Urdu is one of the major languages of the South Asian subcontinent. It is the official language of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and is one of the officially recognized national languages of India, where it has concentrations of speakers in several Indian states. Beyond South Asia, millions of people speak varieties of Urdu in communities worldwide

Urdu is among the most important literary and cultural languages of Asia, with a rich literary tradition that has been written in both the modern standard language and in earlier dialects. The renowned poets Quli Qutub Shah (1581-1611), Vali Muhammad Vali (1667-c.1725), Mir Taqi Mir (c.1723-1810), Assadullah Khan "Ghalib" (1797-1869) wrote in literary varieties of Urdu. Important Urdu literary figures in more recent times include Muhammad Iqbal (c.1877-1938), the national poet of Pakistan, and Faiz Ahmad Faiz (1911-1984).

In its official style, Urdu is written in a modified form of Perso-Arabic script. Hindi is a sister language to Urdu, written in the Devanagari script and drawing upon the rich cultural and linguistic resources of Sanskrit and Prakrit. Hindi is also offered in the Department of Asian Languages and Literature.


We offer three years of basic instruction in Urdu, providing a solid foundation in the written and spoken styles of the language.

Students can choose to specialize in or emphasize the study of Urdu as part of the following programs:

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