature
  Narrative Literature
  Audit Course
  Buddhist Sanskrit: Translation and Critical Appreciation
  Tibetan Language: Basic
Semester III Semester IV
Grammar & Translation II Theravada Buddhist Philosophy II 
Sutta Literature Buddhist Meditation Texts 
Elective I Elective I
Elective II Elective II
Workshop Workshop
Audit Course Audit Course
Elective 1 & 2 are to be selected from the following table  Elective 1 & 2 are to be selected from the following table 
Pali Poetical Literature Pali Exegetical Literature (Paṭisambhidāmagga)
Puggalapaññati Visuddhimagga II
Vinaya Literature II Commentarial Texts II
Abhidhammatthasaṅgaho  II Grammatical Texts II (Kaccāyana Vyākaraṇa)
Audit Course Audit Course
Archiving and Museology I Archiving and Museology II


The Centre for Buddhist Studies has led the field in innovative curriculum design that addresses the learning needs of students who can engage full time, as well as those who pursue their passion part-time, at their own pace. The faculty have diverse specialisations, which is reflected in the syllabus.

The M.A. (Pali) programme has a robust design that equips students to read texts in their historical, philosophical and sociological contexts. Along with language proficiency, the programme instils critical thinking and analytical skills that are key for research.

Recognising that Buddhism is a living tradition, eminent members of the Sangha are regularly invited to or campus. This gives students an opportunity for experiential learning. The institution has had the privilege of hosting His Holiness the Dalai Lama four times. ven. Dhammadipa, a Buddhist monk from the Czech republic, is an annual visitor who has taught several key programmes on meditation texts as well as led retreats.

The K J Somaiya Institute of Dharma Studies has a library with over 30,000 books, which is an important resource.

In addition to the workshops that are an integral part of this programme, students can attend seminars, workshops and field trips that are offered by the institution across the various disciplines. This creates opportunities of learning beyond the classroom and permits interaction with students pursuing different interests: this is a key feature of the learning experience on our campus.

The most unique aspect of our Centre is community engagement at our outreach project, Jetavan, in rural Maharashtra, which is available for students to visit and volunteer for engagement. The centre has been set up in collaboration with Godavari Biorefineries and Ven. Dhammadipa.

Programme Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the programme, a student will:

  • Have a good foundation in Pali language and literature of various genres, through historical, philosophical, religious and sociological perspectives.
  • Narrative literature will be combined with exposure to sites of ancient heritage; the options to study epigraphy and Prakrit along with workshops on ancient scripts equip the student with a wide range of skills for future research.