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Department of the Languages and Cultures of South East Asia

MA Pacific Asian Studies

Duration: One year (full-time) Two or three years (part-time)


Minimum Entry Requirements: Minimum upper second class honours (or equivalent)

Start of programme: September intake only

The region known as "Pacific Asia" can be defined in various ways, but the "core" countries are China, Japan, Korea and the ASEAN nations (Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and the Philippines). Together, they make up one of the most diverse and important regions in the world.

SOAS has more expertise in this part of the world than any other institution in Western Europe; indeed there are very few places anywhere in the world that can boast the same range of expertise.

This degree is a way of bringing together the large number of modules on Pacific Asia currently on offer in SOAS Masters programmes for Chinese Studies, Japanese Studies, South East Asian Studies, and Korean Studies.

The modules chosen must cover three of the four regions of China and Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia.


Students take modules to the value of three taught units, one of which is considered a major, and complete a 10,000-word dissertation related to the major.

As a Regional Studies programme students will be expected to select their modules from more than one discipline, The two minor units can be taken from the same discipline (but different to that of the major) or two different ones. The modules chosen must cover three of the four regions of China and Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia.

Art and Archaeology
Available as a minor only
Available as a major only
International Studies and Diplomacy
Language (one language option as a minor only)
Law (minor only)

Appropriate language skills are required.

Available as a minor only

No language requirement.

Available as a minor only
Available as a minor only

Programme Specification


Teaching & Learning

Teaching & Learning

Lectures and Seminars

For most modules there is one 2-hour class each week. This may be an informal lecture followed by a discussion or student presentation. At Masters level there is particular emphasis on seminar work where students may be expected to make full-scale presentations for units they take.


The 10,000-word dissertation on an approved topic linked with one of the taught modules.

Learning Resources

SOAS Library is one of the world's most important academic libraries for the study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, attracting scholars from all over the world. The Library houses over 1.2 million volumes, together with significant archival holdings, special collections and a growing network of electronic resources.


As a student specialising in Pacific Asia, you will gain competency in language skills and intercultural awareness and understanding. Familiarity with the region will have been developed through a combination of the study of language, literature and culture (which can include literature, film, music, art and religion) of various parts of Pacific Asia.

Graduates leave SOAS not only with linguistic and cultural expertise, but also with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek in many professional and management careers in both business and the public sector. These include written and oral communication skills, attention to detail, analytical and problem-solving skills, and the ability to research, amass and order information from a variety of sources.

For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.

A Student's Perspective

The South East Asia (SEA) Department therefore becomes an ideal place to explore this particular topic as the department provides interesting courses in Thai cinema conducted by internationally prominent lecturers.

Atit Pongpanit