Penn Arts & Sciences Logo



"In the beginning of my career, it was natural that I build on my innate interest in South Asia.  My research skills and the framework I developed while studying South Asia meant that I knew how to research a region, and how to approach other countries. These transferrable skills were brought to bear while I was working with the World Economic Forum."

     --Swathi Kappagantual, C'98. Diplomat, Canadian Embassy in Washington D.C. 

Between 1998-2013, a total of 132 students majored in the South Asia Studies Department --but thousands more undergraduates and graduate students from other schools took language and content courses in the same period. Our alumni consultation in 2014 demonstrates that over 90% respondents have secured jobs in career fields of their choice – and are in exciting and high-flying careers spanning the world from San Francisco to Sri Lanka to Singapore. Moreover, many of those interviewed were clear about how success at work was built on the knowledge and skills gained through South Asia-related courses. Many alumni are in in sectors as diverse as international policy-making and diplomatic services, medicine and health care, investment banking and international marketing and academia and research.

Our alumni continue to be fully engaged, connected and supportive of the department. They are a great resource for us –they are information conduits allowing us to keep abreast with the trends and emerging skills-needs in specific professions -- and have helped us with designing academic programs to support students’ skills development. They are also a great resource for our undergraduates’ career development and are involved in mentoring and coaching, and participating in networking events. To view our alumni profiles, click here



“As a graduate student, I was exposed to an unusual diversity of disciplinary approaches. I was able to take courses in the Departments of Anthropology, Comparative Literature, English, History, Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations, Religious Studies, and, of course, South Asia. With its library and constant flow of visitors, students, and faculty traveling to and from Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania is not just a great center of South Asian Studies—it is a place of pilgrimage.”  

Walter N. Hakala, Assistant Professor, University at Buffalo, GR'10.


Learn more about our many Graduate students who have gone onto develop academic careers.