New Master’s Degree Program in US Targets Teaching of Hindi

Special article on the occasion of celebration of Hindi Day on January 13 at the Indian Consulate in New York

Over the past decade, there has been an increasing interest in the U.S. in the study of Hindi as an important world language due to India’s emergence as a political and economic power in the global age. This is reflected in the current upward trend in student enrollment at the secondary and post-secondary levels by heritage students (irrespective of their home language, which may be Bengali, Gujarati, Punjabi, etc.) who recognize the growing demand for Hindi-speaking professionals in the business, scientific and health sectors.  Enrollment is also on the rise for non-heritage students who see opportunities for the use of Hindi in the U.S., especially in local businesses in which there are a large concentration of people of Indian origin (hospitality workers, tax accountants, information technology), in addition to law and medical practice, and also worldwide due to India’s economic ties across the globe.

Given the current trend and future projections for the growth of Hindi (the third most common language other than English spoken in homes in the states), leaders in the Hindi education field recognized the need to build capacity for the teaching of Hindi in the U.S. (where most Hindi teachers lack formal teacher preparation) that would support the training of a “new breed of teachers” prepared to teach Hindi to 21st century digital learners. These teachers would learn about research-based best practices for effective teaching of languages that include language learning in real world contexts and in contemporary learning environments incorporating the use of current and emerging technologies. With well trained teachers, who actively engage students in learning Hindi for meaningful, real world purposes, the vision is to attract yet a greater percentage of students who “value” and wish to further pursue the study of Hindi for its long-term worth in our modern society. (It is well documented that instructional practices influence students’ inclination to study the language and impact efforts to promote the teaching and learning of Hindi).


New Jersey based Kean University’s program is the only master’s degree program in Hindi and Urdu foreign language pedagogy in the U.S.


A Master’s Degree Program in Hindi and Urdu Language Pedagogy was developed at Kean University with support by federal funding. This program is the only master’s degree program in Hindi and Urdu foreign language pedagogy in the U.S. Although there are domestic institutions of higher education offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs in Hindi and Urdu as foreign languages, none of these institutions offer undergraduate/graduate Hindi/Urdu teacher preparation programs or a concentration in the field of Hindi/Urdu language-specific language pedagogy at the graduate level. Graduate level pedagogy programs are also non-existent in the Hindi/Urdu language field in other countries, including India and Pakistan.  The program builds upon Kean’s well established reputation for teacher education due to its innovative approach to Hindi and Urdu teacher preparation and the potential development of a corpus of research lacking in the field of Hindi/Urdu language pedagogy.

The first cohort of MA students will graduate from the program in spring 2018.  Applications are currently being accepted for the next cohort of students which begin the program in fall 2018 and are available online at

 While the application deadline is June 1, 2018, interested individuals are encouraged to apply as early as possible as partial scholarships are available on a limited basis for the first 10 qualified applicants (subject to availability of federal funding on an annual basis).  The program seeks applicants who are Native/Advanced speakers of Hindi or Urdu that reside in the U.S. and possess a Bachelor’s Degree. Applicants should be willing to complete the 2-year 30-credit program which consists of seven online courses and four onsite courses (offered at the Kean University Union Campus for 3-weeks during 2-consecutive summers and include clinical practice). Upon completion of the program, graduates will be able to: teach in private schools and/or government schools, colleges/universities and in heritage language community schools using contemporary research-based best practices in language education; conduct research on second language-specific pedagogy or in the field of Hindi/Urdu Second Language Acquisition leading to a doctoral program; and/or pursue Alternate Route teacher certification options available in NJ and in most states in order to teach in public school settings. For additional information, interested individuals may contact Janis Jensen, Program Director, at [email protected].

(Janis Jensen is Program Director of STARTALK Language Initiatives at Kean University where she oversees Hindi/Urdu Student Summer Programs and the MA Degree Program in Hindi/Urdu Language Pedagogy.)

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