Frequently Asked Questions

Overview

What is the Hindi Urdu Flagship Program?

The Hindi Urdu Flagship Program (HUF) is a four-to-five year undergraduate program that allows students to combine the major of their choice with intensive study of Hindi-Urdu languages. HUF is part of the Language Flagship, a national initiative developed to increase the number of Americans with professional fluency in critical languages. The HUF program is designed to bring students to a professional fluency applicable to a wide variety of future career contexts.

What is the Language Flagship?

The Hindi Urdu Flagship (HUF) is part of the Language Flagship, a national initiative developed to address the growing need for Americans with competency in languages critical to American national security and interests. The Language Flagship emphasizes the importance of professional, “real-world” language skills alongside the traditional literature-based curriculum. The Language Flagship has established a total of 23 programs in Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Persian, Russian, African Languages, and Hindi Urdu. While some languages are represented by more than one Flagship, HUF is the only Flagship in Hindi and Urdu. For more information visit the Language Flagship website at the languageflagship.org.

Are there any other Language Flagship programs at UT?

The University of Texas at Austin also hosts an Arabic Flagship program.

What is the difference between the Foundation Year and the First-Year?

Students with no background in Hindi-Urdu enter through the Foundation Year, in which they acquire elementary reading, writing, speaking and listening skills in Hindi-Urdu before progressing to the First Year. Students who possess an approximate “intermediate” level of proficiency in Hindi or Urdu enter through the First Year. Entrance into First Year is determined by a language interview conducted by a HUF faculty member. Students entering through the Foundation Year take five years to complete the program requirements, while students entering through the First Year are able to complete these in four years.

How many Hindi Urdu Flagships are there?

The Hindi Urdu Flagship at UT is the only Hindi-Urdu Flagship, and is the only program of its kind.

Admissions

Who can apply to the Hindi Urdu Flagship Program?

The HUF program is designed for students determined to achieve superior proficiency for use in their future careers.  Because successful completion of HUF takes 4-5 years, it is best suited for incoming freshmen, freshmen, and sophomores. Applicants who wish to join after their freshman or sophomore years must be willing to commit to 4 to 5 additional years of study. All applicants should have a strong scholastic background, a determination to succeed in a demanding program of study, and an interest in the culture and contemporary life of South Asia.

Can international students apply to the HUF program?

While international students may be allowed admission to Hindi/Urdu classes, the program itself is restricted to United States citizens.

What is the procedure for applying for admission to the program?

Simply fill out the HUF online application.

Who is eligible for the Hindi Urdu Flagship program?

HUF is open to all undergraduate UT students who are US citizens. If you are an incoming freshman, you must apply for undergraduate admission to UT.

When is the application deadline?

We encourage students to submit the HUF application by the UT deadline of December 1; however we do consider applications on a rolling basis throughout the year.  Please be aware that the program will take 4-5 years to complete upon joining regardless of your complete credit hours upon admission.

What are the criteria for selection?

Candidates will be selected on the basis of their academic record, teacher recommendations, language aptitude, and the demonstration of a strong commitment to the full HUF program, including the mandatory Year in India.

Does the admissions process include an interview?

Yes, an interview will be conducted either in person or by telephone. All applicants must complete an interview in English in which they discuss their academic and career goals and their reasons for applying to HUF. Students with a background in Hindi and Urdu will undergo a language assessment interview with a HUF faculty member to assess their level of fluency in Hindi and Urdu.

Can graduate students enroll in the program?

No, the program is designed for undergraduate students only.

I am already fluent in Hindi; is direct entry to the second year permitted?

We normally require all students to go through the full four years of the program to ensure that they gain fluency in both Hindi and Urdu; but special cases may be considered and we will be glad to discuss your situation with you.

I speak Hindi/Urdu quite well but cannot read or write. Is this a problem?

No. The fall-semester course in the first year includes detailed and comprehensive instruction in both scripts.

Degree Structure

Do I have to have Hindi or Urdu as my major?

No. Students complete the HUF program while pursuing a UT major of their choice. Because of the amount of Hindi and Urdu coursework, students often complete minors in Hindi or Urdu. Due to the number of credit hours accrued through their HUF coursework and through the year in India, students may add a second major in Asian Cultures and Languages without significant extra coursework.

Does the HUF program lead to a different kind of undergraduate degree?

The HUF program is a complement to a UT major, but does not constitute a full major.

Can I complete the HUF program in conjunction with any major in the UT system?

Most UT majors are compatible with the HUF curriculum. Majors that have especially stringent requirements (such as Engineering) may require that students take summer courses in order to complete all necessary coursework. Degree planning and advising is available through individual college academic advising centers, and through HUF administrative staff.

How does the Flagship program differ from other UT degrees with Hindi and Urdu?

HUF offers a more intensive approach to the study of the languages than other programs, and integrates the language study with other subjects relating to South Asia. It teaches Hindi and Urdu as mutually complementary languages, ensuring that all students become fluent in both. HUF has an additional focus on the acquisition of language for practical purposes, especially in professional contexts such as medicine and business. The Year in India and the professional internship are unique to HUF program. HUF students also enjoy additional tutorial support and mentoring from faculty, in addition to a wide range of special activities arranged throughout the academic year.

What are the requirements for successful completion of HUF?

In addition to the regular UT requirements, students must achieve at least a B in the Flagship core language course each semester, and must also take certain other associated course such as the Introduction to India course. All components of the Year in India are required, including coursework and the Internship. During the final year of the program, students must complete their Senior Project for successful completion of the program. Students must maintain an overall GPA of at least 3.0 throughout their degree.

Will I be able to graduate on time?

The time needed to fulfill all graduation requirements depends on several factors: your language level upon entering the program, your major, your number of complete credit hours upon entering UT, and adherence to your degree plan. For example, for an incoming freshman entering through the Foundation Year, the program takes 5 years to complete provided that all major and UT requirements are fulfilled. Students in majors with especially demanding degree plans may need to enroll in summer classes in order to graduate within 4 to 5 years. HUF encourages students to maintain consistent contact with their advisors in order to monitor their academic progress

What level of proficiency in Hindi and Urdu will be reached by the time I graduate, and how is proficiency assessed?

Each language course has its own system of examination and yields a credit towards your degree in the normal way. Successful students will achieve a high level of fluency in all the language skills, and will be able to function with confidence in a wide range of contexts of language use, as required in various professional fields. In terms of nationally recognized proficiency levels, we aim to bring students to Level 3 on the ILR scale, which may also be expressed as “Superior Level” on the ACTFL scale . Students are required to achieve ILR Level 2 before departing for the Year in India. In addition to their linguistic competence, students will also acquire a sophisticated understanding and appreciation of the cultural backgrounds to the languages.

Can I concentrate on either Hindi or Urdu, without taking both?

No. Hindi and Urdu are sister languages whose major differences apparent in the two scripts and specialized vocabularies; they are taught in parallel throughout the program. As students progress through the program, they may elect to focus primarily on one language or the other, but the study of both will be maintained throughout the four years.

Is it possible for me to study any other South Asian languages (besides Hindi and Urdu) within the program?

The Asian Studies Department currently offers courses in Bengali, Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu, and Malayalam as well as Hindi and Urdu. For information on these courses please see the Asian Studies website. You are free to study those languages, but for some majors it may be difficult to fit them into your degree program.

Courses

Who teaches HUF courses?

Language courses are taught by instructors and faculty from the Department of Asian Studies; their teaching is augmented by TAs with advanced proficiency in Hindi and/or Urdu. The availability of help from TAs in all aspects of language learning is a key feature of the program.

Does the HUF program include the study of literature?

Yes. The study of Hindi and Urdu literatures is one of the best ways to achieve an appreciation of the cultures and societies underlying these languages. HUF professors have a particular interest in literature and cover a wide range of genres and periods. Additionally, a distinctive feature of the program is our pursuit of language across a wide range of contexts, for example by studying the kinds of language used in professional situations, in practical “real-world” settings, and in a variety of academic disciplines.

Overseas Study

Is the Summer in India obligatory?

At this time, the Summer in India is not required for all students, but may be strongly recommended for specific cases. Students entering through the Foundation Year are strongly encouraged to complete the summer program.

Is the Year in India obligatory?

Yes, study abroad in India is an essential and integrated part of the HUF program.

How do I get a visa for study in India?

HUF assists students in application for visas through the Indian Consulate General in Houston. This process can take time, and we encourage students to apply several months in advance of their intended travel. This is particularly important for individuals with family or other connections to Pakistan.If you have dual Pakistan-US citizenship, you are required to inform the HUF staff.

What does the Year in India involve?

The Year in India is designed to be a true immersion experience in which Hindi-Urdu are encountered and used in both everyday and professional contexts. Students spend the Fall semester in Jaipur, focusing on Hindi, and the Spring semester in Lucknow, where they focus on Urdu. Students take intensive language courses at the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS). The capstone of the Year in India is the professional Internship, which gives students invaluable experience in using their language in real-world situations.

How much support and guidance is offered to students during the Year in India?

HUF’s Year in India partner, the American Institute of Indian Studies, has many years of experience in helping American students to study and live in India (including many who have not been to the subcontinent before). AIIS also takes care of many practical aspects of students’ life while abroad, including arranging the home-stays with local families.  AIIS has developed a sophisticated support system dealing with all aspects of the study abroad experience. All students are fully briefed on issues of health, security, and cultural sensibilities. HUF staff also assists students prepare for the year abroad, and maintains close contact by email with all students throughout their year abroad.

What kinds of internship opportunities are available during the Year in India?

We try to provide each student with an internship that is relevant to his or her major and/or professional goals. Students in the past have interned in NGOs centered on women’s issues, hospitals, charitable clinics, and in media outlets.

Will I be able to travel during the Year in India?

Educational visits to various cities such as Varanasi and Hyderabad are organized as part of the program. Students also have the opportunity to travel on their own during the AIIS breaks.

What are the living arrangements during the Year in India?

Students stay with families within easy reach of the American Institute of Indian Studies, where courses are held. The host families, which are carefully selected by the AIIS, provide a secure and pleasant environment in which to live throughout the Year in India.

Financial Aid

Does HUF provide any financial support for students?

HUF is not able to guarantee funding; however students may have the opportunity to apply for competitive scholarships. HUF students are eligible for the College of Liberal Arts HUF Scholarship, which has a separate application through the College of Liberal Arts Scholarship website. HUF currently offers funding to select students for the Year in India at AIIS. All HUF scholarships are awarded on a competitive basis, with criteria being academic performance, engagement and dedication to HUF, and participation in HUF events. All students are encouraged to apply for scholarships and financial aid through UT and outside scholarships. To be eligible for UT financial aid, students must submit a FAFSA application.

Careers

Am I required to work in government jobs after graduating?

There is no service requirement for HUF graduates, though government agencies encourage certified Flagship graduates to apply for employment. For students who wish to apply for work in government agencies, completion of the HUF program can contribute to a competitive application. Opportunities to learn about government employment are offered from time to time.

Resources

I am studying (or teaching) Hindi and Urdu elsewhere: can I get access to any of your teaching materials?

Certainly. A range of audio-visual and other material has been specially developed by HUF faculty and is available on our website. Certain materials can also be accessed through iTunes. HUF does not charge for the use of these materials, though we are always grateful for a note of acknowledgement if they are built into formal syllabi. We are also very glad to get feedback from users, whether teachers or students.

I am an instructor in Hindi or Urdu at another institution and would like to know if HUF offers any training in the teaching of these languages?

HUF offers occasional teaching workshops, and our instructors sometimes take part in teacher training by visiting other institutions. Please contact us for more information.

I have read your online information, but have further questions and/or would like to visit the Hindi Urdu Flagship myself. Can this be arranged?

Certainly. Get in touch with us at hindiurdu@austin.utexas.edu and we will be happy to arrange a visit at which you could meet faculty and staff.