SOAS University of London

Department of the Languages and Cultures of South East Asia

BA South East Asian Studies (including year abroad)

4 years

Fees 2017/18

UK/EU fees:
Overseas fees:

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

  • Interview Policy: Candidates with "non-standard" qualifications may be invited for interview
A Levels:
A Level language preferred
35 (6/6/5)

View alternative entry requirements


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

Scottish Highers: AAABB

Scottish Advanced Highers: AAB

Irish LC: 340 points from 5 Higher level subjects at grade C1 or above

Advanced Placement: 4 4 5 (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

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Mode of Attendance: Full-time

South East Asian Studies (including year abroad) is a single-subject degree taught over four years with a compulsory year abroad at a university in the country of specialisation.  The degree involves the study of one South East Asian language (Burmese, Indonesian, Thai or Vietnamese), general course units on South East Asia taught within the department, and course units with a strong South East Asian focus taught in other departments in the school, allowing the student to gain a broad understanding of the region.  The structure of the four-year South East Asian studies degree is the same as the single subject three-year degree in South East Asian Studies, but with a year abroad in year 3 and more focused study on the country of specialization in year 4.  In year 4 students take a compulsory Independent Study Project (ISP) unit in South East Asian cultural studies.


Key Information Set Data


Year 1
Core Language Module

A SEA language at an appropriate level (Burmese, Indonesian, Thai or Vietnamese). Typically level 1 of the language chosen.

Compulsory Modules
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Introduction to South East Asia 155901320 0.5 Unit Term 1
South East Asia on Film 155901318 0.5 Unit Term 2
Compulsory Module

Please take the module below OR choose a unit from List B

ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
H150 Introduction to the History of South East Asia 154800232 1 Unit Full Year
Optional Module

Choose modules to the value of one unit from List B or an open option.

Year 2
Core Language Module

Continuation of Year 1 SEA language.

Compulsory Modules

You must take both modules listed below.

ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Cultural Studies of Island South East Asia 155907002 0.5 Unit Term 1
Cultural Studies of Mainland South East Asia 155907003 0.5 Unit Term 2
Compulsory Module

Choose modules to the value of one unit from List A or a second approved language.

Optional Module

Choose modules to the value of one unit from List A, List C, or an open option.

Year 3: Year abroad

A year abroad in Thailand, Vietnam, Burma or Indonesia.

Year 4
Core Module
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Independent Study Project in South East Asian Studies 155901243 1 Unit Full Year
Compulsory Module

A continuation of Year 3 SEA Language or modules to the value of one unit from List A.

Compulsory Module

Choose modules to the value of one unit from List A, List C or a unit of approved language.

Optional Module

Choose modules to the value of one unit from List A, List C or an open option.

List A
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Indonesia on Screen 155901354 0.5 Unit Term 1
Thailand on Screen (post '97) 155901317 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
Vietnam on Screen 155907004 0.5 Unit Term 1 Not Running 2016/2017
Queer Cinema in Asia 155907000 0.5 Unit Term 2
Orientalism on Screen 155901413 0.5 Unit Term 2
War, Revolution and Independence in South East Asian Literatures in Translation 155901316 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
The City and the Countryside in South East Asian Literatures 155901326 0.5 Unit Term 1 Not Running 2016/2017
English Literatures of South East Asia 155901410 0.5 Unit Term 1
Under Western Eyes: European Writings on South East Asia 155907001 0.5 Unit Term 2
Jawi and the Manuscript Tradition 155901312 0.5 Unit Term 2
List A (Final Year only)
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Extended Essay in South East Asian Studies 155901307 0.5 Unit Term 1
List B
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Themes in the Art and Archaeology of South and Southeast Asia 154900156 0.5 Unit Term 1
Buddhism: Foundation 158000110 0.5 Unit Term 1
Hinduism: Foundation 158000118 0.5 Unit Term 2
World Christianities Foundation 158000117 0.5 Unit Term 2
Islam: Foundations 158000189 0.5 Unit Term 1
H150 Introduction to the History of South East Asia 154800232 1 Unit Full Year
Introduction to Grammatical Structure 152900071 1 Unit Full Year
General Linguistics 152900069 1 Unit Full Year
List C

Year 2 and final year South East Asia related modules. Please check for any pre-requisites.

ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Southeast Asian government and politics 153400022 1 Unit Full Year
H253 Islam in Southeast Asia, 1760s-1960s 154800212 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
H353 The Creation of Modern Burma 1852-C.1941 (I) 154800252 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Arts of the Buddha in Southeast Asia 154900148 0.5 Unit Term 1 Not Running 2016/2017
Southeast Asia in the Modern Imagination: Art, Visuality, Exchange 154900194 0.5 Unit Full Year
Undoing Asia: Artistic Perspectives from the 20th and 21th Centuries 154900191 0.5 Unit Term 2
Music and Religion in South East Asia 155800080 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
Popular and Fusion Music in South East Asia (UG) 155800081 0.5 Unit Term 2

Programme Specification


Teaching and Learning

Year abroad

Students will take a compulsory year abroad in South East Asia, spent in one or two countries in the region. This is not part of an exchange programme.

If they go to Thailand for a full year they will attend Thammasat University in Bangkok for two semesters, from June-February with an optional government placement for the remainder of their stay.  

Students going to Vietnam will attend the Faculty of Vietnamese Language and Culture at the Vietnam National University in Hanoi from September to May. 

Students who go to Indonesia spend a year studying at two of the best universities in Java - one semester at Universitas Gadjah Mada (Yogyakarta) and one semester at Universitas Katolik Parahyangan (Bandung). 

For students going to Burma (Myanmar) the exact programme of study during 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 and/or Mandalay, or may include tuition at the Yangon University of Foreign Languages, or a combination of both. 

For all the above year abroad programmes students will take an re-entry test into year 4 of the degree in September.  Failure to pass the 4th year entry test will result in students being placed into the final year of the 3 year BA SEA Studies degree programme and the year abroad will NOT count towards this awarded degree.

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.

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. 

BA, BSc, LLB £9,250 £16,575
BA/BSc Language Year Abroad £1,387.50 £8,288
Undergraduate Research Awards

Application Deadline: 2017-04-17 17:00

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


As a student specialising in South East 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 South East 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

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.

Magda Biran Taylor


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