Urdu has been part of the South Asian language curriculum since the 1960s and language learning opportunities are offered both on campus as well in Pakistan as well as India. Berkeley does not combine Urdu and Hindi instruction. We offer Urdu at all levels, from beginning to advanced. Over sixty students annually enroll in Urdu courses. UC Berkeley's Urdu program is one of the largest and best in the country.

In addition to its regular on-campus instructional program, ISAS also runs the Berkeley Urdu Language Program in Pakistan (BULPIP). This program was temporariy shut down in 2008 but is now re-established in Berkeley.

BULPIP-AIPS Urdu Training Program

In 2014, after a 5-year hiatus and thanks to a $3.1 million grant from the US government, the Berkeley Urdu Language Program in Pakistan (BULPIP) recommenced training students. Originally founded in 1973 and based in Lahore, BULPIP provided intensive Urdu language training to American students, scholars, and teachers who had research and professional interests in Urdu language and literature, Pakistan, Islam, and the Muslim communities of South Asia. The program ran continuously until 2001, when, due to a State Department travel warning prohibiting students from traveling to Pakistan, BULPIP was forced to relocate to Lucknow, India, and subsequently shut down in 2008. Under the terms of the revived program, The Institute for South Asia Studies runs BULPIP in conjunction with the American Institute of Pakistan Studies (AIPS).

The program awards fellowships to up to ten US-based graduate students per year to spend fifteen weeks in the fall semester undertaking intensive Urdu language training at the Lahore University of Management Sciences in Pakistan and to train up to ten Pakistan-based Urdu teachers in contemporary second-language teaching pedagogy through internship appointments spanning two to four months at US-based universities over the lifecycle of the grant.

Click HERE for further information on eligibility requirements or application procedures.

Urdu Faculty

Courses Offered

Introductory Urdu (HIN-URD) 2A
  • Course Format: Five hours of lecture and one hour of laboratory per week.
  • Description: The course concentrates on developing skills in reading, writing, speaking, and aural comprehension. Evaluation is based on attendance, written homework assignments, quizzes, dictations, and examinations. Conventional teaching materials may be supplemented by popular songs and clips from contemporary Indian cinema.
Intermediate Urdu  (HIN-URD) 103A
  • Course Format: Three hours of lecture/laboratory per week.
  • Prerequisites: Successful completion of Urdu 2A-2B.
  • Description: Introduces various types of written and spoken Urdu; vocabulary building, idioms, and problems of syntax; and conversation. Reading of selected fiction and nonfiction in modern Urdu, including fables, short stories, and poetry. Exercises in grammar, conversation, and composition.
Advanced Urdu (HIN-URD) 104A
  • Course Format: Three hours of lecture per week.
  • Prerequisites: Two years of Urdu or consent of instructor.
  • Description: Reading of Urdu prose and poetry in a variety of literary and scholarly styles; composition. Topics in advanced grammar; designed to improve proficiency in speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Students will be expected to converse in a clearly participatory fashion, initiate, sustain, and bring to closure a wide variety of communicative tasks using diverse language strategies.