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As a geographic gateway to Southeast Asia and Eastern Asia, growing opportunities are emerging from Myanmar. This means Burmese speakers can take a leading role in this fast-changing country and rising region.

Burmese is the official language of Myanmar, which has a population of 54 million, around 70% of who are native speakers of the language.  Burmese is also the main lingua-franca in the country as well as in Myanmar communities worldwide, including London, San Francisco, Tokyo, Singapore and major Australian cities.  Located in the far-west region of Southeast Asia, bordering Bangladesh, India, China, Laos and Thailand, Myanmar’s geostrategic location, recent democratization and economic growth and expansion of Burmese language online publications, is attracting increasing international attention.  Well-known as a Buddhist country, Myanmar at the same time embraces many ethnic groups with a diversity of cultures.  Let’s meet the people of this country!


Our two-year course consisting of four language proficiency levels, is designed to equip students with a solid foundational knowledge of Burmese reading skills as well as daily conversational ability while also including awareness of Myanmar’s culture, society and history. To achieve these goals, we focus on understanding spoken Burmese throughout the two-year course.  The basic knowledge of literary Burmese, as used in authentic materials, will also be introduced in order to help students further their research on Myanmar. Our teaching also emphasises the development of listening comprehension skills through many audio-lingual materials, focusing on the joy of listening. If you wish to know more about your Myanmar friends, pay close attention to what they are saying. This will enhance your understanding plus develop the quality of your conversations with them.

Study options

The ANU Burmese Program was established as a Minor Degree Course in 2016 with the subjects being open to both undergraduate and postgraduate students. It is also possible to take a single subject as an elective, depending on your language proficiency.  Since 2020 this two-year program is now offered exclusively via online modules and is also available through Open Universities Australia. Our weekly live Zoom classroom is a vital part of our language training and students will need 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. ANU has a strong history of Myanmar research and our students will be invited to academic events organized by the ANU Myanmar Research Centre.

Undergraduate courses Burmese 1Burmese 2Burmese 3 and Burmese 4. See ANU Programs and Courses for study options. See Open Universities Australia for studying Burmese 1-4 as subject.

The School of Culture, History and Language places a unique emphasis on in-country experience. For more information on exchange programs and in-country language opportunities, visit the ANU global programs or enquire