SOAS University of London

South East Asia Section, School of Languages, Cultures & Linguistics

BA South East Asian Studies (including year abroad)

4 years

Fees 2018/19

UK/EU fees:
Overseas fees:

Fees for 2018/19 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

2018 Entry requirements

  • 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

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  • Overview
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Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

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 modules on South East Asia taught within the department, and course modules 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) module 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
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Introduction to South East Asia 155901320 15 Term 2
South East Asia on Film 155901318 15 Term 1
Compulsory Module

Please take the module below OR choose 30 credits from List B

Module Code Credits Term Availability
H150 Introduction to the History of South East Asia 154800232 30 Full Year Not Running 2018/2019
Optional Module

Choose modules to the value of 30 credits 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.

Module Code Credits Term Availability
Cultural Studies of Island South East Asia 155907002 15 Term 2
Cultural Studies of Mainland South East Asia 155907003 15 Term 1
Compulsory Module

Choose modules to the value of 30 credits from List A or a second approved language.

Optional Module

Choose modules to the value of 30 credits 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
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Independent Study Project in South East Asian Studies 155901243 30 Full Year
Compulsory Module

A continuation of Year 3 SEA Language or modules to the value of 30 credits from List A.

Compulsory Module

Choose modules to the value of 30 credits rom List A, List C or 30 credits of approved language.

Optional Module

Choose modules to the value of 30 credits from List A, List C or an open option.

List A
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Indonesia on Screen 155901354 15 Term 1 Not Running 2018/2019
Thailand on Screen (post '97) 155901317 15 Term 2 Not Running 2018/2019
Vietnam on Screen 155907004 15 Term 2
Queer Cinema in Asia 155907000 15 Term 1 Not Running 2018/2019
Orientalism on Screen 155901413 15 Term 2
War, Revolution and Independence in South East Asian Literatures in Translation 155901316 15 Term 1 Not Running 2018/2019
The City and the Countryside in South East Asian Literatures 155901326 15 Term 1
English Literatures of South East Asia 155901410 15 Term 2
Under Western Eyes: European Writings on South East Asia 155907001 15 Term 1
Jawi and the Manuscript Tradition 155901312 15 Term 1
List A (Final Year only)
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Extended Essay in South East Asian Studies 155901307 15 Full Year
List B
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Themes in the Art and Archaeology of South and Southeast Asia 154900156 15 Term 1
R110 Introduction to Buddhism 158000110 15 Term 1
R120 Introduction to Hinduism 158000118 15 Term 2
R180 Introduction to World Christianity 158000117 15 Term 2 Not Running 2018/2019
R130 Introduction to Islam 158000189 15 Term 1
H150 Introduction to the History of South East Asia 154800232 30 Full Year Not Running 2018/2019
Introduction to Grammatical Structure 152900071 30 Full Year
General Linguistics: Understanding Language 152900069 30 Full Year
List C

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

Module Code Credits Term Availability
Southeast Asian government and politics 153400022 30 Full Year
H253 Islam in Southeast Asia, 1760s-1960s 154800212 30 Full Year Not Running 2018/2019
H353 The Creation of Modern Burma 1852-C.1941 (I) 154800252 30 Full Year Not Running 2018/2019
Arts of the Buddha in Southeast Asia 154900148 15 Term 1 Not Running 2018/2019
Arts of SouthEast Asia 154900200 15 Term 1
Southeast Asia in the Modern Imagination: Art, Visuality, Exchange 154900194 15 Term 2 Not Running 2018/2019
Undoing Asia: Artistic Perspectives from the 20th and 21th Centuries 154900191 15 Term 2 Not Running 2018/2019
Music and Religion in South East Asia 155800080 15 Term 1 Not Running 2018/2019
Popular and Fusion Music in South East Asia (UG) 155800081 15 Term 2
The `Historical` Buddha: Explorations in Southeast Asian Arts 154900180 15 Term 2
Gender, Art and Visual Culture: Explorations in the Representation of Southeast Asia 154900181 15 Term 2 Not Running 2018/2019

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.

Teaching & Learning

Contact Hours

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.

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 2018/19 entrants. The fees below are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. 

Programme Full-Time
BA, BSc, LLB £9,250 £16,907
BA/BSc Language Year Abroad £1,385 £8,454
Undergraduate Research Awards

Application Deadline: 2018-04-30 00:00

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

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


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