Quechua Language Study

CLACS is proud to offer beginner and intermediate classes in Quechua, an Andean indigenous language spoken by over 10 million people, designated a priority language by the Department of Education.

Quechua at NYU is open to all undergraduate and graduate students at NYU; to Columbia University undergraduate students as well as MA students in Columbia’s MARSLAC program; and to all students in the doctoral consortium.

Quechua is offered on this cycle:
Fall: Beginner Quechua I, Intermediate Quechua I
Spring: Beginner Quechua I, Beginner Quechua II, and Intermediate II

Independent studies at the Advanced level may be available; contact CLACS for more information.

Please see the NYU Schedule of Classes for current course offerings. Undergraduates should search for Quechua through the Department of Spanish & Portuguese.

Quechua courses satisfy the language requirements of the College of Arts of Sciences, of the undergraduate major in Latin American Studies, and of the Graduate School.

If you are a student at Columbia University, please contact Eliza Kwon, ek2159@columbia.edu, for information on enrolling.

If you are a student in the doctoral consortium, please contact CLACS Program Administrator Bel Destefani, belem.destefani@nyu.edu.

  1. A language is a form of understanding and relating to the world. Through the study of a non-European language, you share in these diverse cultural perspectives. (And research confirms that learning new languages can make you smarter.)
  2. Latin America is one of the most linguistically diverse regions of the world, with 30 to 50 million indigenous people speaking more than 550 different languages across 21 countries. When you study indigenous language, you gain an understanding of this foundational aspect of the region.
  3. Indigenous language rights are a pressing concern across Latin America today. When you study indigenous language, you learn about and can participate in indigenous political struggles to recognize and protect native languages.
  4. Latin American indigenous languages are endangered, even a language with as many speakers as Quechua. By studying Quechua, you contribute to indigenous language strength and visibility.
  5. Quechua is your window onto the the dynamic struggles of indigenous communities in emerging “plurinational” states over citizenship, education, culture, law, and territory. For example, see “Peru Congresswoman Fights Discrimination in Education.

Quechua at NYU is open to all undergraduate and graduate students at NYU; to Columbia University undergraduate students as well as MA students in Columbia’s MARSLAC program; and to all students in the Inter-University Doctoral Consortium (IUDC). 


College of Arts and Science undergraduates may study Quechua to fulfill their core language requirement. Quechua also fulfills the language requisite for the undergraduate major in Latin American Studies.

Questions? Please contact us at quechua@nyu.edu.

Charlie Uruchima (BA 2013, MA 2015)

“Studying Quechua at NYU has allowed me to explore and learn more about Quechua communities in the New York Tri-State area. My command in Quechua has translated into recent opportunities to work alongside the Ecuadorian Kichwa-speaking community in New York in creating projects of benefit to this community. One example of this is the founding of Kichwa Hatari, a weekly radio program that I co-host, the first in the Kichwa language in the United States. Several New York institutions and organizations have expressed desires to work with Quechua/Kichwa speaking communities in New York as a result of the community radio work. On many occasions I find myself facilitating these projects and being instrumental in the creative processes that arise from them. This only gives me hope for what more career opportunities might become available in the very near future for Quechua learners like myself and my colleagues.”

Kichwa Hatari on Facebook

New York Times: By Using Language Rooted in Andes, Internet Show’s Hosts Hope to Save It

Doris Loayza (MA 2014)

“The Quechua classes I took at NYU have directly led to wonderful professional opportunities, at time when there are growing numbers of Quechua-speaking immigrants from Latin America in the New York City region. For the past two years I have been working a Quechua interpreter for the Queens (NY) District Court, helping Quechua speakers communicate with lawyers and judges. I am also working on several cultural projects: curating a Quechua Language poetry project for CityLore, a non-profit that does cultural heritage programs in New York; and field producing a new documentary being shot in Peru, with Quechua language interview and translation. In the summer of 2015, I worked with Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, presenting Quechua-speaking artisans from Peru.”