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.
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:
- 35 (665 at HL)
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
- 4 years
- UK/EU fees:
- Overseas fees:
Fees for 2020/21 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
Core Language Module
A SEA language at an appropriate level (Burmese, Indonesian, Thai or Vietnamese). Typically level 1 of the language chosen.
Please take the module below OR choose 30 credits from List B
Choose modules to the value of 30 credits from List B or an open option.
Core Language Module
Continuation of Year 1 SEA language.
Choose modules to the value of 30 credits from List A or a second approved language.
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.
A continuation of Year 3 SEA Language or modules to the value of 30 credits from List A.
Choose modules to the value of 30 credits rom List A, List C or 30 credits of approved language.
Choose modules to the value of 30 credits from List A, List C or an open option.
South East Asian Language Modules
Non-Language South East Asian Modules
Year 2 and final year South East Asia related modules. Please check for 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.
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
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.
Full details of undergraduate tuition fees can be found on the Registry's Undergraduate Tuition Fees page.
Fees for 2020/21 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 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
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.