The Hindi/Urdu program in the Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations offers Hindi/Urdu language courses, as well as courses taught in English about South Asian culture and literature.

The Department encourages its students to spend either an academic year or a semester abroad, though there are summer options as well. There are study abroad programs for beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels of Hindi. Students from our program have also received prestigious scholarships to participate in intensive language programs in India, including the Foreign Language Area Scholarship (FLAS) and scholarships from the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS).

Hindi/Urdu Language Courses

Hindi and Urdu are spoken by some 500 million people in India and Pakistan, and throughout the world. Hindi-Urdu is the language of Bollywood cinema and song, journalism, education, commerce, religion, and literature. Although some consider Hindi and Urdu to be separate languages, they share a common grammar and core vocabulary, and are often identical in colloquial speech. In writing a key difference becomes apparent, as Hindi uses the Devanagari script, while Urdu uses the Perso-Arabic script.

We offer a three-year course sequence in Hindi/Urdu, in which students learn both Hindi and Urdu scripts. Earlier courses in this sequence develop students’ practical skills in both spoken and written Hindi/Urdu. Advanced courses are organized around themes such as media and journalism, and topics in Hindi/Urdu literature.

The Hindi/Urdu course sequence fulfills language requirements for various majors, including the Major in Asian Studies offered by the Center for Asian Studies, and the Major in International Affairs. Courses in Hindi-Urdu are also a major component of our Certificate in South Asian Languages and Civilizations.

Courses about South Asia

In addition to Hindi/Urdu language courses, we offer a range of courses in English about South Asian culture, civilization, cinema, and literature. These include:

  • Introduction to South Asian Civilization
  • Screening India: A History of Bollywood Cinema
  • Living Indian Epics: The Ramayana and the Mahabharata in the Modern Political Imagination
  • South Asian Diasporas: Imagining Home Abroad
  • The Power of the Word: Subversive and Censored 20th Century Indo-Pakistani Literature
  • The Mahabharata as Literature, Performance, Ideology
  • The Many Faces of Krishna in South Asian Literature
  • Devotional Literature in South Asia