SOAS University of London

Department of the Languages and Cultures of South East Asia

MA South East Asian Studies

One year (full-time) Two or three years (part-time)

Fees 2017/18

UK/EU fees:
Overseas fees:

Fees for 2017/18 entrants. This is a Band 1 fee. 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 Postgraduate Tuition Fees page

2017 Entry requirements

  • Minimum upper second class honours (or equivalent)

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  • Fees and funding
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Start of programme: September intake only

The MA in South East Asian Studies provides exceptional opportunities for advanced study of one of the world’s most diverse and important regions.

Students on the programme come from a wide range of backgrounds. Some come into the programme having acquired an interest in South East Asia during their undergraduate career or as a result of travelling in the region.

The programme also attracts mature students: some take the MA as a partial preparation for employment in the region; others, having lived in South East Asia for a number of years, seek to place their experience and impressions into a more structured, analytical framework.

Knowledge of a South East Asian language is not a requirement of the course. Language modules, however, are popular options.



Students take three taught courses, one of which is considered a major, and complete a 10,000 word dissertation related to the major.

The two minor courses can be taken from the same discipline (but different to that of the major) or two different ones. Some disciplines such as politics, economics or social anthropology require an appropriate qualification (such as part of a first degree) if any of their courses are to be taken as the major subject.

ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Culture and Society of South East Asia 15PANH066 0.5 Unit Term 2
Art and Archaeology
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
The Figure of the Buddha: Theory, Practice and the Making of Buddhist Art History 15PARH076 0.5 Unit Term 1
Buddhist and Hindu Art of the Maritime Silk Route 15PARH057 0.5 Unit Term 1
Illustrated Manuscript Cultures of Southeast Asia 15PARH073 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Genders and Sexualities in South East Asian Film 15PSEH011 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
(Post) Colonialism and Otherness in South East Asia on Screen 15PSEH010 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
Post-crisis Thai Cinema (1997-2007) 15PSEH008 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
Vietnam on Screen (PG) 15PSEH014 0.5 Unit Term 1 Not Running 2016/2017
Indonesia on Screen(PG) 15PSEH015 0.5 Unit Term 1
Major Only
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Economic dynamics of the Asia-Pacific region 15PECC334 1 Unit Full Year
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Histories of Ethnicity and Conflict in South East Asia 1 - Making States and Building Nations 15PHIH011 0.5 Unit Term 1
Histories of Ethnicity and Conflict in South East Asia 2 - Non-National Perspectives 15PHIH012 0.5 Unit Term 2
Asian Wars : World War II and the End of Empire, 1942-1960 15 PHI H038 0.5 unit Unit
International Studies and Diplomacy
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Energy Policy in the Asia-Pacific 15PFFH011 0.5 Unit Term 2
Language (one language option as a minor only)
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Burmese Language 1 (PG) 15PSEC039 1 Unit Full Year
Indonesian Language 1 (PG) 15PSEC032 1 Unit Full Year
Indonesian Language 2 (PG) 15PSEC033 1 Unit Full Year
Indonesian Language 3 (PG) 15PSEC034 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Indonesian Language 4 (PG) 15PSEC035 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Khmer (Cambodian) Language 1 (PG) 15PSEC043 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Thai Language 1 (PG) 15PSEC040 1 Unit Full Year
Thai Language 2 (PG) 15PSEC041 1 Unit Full Year
Thai Language 3 (PG) 15PSEC042 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Vietnamese Language 1 (PG) 15PSEC036 1 Unit Full Year
Vietnamese Language 2 (PG) 15PSEC037 1 Unit Full Year
Special Course in Chinese 1 (PG) 15PCHC008 1 Unit Full Year
Special Course in Chinese 2 (PG) 15PCHC011 1 Unit Full Year
Special Course in Chinese 3 (PG) 15PCHC009 1 Unit Full Year
Special Course in Chinese 4 (PG) 15PCHC012 1 Unit Full Year
Law (minor only)
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Law and Society in Southeast Asia 15PLAH049 0.5 Unit Term 2
Islamic Law (Ma/Llm) 15PLAC121 1 Unit Full Year
Migration, Gender and The Law in South East Asia and Beyond 15PLAH023 0.5 Unit Term 2
Literature (appropriate language skills required)
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Jawi and the Malay Manuscript Tradition (Masters) 15PSEH006 0.5 Unit Term 2
Directed Readings in a South East Asian Language 15PSEH016 0.5 Unit Term 1
Literature (no language requirement)
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
The Urban/Rural Divide in South East Asian Literature 15PSEH012 0.5 Unit Term 1 Not Running 2016/2017
War, Revolution and Independence in South East Asia Literatures in Translation (Masters) 15PSEH009 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
English Literatures of South East Asia 15PSEH013 0.5 Unit Term 1
Under Western Eyes: European Writings on South East Asia (PG) 15PSEH017 0.5 Unit Term 2
Music (minor only)
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Aspects of Music and Religion in South East Asia 15PMUH017 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
Popular and Fusion Music in South East Asia (PG) 15PMUH018 0.5 Unit Term 2
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Government and politics of modern South East Asia 15PPOC247 1 Unit Full Year


Important information for 2017/18 applicants

For the 2017 academic year, SOAS has introduced a new academic framework for all of our postgraduate taught courses. The new model will mean that taught programmes are now made up of four units each worth 30 credits – our current structure is based on three units – plus dissertation. This approach is in line with PG programmes in most other universities.

In practice this means that there will be additional choice of modules for students taking PG taught programmes in 2017. The modules set out here represent the options available in the programme in 2016. In most cases, our 2017 programmes will contain these options plus additional modules – broadening the range of what is available on your programme.

Programme Specification


Teaching and Learning

Teaching & Learning

Lectures and Seminars

For most courses there is one 2-hour class each week. This may be an informal lecture followed by a discussion or student presentation. At Masters level there is particular emphasis on seminar work where students may be expected to make full-scale presentations for units they take.


The 10,000 word dissertation on an approved topic linked with one of the taught courses.

Learning Resources

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.

Fees and funding

Tuition Fees

Full details of postgraduate tuition fees can be found on the Registry's Postgraduate Tuition Fees page.

This is a Band 1 tuition fee.

Fees for 2017/18 entrants. The fees below are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. 

Full-timePart-time 2 YearsPart-time 3 Years
£8,785 £18,075 £4,393 £9,038 £2,928 £6,025


A postgraduate degree in South East Asian 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

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

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.

Dinita Setyawati


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