CLS Urdu اُردُو

The Urdu Language

The Hindi-Urdu language family consists of hundreds of millions of speakers, making it one of the most commonly spoken languages in the entire world. Urdu, spoken in parts of Northern India and in Pakistan, is the perfect linguistic tool for anyone looking to get a foothold on a career involving South Asia. Both India and Pakistan have long been key players in South Asian affairs and have been important destinations for public and private sector development.

American students in a wide variety of disciplines are drawn to the Urdu language not only because of the region's growing role in international affairs, but also for Urdu's vibrant literary history and rich religious and artistic traditions. Learning Urdu will give you a competitive edge and the tools to break into the exciting work happening across many fields in South Asia such as agriculture, technology, public health, and film.

Program Sites


Featured Alumni Profiles

Jessica Garross
Urdu 2017
Lucknow, India
Morgan Burdick
Punjabi 2016
Chandigarh, India
Harrison Akins
Urdu 2016
Lucknow, India
Isaiah Weaver
Urdu 2015
Lucknow, India

Urdu Stories

Sustaining Language Engagement Two Years After CLS

By Owen Jollie (CLS Urdu 2014) Sometime in January last year, I was called to the podium of an American India Foundation (AIF) event to recite, impromptu, a few couplets of Urdu poetry. Not only the entire board of the foundation, but also th... Read more

CLS 2017 Application Launches!

We are pleased to announce the opening of the competition for the U.S. Department of State 2017 Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program in fourteen critical foreign languages. The CLS Program is a program of the U.S. Department of State... Read more