SOAS University of London

Department of the Languages and Cultures of South East Asia

BA Burmese (Myanmar) and...

duration:
Combined Honours - 3 years or 4 years (including a year abroad). Students can also take Burmese throughout their degree and spend their year abroad in Burma by taking the programme BA South East Asian Studies (including year abroad).

Fees 2017/18

UK/EU fees:
£9,250
Overseas fees:
£16,575


Fees for 2017/18 entrants. The fees are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. Further details can be found in the Fees and Funding tab on this page or in the Registry Undergraduate Tuition Fees page

2017 Entry requirements

  • Subjects Preferred: No
  • Interview Policy: Candidates with non-standard qualifications may be invited for interview, though many applications are assessed on the basis of the UCAS forms alone.
A Levels:
ABB
While a foreign language at A-level will be useful we strongly encourage students with less traditional backgrounds to apply or to discuss their application with the department.
IB:
33 (5/5/5)

View alternative entry requirements

BTEC: DDM

Access to HE: Minimum of 30 Level 3 Credits at Distinction

Scottish Highers: AABBB

Scottish Advanced Highers: ABB

Irish LC: 320 points from 5 Higher level subjects at grade C1 or above

Advanced Placement: 4 4 4 (Two semesters - UCAS Group A) plus US HSGD with GPA 3.0

Euro Bacc: 80%

French Bacc: 14/20

German Abitur: 2.0

Italy DES: 80/100

Austria Mat: 2.0

Polish Mat: Overall 75% including 3 extended level subjects

Featured events

  • Overview
  • Combinations
  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Fees and funding
  • Employment
  • Apply

Overview

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Start of programme: September

Mode of Attendance: Full-time

Degree Profile
Burmese is the national language and the language of the largest ethnic group (the ‘Burmans’) in Burma/Myanmar. Burmese is related to Tibetan and is an important language in the study of Theravada Buddhism as well as many other fields of cultural and social-scientific work.

Students find that the study of Burmese, as well as guaranteeing a warm welcome in a society that captivates most visitors to the country, enables them to view the culture in a more informed perspective.

The range of expertise in SOAS, not only in Burmese and South East Asian studies, but also with regard to languages and literatures of other regions is unique in UK institutions. Along with proven excellence in other disciplines, such as religious studies, anthropology, art and archaeology, and history, this offers students an unparalleled range of options in choosing their second subject of study.

The programme may be studied as a 3- or 4-year degree programme, with the option of a year abroad in Burma.

One of the most exciting aspects of the combined degree in Burmese at SOAS is the very rare opportunity to spend a year in Burma/Myanmar. The numbers of students taking up the Year Abroad option have been few in recent years, but those that have undertaken it have had wonderful experiences and the benefits for their proficiency in Burmese are obviously considerable. Students should expect to go to Burma alone or with one or two others at the most. The exact nature of the Year Abroad is tailor-made to suit the student and situation in the country at the time. Study is either with private tutors in Yangon, or may include tuition at the Yangon University of Foreign Languages, or a combination of both. The programme is flexible, though, and students with an interest or connections in another part of the country should get in touch to discuss their preferences.

The School’s teaching is backed up by the South East Asia collection within the SOAS library, one of the world’s major collections of information in the field of South East Asian studies. The South East Asia collection now contains over 6500 books and pamphlets and 550 periodical titles as well as substantial collections of microfilms and manuscripts.

Convenors

Key Information Set Data


Please see the Unistats data for the various combinations of this programme under the Combinations tab.

Combinations

May be combined with:

* Taught at King's College, London

Students wishing to combine this subject with Management Studies should contact the Head of Department or Undergraduate Tutor for information.  See Department Staff page for contact details.

Key Information Set data

Click on a combined programme to load KIS data

Structure

You will study four 120 credits each year chosen from a wide range of available modules relating to various aspects of South East Asia, including a Burmese language module. Certain modules may, if you wish, be an open option module not related to the degree programme, subject to availability and approval of the Department.

The first year features an introductory Burmese language module for complete beginners in the language taught at a deliberately intensive pace. The module aims to equip the student with a command of the script and sound system, and a useful range of vocabulary and grammatical structures. It provides practice in speaking and oral comprehension, with simple conversations and recorded listening material; and in reading and writing, using elementary texts in both the colloquial and the literary style, including personal correspondence. You will also take the modules Introduction to South East Asia and South East Asia on Film, which together provide a foundation in the past and present of South East Asian culture. The other two modules are taken in the other subject of your degree.

In Year 2 you will take Burmese Language 2, an intermediate language module designed to develop the language skills acquired in the first year, incorporating the study of a range of contemporary prose texts and recorded audio material. You will also take at least a further half-module in South East Asian literature in translation, in addition to further modules in your other subject.

If you choose to do so, you may spend the third year studying Burmese in Burma. Arrangements vary from year to year to suit your preferences and the situation in the country at the time.

In the final year, you will take the advanced language module Burmese Language and Texts, designed to develop language skills and at the same time enhance the student’s understanding of Burmese culture and values through the study of a range of contemporary texts and recorded audio material, which can often be selected to reflect your particular interests.

Year 1: (3 or 4 Year Degree)
Core Module
Module Code Unit value Term Availability
Burmese Language 1 155900910 1 UnitFull Year
Compulsory Modules

Students take the following modules:

Module Code Unit value Term Availability
Introduction to South East Asia 155901320 0.5 UnitsTerm 1
South East Asia on Film 155901318 0.5 UnitsTerm 2
Other Subject

60 credits are taken in the second subject.

Year 2: (3 or 4 Year Degree)
Core Module
Module Code Unit value Term Availability
Burmese Language 2 155900997 1 UnitFull Year
Compulsory Module
Module Code Unit value Term Availability
Cultural Studies of Mainland South East Asia 155907003 0.5 UnitsTerm 1
Optional Module

Choose modules to the value of 30 credits from List A.

Other Subject

60 credits are taken in the second subject.

Year 3: (3 Year Degree)
Core Module
Module Code Unit value Term Availability
Burmese Language and Texts 155900998 1 UnitFull Year
Compulsory Modules

Choose modules from List A to the value of 30 credits.

Other Subject

60 credits are taken in the second subject.

Year 3: (4 Year Degree)

Year abroad in SE Asia. See the Teaching & Learning tab for more details.

Year 4: (4 Year Degree)
Core Module
Module Code Unit value Term Availability
Burmese Language and Texts 155900998 1 UnitFull Year
Compulsory Modules

Choose modules from List A to the value of 30 credits.

Other Subject

60 credits are taken in the second subject.

List A
Module Code Unit value Term Availability
Vietnam on Screen 155907004 0.5 UnitsTerm 2
Thailand on Screen (post '97) 155901317 0.5 UnitsTerm 2
Orientalism on Screen 155901413 0.5 UnitsTerm 2
Queer Cinema in Asia 155907000 0.5 UnitsTerm 1
Indonesia on Screen 155901354 0.5 UnitsTerm 1 Not Running 2017/2018
Cultural Studies of Island South East Asia 155907002 0.5 UnitsTerm 2
War, Revolution and Independence in South East Asian Literatures in Translation 155901316 0.5 UnitsTerm 1
The City and the Countryside in South East Asian Literatures 155901326 0.5 UnitsTerm 1 Not Running 2017/2018
English Literatures of South East Asia 155901410 0.5 UnitsTerm 1 Not Running 2017/2018
Under Western Eyes: European Writings on South East Asia 155907001 0.5 UnitsTerm 2 Not Running 2017/2018
Jawi and the Manuscript Tradition 155901312 0.5 UnitsTerm 2 Not Running 2017/2018
List A (Final Year only)
Module Code Unit value Term Availability
Extended Essay in South East Asian Studies 155901307 0.5 UnitsTerm 1

Programme Specification

Disclaimer

Teaching and Learning

Year abroad

One of the most exciting aspects of the combined degree in Burmese at SOAS is the very rare opportunity to spend a year in Burma/Myanmar. Students lucky enough to take up the Year Abroad option have had wonderful experiences and the benefits for their proficiency in Burmese are considerable. Students should expect to go to Burma alone or with one or two others at the most and will be largely responsible for their own living and travel arrangements. The exact nature of the Year Abroad is tailor-made to suit the student and situation in the country at the time. Language study will likely include both tuition with known private tutors in Yangon, and one or two full-time intensive modules at a private language school in Yangon. Students may combine their study with an internship or with a volunteer post, arranged in consultation with the Burmese programme convenor to suit individual interests.

Teaching & Learning

Language teaching is mostly in small tutorial groups; tapes and language laboratory facilities are available for formal teaching and self-study. Non-language modules are taught by lecture and seminar.

Students are assessed by a combination of written examination (and oral for language units) and coursework, including essays and translations.

SOAS Library

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.

Pre Entry Reading

Recommended academic reading on Burma
  • Charney, M. (2009). A History of Modern Burma. Cambridge University Press.
  • Cheesman, N., M. Skidmore and T. Wilson (eds) (2010). Ruling Myanmar: From Cyclone Nargis to National Elections. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, National University of Singapore.
  • Fink, Christina. (2001). Living silence: Burma under military rule. London: Zed Books.
  • Lintner, Bertil.  (1990) Outrage: Burma's struggle for democracy.  Bangkok: White Lotus.  
  • Maung Maung (1999).  The 1988 Uprising in Burma.  New Haven:  Yale Southeast Asia Studies, monograph 49.
  • Myint-U, Thant. (2001).  The making of modern Burma.  Cridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Smith, Martin. (1999)  Burma: insurgency and the politics of ethnicity (2nd edition). London: Zed Books.
  • Smith, Martin. (2002).  Burma (Myanmar): the time for change.  London: Minority Rights Group International.
  • Steinberg, David I. (2001).  Burma, the state of Myanmar. Washington DC:  Georgetown University Press.
  • Steinberg, David I. (2009). Burma/Myanmar: what everyone needs to know.  Oxford University Press.
  • Pedersen, M., E. Rudland and R. May (eds) (2000). Burma-Myanmar:  Strong Regime, Weak State? Adelaide: Crawford House.
  • Taylor, Robert. (2008). The State in Myanmar. C Hurst & Co.
  • Watkins, Justin (2007) ‘Burma/Myanmar’ in A. Simpson (ed.) Language and National Identity in Asia. London: Oxford University Press.
Burma-related fiction / non-fiction / literature / holiday reading:
  • Aung San Suu Kyi. (1995).  Freedom from Fear and other writings. London: Penguin Books.
  • Aung San Suu Kyi. (1997).  Letters from Burma.   London: Penguin Books.
  • Connelly, Karen. (2007). The Lizard Cage. London: Harvill Secker
  • Delisle, Guy. (2006) Burma Chronicles. (graphic novel). Jonathan Cape.
  • Ghosh, Amitav. (2001). The Glass Palace.  London: HarperCollins.
  • Khoo-Thwe, Pascal. (2002). From the Land of Green Ghosts. London: HarperCollins.
  • Larkin, Emma. (2005). Finding George Orwell in Burma. Granta Books.
  • Larkin, Emma. (2010). Everything is Broken. Granta Books
  • Mason, Daniel. (2002). The Piano Tuner. London: Picador.
  • Marshall, Andrew (2002) The Trouser People. London: Viking.
  • Myint-U, Thant. (2007)  The River of Lost Footsteps. London: Faber.
  • Orwell, George. Burmese Days. Penguin Classics.
  • Thanegi, Ma. (2005). The Native Tourist: A Holiday Pilgrimage in Myanmar. Silkworm Books.
Sources of Burma-related news on the web:

You can, of course, find much more using Google, Facebook and the other usual internet methods.  

Fees and funding

Tuition Fees

Full details of undergraduate tuition fees can be found on the Registry's Undergraduate Tuition Fees page.

Fees for 2017/18 entrants. The fees below are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. 

ProgrammeFull-Time
UK/EU
Students
Overseas
Students
BA, BSc, LLB £9,250 £16,575
BA/BSc Language Year Abroad £1,387.50 £8,288
Scholarships
Undergraduate Research Awards

Application Deadline: 2017-04-17 17:00

For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section

Employment

As a graduate who specialised in Burmese, you will have gained competency in language skills and intercultural awareness and understanding. Familiarity with the region will have been developed through a study of language in combination with literature, development studies, economics, geography, history, history of art and archaeology, law, linguistics, music, politics, social anthropology or religion.

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, both in business and in 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. Choosing to study a joint degree programme will increase the breadth of your knowledge, and will develop additional skills with which to further your studies of the region, or to make comparative study with other areas. The study of Burmese may be combined with a huge range of other disciplines. For more information on the extra skills you will gain from your second subject, please see the relevant departmental page.

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

A Student's Perspective

Not only does SOAS offer a first class education with top scholars in the field, it also offers a great professional and social network. Upon graduation, my professional career path was wide opened. The SOAS experience has taught me to be a specialist in different fields, not only politics, but also development, gender and migration, and good governance.

Dinita Setyawati

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    By phone:
    +44 (0)20 7898 4700
    By email:
    study@soas.ac.uk
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