BA South East Asian Studies is a three-year programme that strikes an exciting balance between the study of a South East Asian language (Burmese, Indonesian, Thai or Vietnamese) and the cultures of the region. Competence in a South East Asian language is developed as a tool for exploring the culture for which a spoken language is a vehicle.
The syllabus introduces its subject through the broad media of language, culture, literature and cinema with options also to gain knowledge of South East Asian history, politics, economics, linguistics, religious studies, music, art and archaeology, anthropology and others.
This degree is ideal for students who do not seek the intensive engagement with language demanded by the four-year degrees, but who desire a working knowledge of the language to enhance their engagement with the diversity of South East Asian culture.
Programme Code: T302 BA/SEASt
Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings
Start of programme: September
Mode of Attendance: Full-time
- 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:
- 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.
- 33 (5/5/5)
View alternative entry requirements
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
- 3 years
- UK fees:
- Overseas fees:
Fees for 2021/22 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
Compulsory Language Module
Choose a language at a suitable level from Burmese, Indonesian, Thai or Vietnamese. This would typically be level 1 of the chosen language.
Please take the module below OR choose 30 credits from List B
Choose a further 30 credits from List B or an open option from another department at an approved level.
You must take both of the following modules.
A language module which is a continuation of the Year 1 language or 30 credits from List A.
30 credits from List A or a second approved language module.
Choose 30 credits from List A, List C or an open option at an approved level.
A South East Asian language or modules to the value of 30 credits from List A.
A second approved language or modules to the value of 30 credits from List A or List C.
30 credits from List A, List C or an open option.
List of Approved Modules
South East Asian Language Modules
Non-Language South East Asian Modules
List B: Introductory South East Asia related modules
These modules are for first year students only.
Year 2 and Final Year South East Asia related modules. Please check any pre-requisites.
The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. If you are a current student you can find structure information on the previous year link at the top of the page or through your Department. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.
Teaching & Learning
All full-time undergraduate programmes consist of 120 credits per year, taught in modules of 30 credits (taught over 20 weeks) or 15 credits (taught over 10 weeks). The programme structure shows which modules are compulsory and which optional.
As a rough guide, 1 credit equals approximately 10 hours of work. Most of this will be independent study (see Approaches to teaching and learning at SOAS). It will also include class time, which may include lectures, seminars and other classes. Some subjects, such as learning a language, have more class time than others.
In the School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics, undergraduate modules take various forms. Modules may be taught through 1 or 2 hours of lectures a week, and some may have an additional 1-2 hours of weekly seminars. Languages classes may be 4-5 hours per week in the first and second year, typically less at higher levels.
More information is on the page for each module.
Introductory and intermediate modules in a South East Asian language use a wide variety of learning experiences and techniques. Most other units are taught by formal lecture and with related tutorials. Assessment is by a combination of written examination and coursework.
The SOAS'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.
Pre Entry Reading
Suggestions for preliminary reading
- Baker, C. and Pasuk Phongpaichit. 2009. A history of Thailand. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Cornwel-Smith, P. 2005. Very Thai. Bangkok: River Books.
- Hellwig, T. and Tagliacozzo, E. (eds). 2009. The Indonesia reader: history, culture, politics. Durham: Duke University Press.
- Jamieson, N. 1995. Understanding Vietnam. Berkely: University of California Press.
- Mulder, N. 2000. Inside Thai society: religion, everyday life, change. Chiangmai: Silkworm Books.
- Nguyen Van Huy and Kendall, L. (eds). 2003. Vietnam: journeys of body,
mind, and spirit. Berkeley: University of California Press.
- Owen, N. (ed.). 2005. The emergence of modern Southeast Asia. Honolulu: University of Hawaii.
- Ricklefs, M.C., Lockhart, B. Lau, A. Reyes, P. and Maitrii Aung-Thwin. 2010. A new history of South East Asia. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
- Robson, S.O. 2004. Welcome to Indonesian, a beginner's survey of the language. Boston: Tuttle.
- Taylor, J.G. 2003. Indonesia: peoples and histories. New Haven:Yale University Press.
- Taylor, K. 2013. A history of the Vietnamese. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Vickers, A. 2005. A history of modern Indonesia. New York:Cambridge University Press.
Full details of undergraduate tuition fees can be found on the Registry's Undergraduate Tuition Fees page.
Fees for 2021/22 entrants. The fees below are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year.
|BA, BSc, LLB
|BA/BSc Language Year Abroad
For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section
As a graduate who specialised in the South East Asian region, you will have gained 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, history, cinema, politics, economics or law. 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.
Graduates have gone on to work for a range of organisations including:
Burmese Refugee Project
Dept for Environment, Food and Rural affairs
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
Karenni Student Development Programme
LCC Children's Services
|Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Netherlands
Semporna Islands Project
Suzhou Education Bureau
Medical Defence Union
Child in Need Institute
Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:
|Senior Heritage Consultant
|Professor of History
English Language Assistant
Learning and Development Officer
SVP Business Development
International Marketing Executive
For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.
A Student's Perspective
Magda Biran Taylor
I always maintained my early interest in South East Asia and hoped to return to SOAS one day, in order to complete my studies. The opportunity to do this occurred when I retired. I am now studying for an MA in South East Asian Studies.