Overview and entry requirements
The MA South East and Pacific Asian Studies programme provides exceptional opportunities for advanced study of one of the world’s most diverse and important regions, and students gain competency in language skills, intercultural awareness and understanding.
Students on this programme come from a wide range of backgrounds. Some join after having acquired an interest in South East Asia during their undergraduate career, or as a result of travelling in the region.
This South East and Pacific Asian Studies MA programme also attracts mature students: some take the MA degree as a partial preparation for employment in the region; others, having lived in South East and Pacific Asia for a number of years, seek to place their experience and impressions into a more structured, analytical framework.
Knowledge of a South East or Pacific Asian language is not a pre-requisite for admission to this programme. However, all students on this programme are required to take a South East or Pacific Asian language as one their modules.
See South East Asia Department
Why study South East and Pacific Asian Studies at SOAS
- SOAS is ranked 1st in London in the Complete University Guide 2021 for Middle Eastern and African Studies, and 6th in the UK
- Ranked 8th in the UK in the Complete University Guide 2021 for South Asian Studies
- SOAS is specialist in the studies of Africa, the Middle East, South Asia and South East Asia
- access SOAS’s comprehensive cross-regional expertise and gain an understanding of the interconnectedness of these regions in an increasingly globalised world.
Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings
Start of programme: September intake only
Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time
- We will consider all applications with 2:ii (or international equivalent) or higher. In addition to degree classification we take into account other elements of the application including supporting statement and references.
- One year (full-time)
Two or three years (part-time)
Students take 180 credits, 60 credits from a dissertation and 120 credits from taught modules.
A maximum of 60 credits can be taken from one discipline and a minimum of three disciplines must be covered.
All students on this programme are required to take a South East Asian language as one their modules. For students opting to take two language acquisition modules, only one of these can be at an introductory level.
Some disciplines such as politics, economics or social anthropology require an appropriate qualification (such as part of a first degree) if any of their modules are to be taken as the major subject.
All students will take:
- The 15 credit compulsory module 'Remapping Area Studies'
- A 15 credit language and culture module from List A
- A 15 credit module from List A or List B
- Area Studies modules to the value of 30 credits from List B
- Language modules to the value of 30 credits from the Language Options List
- A 15 credit module from List B or the list of postgraduate open options
List A: Language and Culture Modules
List B: Area Studies Modules
Students should choose from the following ab initio modules (or a higher level subject to programme convenor approval)
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
One-year Masters programmes consist of 180 credits. 120 credits are taught in modules of 30 credits (taught over 20 weeks) or 15 credits (taught over 10 weeks); the dissertation makes up the remaining 60 units. 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, including reading and research, preparing coursework and revising for examinations. 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. At SOAS, most postgraduate modules have a one hour lecture and a one hour seminar every week, but this does vary.
More information is on the page for each module.
- How to locate and evaluate data from a variety of sources.
- Knowledge of aspects of the region, such as its history, politics, economics, arts, religions etc.
- Subject specific skills, such as an awareness of current critical thinking in a specific field, and the acquisition of language skills.
Intellectual (thinking) skills
- Development of precision and caution in assessing evidence.
- Development of critical awareness and independence of thought.
- Sensitivity to the existence of non-Eurocentric views and an awareness of the limitations of purely Eurocentric interpretations.
- Awareness of the value of a South East Asian language in understanding the culture of a specific country within the region.
Subject-based practical skills
- Development of written communication skills.
- Development of oral communication skills.
- Development of research skills.
- Development of language skills.
- Effective oral and written communication skills.
- Ability to access and assess information from both traditional and electronic sources.
- Ability to work to deadlines.
- Ability to interact with native speakers of the language at an appropriate level.
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.
A postgraduate degree in South East and Pacific Asian Studies studies from SOAS provides its students with 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.
Postgraduate students are equipped with linguistic and cultural expertise enabling them to continue in the field of research, along with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek in many professional and management careers in business, public or charity sectors. 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.
A postgraduate degree is a valuable experience that provides students with a body of work and a diverse range of skills that they can use to market themselves with when they graduate.
Graduates have gone on to work for a range of organisations including:
- American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce
- BBC Worldwide Japan Ltd
- British Embassy
- Calyon Corporate and Investment Bank
- DesaKota Productions
- Education First
- Foreign & Commonwealth Office
- Institut de Recherche sur l'Asie du Sud-Est Contemporaine
- Japan Market Expansion Competition (JMEC)
- National Archives of Japan
- NBC News
- Shanti Volunteer Association (SVA)
- Singapore Press Holdings
- The Finacial Times
- The Japan Foundation
- The New York Times
- TIME Magazine
- Vietnam Holding
The types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:
- Programme Editor
- Training and event Officer
- HM Ambassador
- Director - Senior Credit Analyst
- Head Of Product Management
- Political Attache
- Travel Consultant
- Desk Officer
- Project Manager
- Grants, Trusts & Major Donor Fundraiser
- Archival Specialist
- Associate Consultant
- Regional Research Coordinator
- Vietnam Correspondent
- Senior Lecturer
Find out more on our 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.