Tibetan is the language of the Tibetan people: its various dialects are spoken over an area the size of Western Europe, stretching from Baltistan (Pakistan) in the west to Sichuan Province (China) in the east. Its linguistic range extends beyond Lake Kokonor (in the province of Qinghai, China) to the north, and its southern limits are the southern slopes of the Himalayas, encompassing the independent state of Bhutan, Sikkim, the high valleys of Mustang, and the region of Everest inhabited by the Sherpas of Nepal.

Tibetan is also spoken in diasporic Tibetan communities in India, the USA, Europe, and elsewhere. Tibetan literature embraces a wide variety of arts and sciences ranging from epics and poetry to medicine, grammar, rhetoric, and Buddhist philosophy. For anyone who is concerned for the Tibetan people and culture, studying the Tibetan language is a way to contribute to the continuation of the Tibetan tradition.

Majors & Certificates

Languages and Cultures of Asia Major, South Asian Studies Certificate; visit the Majors & Certificates page for more information.


Rachel Weiss, rweiss@wisc.edu

Student Organizations 

Tibetan Students Association of Madison; browse the Wisconsin Involvement Network for more information.


Consider an internship where you can use Tibetan, either in the US or abroad. An internship in any field can complement your language study and can provide valuable professional experience.