Understanding Tibetan allows speakers to access rich cultural texts and traditions, to play a part in preserving these traditions and gain contemporary links to a country and region undergoing rapid change.

Tibetan is the most widely spoken language in the Himalaya. It is spoken in Tibet, parts of China, northern Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan and parts of India.

It is the language of the Dalai Lama and the language of dharma, the sacred Buddhist teachings. It has an alphabet of thirty letters, no punctuation and has its own unique counting system.

Program Aims

ANU is the only university in Australia to teach Tibetan language and courses are taught entirely online.

ANU teaches Tibetan in both its spoken and literary forms, providing students with a deep understanding of travel and culinary etiquette as well as key concepts in Tibetan identity and Tibetan Buddhism.

Through studying Tibetan at ANU you will join a vibrant community of like-minded students, scholars and philosophers. In addition to working through an interactive e-publication, students will meet weekly through an online virtual classroom with a native-speaking Tibetan tutor.

Career opportunities

With 46% of the world’s population depending on rivers originating from Tibet, some bilingual speakers play a part in persevering these critical water ways. Some graduates play a critical role in preserving sacred texts while others go on to become linguistic and theological scholars. Whichever path students decide, learning Tibetan opens pathways into rewarding careers ranging from:

  • Advocacy
  • Communications
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Diplomacy/ Foreign Affairs
  • Environmental policy
  • Himalayan ecotourism
  • International development
  • International business
  • Interpreting and translation
  • Journalism and media
  • Linguistics
  • Publishing
  • Research and academia
  • Theology

Courses on Offer

TIBN1002          Tibetan 1

TIBN1003          Tibetan 2

Study Online

The two Tibetan language courses are not offered on campus, but are instead available 100% online. Tibetan can be studied as part of an ANU degree, as a non-award subject or cross-institutionally, and is taught through Open Universities Australia.

Online classes are not self-paced, and students will need to log in to a weekly online classroom to attend a minimum of 1.5 hours of classes. All students will need access to a computer, camera (inbuilt or external), a headset with microphone, reliable internet and a smartphone or scanner.

Interested in learning more about the program or how to enrol? We would love to hear from you! Get in touch using our languages enquiry form.

Global Learning Options

Students have multiple opportunities throughout their studies to study in China and South Asia, and are encouraged to have that immersive experience to complement their language learning.

Most short programs and exchange programs are supported by the Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan, with grants provided to students to assist with travel and/or living costs. Please contact the College Student Centre for more information or visit the global programs website.

Updated:  24 April, 2017/Responsible Officer:  Dean, ANU College of Asia & the Pacific/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team