South East Asia Section


The South East Asia department of the School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics is unique in the UK as a centre for teaching and research on the languages, literatures, cinemas and cultures of South East Asia.

Our academic and teaching staff are committed to encouraging a world-leading environment for students and researchers. SOAS provides unrivalled access to this culturally diverse, fast developing and strategically important region.

Meet the academics.

Facts and figures

8th in UK

Complete University Guide 2021 (South Asian Studies)

Why choose SOAS for South East Asian studies?

South East Asia is a diverse region with a fascinating mix of cultures, languages, religions and traditions. It is also a dynamic, fast developing region that is assuming an increasingly important strategic role in global affairs.

Nothing can match the intensity and depth of engagement with a different culture than that achieved through knowledge of a local language and in our section we are committed to delivering specialist language-based scholarship in combination with regional focus and disciplinary skills.

We collaborate with several universities across South East Asia to offer our students an opportunity to spend a year of study abroad.

The year abroad takes place during the third year of study and provides a unique opportunity for students to advance their linguistic skills, gain a deeper insight into different societies and cultures and apply their skills to independent study projects.

Our research

The Department offers the widest coverage in Europe of research and teaching related to the languages, literatures, and cultures of the principal countries of South East Asia, and is the only department of a British university within which these subjects can be studied as part of a named degree.

Its primary commitment is to five languages (Burmese, Indonesian/Malay, Khmer, Thai, and Vietnamese) and their literatures, cinemas and associated cultures.

The research and teaching in this Department draw heavily upon the resources of the Library’s extensive South East Asia collection, and are closely connected with the work of many of the School’s other Departments.