The Punjabi language program in the Department of Asian Studies is one of the largest and longest-standing programs in the world, outside of South Asia.

Community engagement is a crucial component of our program and offers each student experiential learning opportunities to supplement their learning in the classroom. We have partnered with various organizations in Vancouver including the Vancouver International Bhangra Celebration, Dr. Hari Sharma Foundation and others.


The Punjabi language program is a central part of the South Asian language focus area. In your first through third year, our full range of language classes provides you with the fundamentals to learn and speak basic Punjabi. In your fourth year, we offer more advanced classes in Punjabi literature. In Punjabi studies, we also focus on oral history which allows students to explore the local history and experience of the Punjabi-Canadian community.

Placement Tests

Students wishing to enter Punjabi language courses will be interviewed by the instructor on the first day of classes.

Harjit Kaur Sidhu Memorial Program

The Harjit Kaur Sidhu Memorial Program celebrates the rich life of the Punjabi language, its culture, and its importance in BC. The program was established in loving memory of Harjit Kaur Sidhu (nee Gill), devoted wife and mother who was a strong advocate for education, Punjabi language and culture, and women’s issues.

The program’s goal is to encourage and recognize students’ achievements in Punjabi language and culture at UBC and in the broader Vancouver area. Each year, the program features a keynote address from a distinguished scholar, awards for local writers, student-contest winners, and performances.

The 2021 event will be held on Wednesday April 7 at 6:30pm PST, via Zoom. Click here for more details.