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The Australian National University

Sanskrit studies

Sanskrit at ANU is now available to students anywhere in the world in 2015.

For Sanskrit course enquiries and to register your interest for 2015, email Dr McComas Taylor at

Sanskrit is the key to the treasure-trove of South Asian cultures, spirituality and wisdom. It is the primary language of classical Indian art, music, dance, literature and religion. It is also of interest to students of historical and comparative linguistics and provides a basis for the study of modern Indian languages. Many of our students are yoga teachers or practitioners, adherents of Indian spiritual traditions, and students of South Asian heritage who wish to learn more about their cultural roots.

ANU prides itself on teaching Sanskrit as a living tradition, in which performance and production of language are valued alongside the traditional requirements of grammar and reception. All four years of Sanskrit are flexibly delivered online to students all over the world.

The first year is devoted to the study of grammar, chanting and singing, introductory Spoken Sanskrit, and the reading of selections from easy prose texts. Content delivery is through our innovative electronic textbook, The Joy of Sanskrit. Works studied in the second and third years represent a diversity of styles and subject matter, and may include extract from the Mahabharata, Ramayana, the Bhagavadgita, Kalidasa, Vedic and Buddhist texts.

My educational philosophy is simple: while maintaining the highest standards of academic rigour, I ensure that learning is student-focussed and enjoyable. I make extensive use of role-play, games and other non-traditional learning activities to foster and engaged and engaging learning environment.

There are four options for enrolment:

  1. On-campus students: for any student studying for any degree at ANU. Enrol through ISIS.
  2. Cross-institutional enrolment: for off-campus students who are already studying at another university and would like to take Sanskrit as part of a degree. You need approval from your home-institution first. Then contact
  3. Diploma of Languages: for all students who already have a degree (or equivalent life-experience), and want to study the Sanskrit language only. For Australian students, this is a HECS course, and there is no up-front cost. For other students, the cost is about $3300 per semester. Contact
  4. The CCE Audit Program: this is the best option for those who are returning to study after a long break and who want to 'try before they buy'. It is also the best option for non-Australian students. The cost is about $600 per semester. Use this link:


Student endorsement:

"Comparing my new online studies with my more traditional undergraduate career, a number of things jump out. Firstly, how we use our time better this way. Going to lectures and tutorials used to involve buses, long walks across town, hanging around endlessly in canteens or on the quad. Now I am literally at workin 30 seconds, in my own front room. Since I can access lectures and recorded tutorials at any time, I am able to structure the work any way I wish, which is particularly useful for someone who has to work long and irregular hours. And most importantly, due to the cleverness of the technology, the contact with my teacher is a lot closer and more creative than it ever was at [my former institution], despite the fact that we have never met."

- Feedback from Sanskrit student, Stephen Johnson.

Updated:  20 February 2015/Responsible Officer:  Director, Culture, History & Language /Page Contact:  CHL webmaster