Pitzer in Nepal Academics


Nepal is in the midst of an exciting time of social and political change as the country transitions from what was, until recently, the world’s only Hindu monarchy to a secular democracy with increased rights for women, ethnic groups and other minorities. A successful and peaceful election to a constitutional assembly was held in April 2008. As their first official act, the delegates to this assembly declared Nepal a democratic republic and asked the King to leave the palace. The assembly is currently in the process of drafting a new constitution and deciding such important issues as increased representation for people of the Terai and growing demands to create a federation of semi-autonomous states within Nepal. Issues such as rural development, rural to urban migration, health care, education, sustainable tourism and many others remain paramount.

Program Location

The Pitzer in Nepal program house is located 7 miles southeast of Kathmandu, off the road to Bhaktapur.  This is a semi-rural area of the Valley that is still composed of fairly tight-knit village communities where the host families are informed by traditional Hindu values and engaged in rice farming, but also dependent on  jobs (and other resources) in town. The area is actually right on the outer edge of Kathmandu’s (unfortunate) urban sprawl, so students get to experience that first hand as well as take advantage of the best of both worlds: access to all the resources of the city while being fully immersed in the language and cultural richness of village Nepal. Our program house is right there in the same area. Host families are anywhere from a 15-minute to one-hour walk from the program house. 

Host Institution

Pitzer in Nepal is affiliated with Tribhuvan University, Nepal’s premier national institution for higher education, and its Office of International Relations.

Intensive Nepali Language

The key to realizing your educational goals in Nepal will be your ability to communicate in Nepali. Drawing on some of the best language teachers in the country and with a 1:3 teacher-student ratio, Pitzer in Nepal offers a highly effective language program. Classes take place in village homes, bazaars and along mountain pathways as well as in small classrooms at your program house. A vital component of your learning will be the commitment you make, along with staff and fellow students, to creating a Nepali-speaking environment both in and out of class. more

The Core Course

Pitzer in Nepal

Nepal Studies
The course combines lectures, readings, discussions, and extensive writing with the more experiential components of family stays, study trips, and field assignments. Lectures are given by professors from Tribhuvan University as well as scholars and specialists from government and private organizations. Through the course, you will become acquainted with some of the main historical, social, cultural and political issues fundamental to Nepal’s modern identity. Assignments focus on socio-cultural studies, kinship and family relations, development, environmental issues, health, and religion, requiring you to use your Nepali language skills and integrate your personal experience in the culture with classroom learning. more

Directed Independent Study Project

You will explore in-depth an aspect of Nepal through a directed independent study. Projects are guided by local scholars or specialists and program staff and require a significant analytical component in the form of a written report. The program strongly recommends you select a project that involves field research, oral interviews, ethnography, and other techniques that facilitate cultural immersion and use of your Nepali language over those involving library research. Topic selection may be limited due to available resources and local conditions. more


Course Credits
Nepal Studies
Intensive Nepali Language
Directed Independent Study Project
Suggested Preparation
Coursework in South Asian Area Studies, Development Studies, South Asian Religions, and International/Intercultural Studies is recommended. For Claremont Colleges students: Introduction to Socio-cultural Anthropology, Engaging Difference, Undergraduate Research Abroad, and Pitzer in Ontario courses provide relevant preparation. For Claremont Colleges students with a particular interest in anthropology, Intro to Nepal is usually offered once a year at Pitzer.
Students must be in good academic standing and have junior or senior standing at the time of participation.
Program Dates
Fall: Early August to mid December
Spring: Beginning of February to mid June
Students live with families for the entire program except on study trips.