Hindi, with over half a billion speakers, is the second most widely spoken language in the world, and is the official language of India, the world’s most populous country. India’s rapidly growing economic, political, and cultural importance has significantly enlarged Hindi’s global sphere of influence, far beyond its traditional and still flourishing outposts of diaspora, from Fiji to Trinidad, Mauritius to Manchester.

The Hindi program at the University of Chicago is one of the most rigorous and comprehensive in the country. Students who take Hindi embark on an exciting and intensive course in language, culture, and literature. Hindi students at Chicago have consistently been successful in securing Fulbright awards, Critical Language Scholarships (CLS), FLAG grants, and Boren fellowships, as well as gaining admission to the American Institute of Indian Studies and other summer and year-long language programs to study Hindi in India.

In addition to First-, Second-, and combined Third/Fourth-Year Hindi courses, occasional content courses on various aspects of Hindi literary culture for advanced students are also offered.

Chicago Hindi alumni have gained admission to top PhD programs and have won competitive language scholarships. They have also secured employment as professional translators and interpreters, have worked for international organizations and NGOs, and have themselves become instructors of Hindi.


For Hindi heritage speakers who can’t read or write Devanagari

Former Chicago Hindi students talking about Hindi at Chicago

Example first-year Hindi video project

Our Hindi Instructors

Four Levels of Hindi Are Offered

  • First-Year Hindi (Mondays through Fridays, 12:30-1:20 pm)
  • Second-Year Hindi (Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00-3:20 pm)
  • Third/Fourth-Year Hindi (Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11:00-12:20 pm)

Hindi Placement Exam

The written part of the Hindi placement exam is online on Canvas. You must be able to write by hand in Devanagari to take the exam. Incoming first-years will receive instructions about taking the placement exam the summer before they matriculate. All others please email Jason Grunebaum to request to be added to the Canvas test site.

Please note that placement into a Hindi class in and of itself does not satisfy the College language requirement. Click here for more information.

Hindi Competency Exam

The Hindi competency exam is administered once a year, each January. Click here for more information.


I can speak and understand Hindi, but can't read or write.

Please visit this page for information about our Devanagari Intensive program.

I already have some background in written/spoken Hindi. What class should I take?

Please take the Hindi placement exam prior to the commencement of classes. Based on the results of your written and oral placement exam, the Hindi instructors will determine the level of Hindi best for you.

I’d like to audit/sit-in on a Hindi class. Is that possible?

Unfortunately not. SALC does not permit auditors in any of the department’s language classes. Please consider registering for the class. You won’t regret it!


Hindi and English letters