Courses Available from September 2015
Manchester Metropolitan University has become the first University in the country to offer students the possibility of studying Urdu to degree level.
The new undergraduate courses, which will be available from September 2015, will offer students the possibility to study Urdu to degree level as part of a combined honours degree, and to have Urdu acknowledged in their degree title.
They will enable students to get an academic qualification in a language spoken by close to 100 million people around the world, and in countries that are important trade partners of the United Kingdom.
To celebrate this, the Department of Languages, Information and Communications at the University have organised an ‘Urdu Launch and Celebration Day’ at MMU for school pupils on Wednesday March 25 from 10am to 2pm.
The day will comprise pupil workshops in the morning run by Qaisra Shahraz, a British-Pakistani novelist and scriptwriter, and Sheraz Ali, a lecturer at the University of Manchester, with live performances in the afternoon.
Urdu, which is the official language of Pakistan alongside English, is also spoken in India, in the Middle East, in Canada, and in the USA.
In the UK, the Urdu-speaking community numbers about four hundred thousand people, not only in the North West (particularly in and around Manchester) but also in the North (Leeds and Bradford), in the West Midlands, in various areas of London, and in parts of Scotland.
Urdu is offered in UK schools at GCSE and A level, and there are an average of 5000 pupils taking GCSE and 500 taking A level exams every year. Up to now, there was no opportunity to take the study of Urdu higher than secondary school.
Urdu can be studied to degree level alongside a range of subjects (e.g. French and Spanish, English, Business and International Business, International Politics), but it is also available as an elective subject in a much larger number of degree programmes. It is currently offered to students who are complete beginners up to intermediate level, but plans are afoot to extend the levels to Advanced.
Dr Sharon Handley, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Languages and Social Science said: “I am delighted that the Department of Languages, Information and Communications is launching a Minor Route in Urdu, in response to demand for Urdu which is the fourth most popular language at GCSE after French, Spanish and German despite the fact that many schools do not offer Urdu as a subject.
“This initiative will enable many students who did not have the opportunity to study Urdu at school to do so in combination with another subject to degree level, opening up many new opportunities to them.
“MMU is leading on a range of initiatives to promote a diversification of languages in response to the strategic needs of the Government and Business, and this is an important step forwards, also illustrating MMUs commitment to serving the diverse communities within this region.”