Sikh Studies course

An introduction to the Sikh way of life covering history, culture and ideology


Engaging teaching with referenced sources


Y1 course comprises 15 weeks of 1.5 hour classes


Followed up by Y2 modules and Y3 personal study


Open to all backgrounds and ages 16+


FREE of charge - no fees or costs!


Learning about the Sikh way of life and how it has been understood over time is more important today than ever before. Our Sikh Studies course has helped hundreds of students in higher education learn more about the Sikh way of life, as well as encouraging non-students to continue learning throughout their adult years and professional life. Many of our students find the course to be an eye-opening experience and a great first step to learning what Sikhi is all about, going on to follow-up the Year 1 introductory course with Year 2 modular studies and Year 3 personally tutored study.

What You Get


A chronological journey in Sikh history


An introduction to the culture of Sikhi


A glimpse of the ideology of Guru Nanak


Further reading and referenced notes


A Sangat dedicated to building and growing

Year 1 course

Experience an engaging 15-week journey through Sikh history, culture and ideology in just 1.5 hours a week! 

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1. The Beginning:
Guru Nanak and the birth of a 239 year period of time in which the Sikh way of life was established.

2. The Guruship:
How the House of Guru Nanak gave birth to the Sikh World that came to be.

3. The Khalsa:
The culmination of Guru Nanak’s ideology in 1699 and the dual relationship of Panth and Guru Granth.

4. The Republic:
The establishment of the 1st Khalsa Republic by Baba Banda Singh Bahadur and the Khalsa.

5. The Annihilation:
The holocaust of the 18th century, repeated Afghan invasion and the devastation visited upon the Sikh people from all sides.

6. The Resurgance:
The re-emergence of statehood under Khalsa doctrine and the relationships of the Sikh Misls.

7. The Raj:
The Punjab under the rule of Maharja Ranjit Singh and the onslaught of the British Empire.

8. The Stand:
Punjab and Sikhdom circa 1849 focusing on Bhai Maharaj Singh & the Anglo-Sikh relationship.

9. The Reformers:
The work of the Nirankari sect and the Kuka movement looking at personalities such as Bhai Ram Singh.

10. The Revolt:
Evaluating British-Sikh relationships leading up to the turn of the 19th century and studying the emergence of the Chief Khalsa Diwan and the Singh Sabha movement.

11. The Establishment:
Analysing Gurdwara reform, Babbar-Akali lehir, Gaddar Party, arrival of the SGPC and Punjab’s Partition.

12. The Struggle:
Following the Punjabi Suba movement from language, river redirection and border realignment.

13. The Migration:
Studying trends in Sikh diaspora, the reasons for mass migration and socio-economic policies in the Punjab throughout the second half of the 20th Century.

14. The Challenge:
The Sikhs and the Indian Govt from 1978-1999, evaluating the position of Diaspora and Punjabi Sikhs.

15. The New World: The Sikhs in the 21st Century: are we progressing or repeating past mistakes?


Year 2 modular studies

Step up to focus on a range of topics delving deeper than Y1, coupled with our extremely popular Shabad Analysis sessions.

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Introducing Sikh Culture
A study of Sikh-inspired art, architecture, fiction, poetry and music.

Bhai Maharaj Singh
Looking at the life of Bhai Maharaj Singh and understanding how his activity from over 150 years ago set in motion the struggle that continues for the Panth to this day.

Sukha Jinda Mind State
Considering what it means to be a shaheed in Sikhdom, and contrasting between different terminology that is all too commonly used interchangeably today.

Political Theory and Practice in Sikhi
Introducing the manner of political rule, devices and institutions that the Gurus established.

The Making of the Khalsa
Analysis of the journey and ideology that led to the formation of the Khalsa.

Contemporary Sikh affairs
An outline of the major issues at the heart of politics, academia and worship in the Sikh World today.

Architecture in Sikhi
An analysis of the importance of town-planning, civic institutions and buildings in the Sikh tradition, both historically and through the ideology of the Gurus.

A journey through Sikh literature
A review of the various texts that complimented the Guru Granth Sahib and shaped Sikhdom over the last five centuries.

Introduction to the Guru Granth Sahib
An overview of how the Guru Granth Sahib is structured, who contributed towards it and why it was established.

Year 3 personal research

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Every University student who intends to live their life as a Sikh should make time for the SEC Sikh Studies Course The structure of Y1 is similar to a degree module – based on facts and historical sources with further reading. Y2 encourages all students to engage in active Shabad Analysis, whilst also allowing a safe place for questions, discussion, and development as an individual.

Simran K.

The Sikh Studies course is a great way to learn on the Sikh way of life at all current learning levels. The further reading materials they provide, and the close contact small group classes provide a great platform to enhance your knowledge.
As the course develops to the further years you learn how to implement your learning into your everyday life.

Taren S.

Sikh Studies years 1 and 2 were one of the highlights of my university experience. It really opened my eyes to Sikhi – academically, philosophically, historically, spiritually – from every angle. And a great opportunity to meet like-minded people, share ideas and debate!

Sandeep S.

The Sikh studies course came at the right time for me. As a “Sunday Gurdwara go-er”, I became used to just going with the flow and status quo.
Year 1 made me look at Sikhi in a whole diffferent perspective, where we actively discussed Sikh history and learnt about the purpose of certain events.
Doing the full curcle to Year 3, this really gave a 360 experience from all angles – check it out and I promise you won’t regret it

Sanj S.

The Sikh Studies course pushes you to the edge of your comfort zone in that it makes you confront a lot of the unhelpful false doctrines that are instilled in us from a young age. If you are ready to embark on a life-changing journey and seek the truth with like minded academics then year 3 of the course is for you. Of course, you must understand the historical and ideological contexts that are provided in years 1 and 2 in order to truly appreciate the course.
Onkar S.

I absolutely adored the sikh studies course, and would recommend it to anyone exploring their personal relationship to sikhi and meeting supportive sikh sangat. Year 1 really opened my eyes to a different way of approaching studying sikhi for myself, and year 2 further that knowledge in more depth. Currently studying the 3rd year and loving it even more.
Amrit K.

Jago!!! If you want to wake up, come to this course. It presents Sikh history in an objective and academic manner, combining a range of sources to give its students balanced and informed viewpoints. The course leaders have charisma and a wealth of knowledge; but students have free rein to make up their own decisions. Whether you’re Sikh or not, this course will put Sikhism into context for you and give you some of the tools to compliment your understanding of Sikh history and ideology. By far the most valuable lesson I have learnt at university!

Harjas S.

The SEC Sikh Studies course has changed my perspective on everything and the way I live my life today. I have learned so much from the course as Year 1 provided a clear yet concise breakdown of Sikh history and ideology while in Year 2, I was introduced to Shabad Analysis which is essential and from time to time, I continue this with other SEC students on Wednesday evenings as well as in my own time. It is super flexible so if you miss a session, you will have access to the SEC VLE and can download all the slides on there to do some personal study as and when suitable for you- that is what I do! Highly recommended!!
Ruman K.

I chanced upon the Sikh Studies course a few years ago and knew I had to come all the way from Canada via living in Manchester to attend it in Birmingham. After having completed both Year 1 and Year 2, I can say that this is the best university level program in Sikh studies on account of its academic rigour, citations and instructor teaching styles. Equally important is SEC’s aversion to imposing unitary interpretations or conclusions thereby allowing for personal development and engagement with Sikh topics from multiple angles, schools of thought and sampardais. The true test of the instructors’ quality is that their historical/religious/philosophical anecdotes and tangents provided as much learning and value as the established curriculum if not more!

Arjin S.

Before attending my very first SEC class I had a very 9 to 5 abrahamic view of Sikhi. The unique aspect about this course is that it provides you with the tools and information to start thinking and questioning things for yourself. After taking part in Year 1 of  this course it helped it me tear down some of my misplaced preconceptions and allowed me to rebuild them based on history and Gurbani. Year 2 and 3 had a huge impact on me as it got me to start regularly reading and interpretating Gurbani through a lense of gurmat philosophy which is something I had never done before.

Through the SEC I’ve made some great new friends but also I’m actually closer to people who I knew before all because we are embarking on a similar journey to answer some of life’s biggest questions.

This course is more than just learning about about Sikh history and philosophy. It provides you with the tools and resources to actually start developing your own connection/relationship with the Guru and for me that’s the part that really hit home!

Jair S.


Year 1 Sikh Studies from Autumn 2022 to Spring 2023

CENTRAL LONDON (Thursdays), OXFORD (Thursdays), SOUTHAMPTON (Thursdays)

Bring the Sikh Studies course to your Uni Sikh society

4 + 6 =


Since 2009 our introductory Year 1 course has been offered to students in higher education throughout London, Hertfordshire and Birmingham. We provide systematic study in a professional setting through University Sikh society network Nishaan who facilitate the course, running from October to December and continuing from February-March. We also offer the Year 2 modular course to University students. You can find out when the course starts next by checking Nishaan’s social media channels.


Safe environment for students only


Open and non-judgemental discourse


No obligation attendance!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to attend every week?
No. We ask that students on the course attend as many classes as they can of course, but we appreciate that work, family and self will need to come first on occasions. Before moving up from Year 1 to Year 2 studies, we make sure that you have attended enough classes to be comfortable with the material; we also encourage students to return to Year 1 to revisit classes that have been missed in future years – and in fact find a number of students come back more than once to experience the journey of Sikhi as we teach it in Year 1.
Can I read up on each week's topic beforehand?
Yes you can! We provide light pre-reading to each class that takes anywhere from ten to thirty minutes. This is entirely optional, but we have found that students are better equipped to maximise their learning in each class when having completed the pre-reading.
I am new to Sikhi... is this course suitable for me?
Our Sikh Studies course has been developed over three decades and the class material has been refined during that time to provide an informative basis to the education of any adult interested in the Sikh way of life. Our students are predominantly Sikh, but have included people from a range of backgrounds and beliefs. Whether you are new to Sikhi or an experienced student of the House of Guru Nanak, we think you’ll gain something from taking this course!
Will I have a chance to ask questions?
Yes we try to allow fifteen minutes at the end of class for open questions, but we also take questions throughout the class where it fits within our content delivery. Students are always welcomed to ask questions after class where they feel it is more appropriate, particularly by email or message on our virtual learning environment (VLE).