Southeast Asia Studies

     Degree Requirements
            Required Courses
            Other Coursework
            Thesis Option
            Non-Thesis Option
            The Language Requirement
            To fulfill the Required Core Courses                                                                    To fulfill the Other Coursework                                                                     Taking Courses Outside of Requirements
     Courses NOT to Take
     M.A. Advisor
Finishing Procedures
     Deadline Timetables for final quarter
Applying to Graduate
Southeast Asian Studies Faculty List




Familiarize yourself with both the Southeast Asian Studies Program Requirements for a Master of Arts in International Studies and the General Graduate School Requirements for a Master’s Degree. The program requirements are designed to meet Graduate School requirements, but it is important to note that to earn your degree you must satisfy both sets of requirements.

Graduate Program Coordinator (GPC)

Professor Enrique Bonus (Department of American Ethnic Studies), in his role as the Graduate Program Coordinator (GPC) for the Southeast Asian Studies program, serves as your faculty adviser in your first year of the program, unless another professor has been assigned to you. Prof. Bonus’s office is in Padelford Hall on the fifth floor (B 527). His email is He will provide details about his office hours in his first meeting with you. As you read the program requirements and guidelines you will find that some actions on your part will require the official approval of the GPC.
Degree Requirements
All students must complete a minimum of 36 credits. The expectation is that students will complete this degree within two years. The components of the degree are as follows:


Students must reach a proficiency equivalent to completion of the third year in a Southeast Asian language. Beginning Filipino, Indonesian, Khmer, Thai, and Vietnamese are taught during the academic year. Burmese may be taken by special arrangement. You may also want to consider studying language in the summer before you arrive or after your first year here at the Southeast Asian Studies Summer Institute or at a program in the country of your studies. Information on these programs is available through the Southeast Asia Center.


Required Courses (15 credits):

JSIS A 506: The Study of Southeast Asia. Introduces problems in the study of the region (5 credits)

HSTAS 530/JSIS A 580: Field Course in Southeast Asian History. Advanced work in the History of Southeast Asia (5 credits)

HSTAS 532/JSIS A 582: Seminar in Southeast Asian History. Continuation of HSTAS 530 with an emphasis on proposal and thesis writing (5 credits)

Other Coursework (21 credits):
Sixteen or more additional credits from available Southeast Asia courses are required. These courses must be chosen from at least two disciplines. Five credits may be chosen that do not have Southeast Asia content. All courses are planned in consultation with the program adviser and the GPA to ensure that both individual and program goals are met.

Thesis Option: 

Students have the option of choosing a thesis or non-thesis degree. For the thesis option, the student will submit a thesis to a committee of two including the MA advisor. The student and the committee will agree on the content, methods, and length of the thesis. 

Non-thesis Option:

You may choose not to write an MA thesis, in which case two seminar papers, a documentary film or other original artistic creation, or an original theater production will be required. This requirement must be designed in consultation with and agreed upon by the MA advisor and approved by a committee of three including the MA advisor.

The Language Requirement:

Language study is an essential part of the program. While you are only required to complete through the third-year of a Southeast Asian language, you are urged to take instruction beyond this level if your schedule permits. Should you find that you are having academic trouble with language study, consult with the GPC immediately.

To fulfill the Required Core Courses:

JSIS A 510 is taught in alternate years with the HSTAS/JSIS series and which you take first will depend on the year that you enter the program. These required courses contribute 15 credits of your required graduate work.

To fulfill the Other Coursework:

To complete this portion of the program, you must take 21 credit points of courses from at least two departments.  You can select from courses at the 400, 500 and 600 level, but at least 8 of the optional credits must be at the 500 level. 

At least 16 of your 21 credits must be from courses that focus on Southeast Asia. This means that you can take up to 5 credits not specifically focused on Southeast Asia, for example in order to fulfill disciplinary or professional objectives. For instance, those planning to pursue a Ph.D. may find that they still need to fulfill prerequisite requirements not related to Southeast Asia for the departments they wish to enter. On the other hand, students pursuing non-university careers may determine that a course from one of the departments or schools relevant to their career objectives (e.g. Communications, Public Affairs, Business Administration, Education, etc.) may be useful. In both cases, students should consult advisers from appropriate schools or departments early. Students in the Thesis option must additionally register for a minimum of 9 thesis credits. Thesis credits can be done over several quarters or all at once, and there is no limit to the number of thesis credits you may take.

Taking Courses Outside of Requirements

You may take courses that do not fulfill program requirements.  Comparative study is encouraged, and classes which do not meet Southeast Asian Studies requirements may be useful. However, taking too many courses that do not apply to your degree could prevent you from completing the program within two years.

Courses NOT to Take

While it is preferable for you to take only courses at the 400 level or above, 300-level courses with a JSIS prefix can occasionally be taken with the approval of the GPC. (However, 300-level courses do not qualify for graduate credit with the UW Graduate School, so this option should only be used when necessitated by future academic or professional goals.) A better option would be to make a contract with the instructor to take the 300-level course as a 600-level Independent Study (form available in the Office of Student Services) and do the work required for the class along with extra work to meet graduate level standards.

MA Advisor:

You are required to identify a faculty advisor for your MA program by the end of your 3rd quarter in the Southeast Asian Studies program. Ideally your advisor will have expertise in your area of concentration and/or the Southeast Asian country of your focus, although this is not possible in all cases. Both members of your Supervisory Committee must be Graduate Faculty (see A third member of the committee is optional and would not have to belong to the Graduate Faculty. The purpose of this committee is to advise you in the final stages of your program. Your committee members serve as your consultants and mentors as you write your MA thesis or conduct your project. You should make sure that your committee members will be available in the quarters when you need them for advisory work, independent study, and exams.
You form your committee by filing the Supervisory Committee Form which establishes a record that your selections of area of concentration, faculty committee members, and thesis/non-thesis option are acceptable to the Southeast Asian Studies program as represented by the Graduate Program Coordinator (GPC) and that your committee members have agreed to undertake supervision of your program. Once you file the form, your Chair undertakes to serve as your primary adviser.
You should ask your committee members to clarify their expectations of when you will provide them with evidence of your progress towards completion of the papers or thesis. The timelines on page 7 express the SEA Program’s expectations of when you would have to submit materials in order to meet Graduate School deadlines. Your Supervisory Committee may require additional drafts and earlier submission dates.
For a guide to your role as an advisee and your faculty supervisor’s role as Mentor, please see the Graduate School’s “Guidelines for Good Practice in Graduate Education.”

Finishing Procedures

Once your Thesis, papers or final project are complete your committee must sign documents evidencing your satisfactory completion of the requirements. By two weeks prior to the end of your final quarter, obtain the Project Completion Form and Warrant from Paula Milligan. Have your committee sign these documents and return to Paula by the last Thursday of the quarter you are graduating.

Deadline Timetable for the Final Quarter (Thesis Option)

2nd week Submit rough draft of thesis to committee members
6th week Submit final draft of thesis to committee members
(complete and formatted as per Graduate School requirements)
11th week  Finish any required revisions
Have thesis Signature Page and other finishing documents signed by all committee members.
Submit copy of thesis Signature Page to Paula Milligan by 4:00 Thursday
Submit thesis to Graduate School by 5:00 Friday
Provide committee members and SEA Studies office with bound copy of thesis 


Deadline Timetable for the Final Quarter (Papers and Exam Option)

6th week Submit final drafts of project to committee members
11th week Submit final project or schedule showing before 4:00 Thursday
Submit signed finishing documents to Paula Milligan by 4:00 Friday

Applying to Graduate

To graduate, you must apply through the Graduate School’s degree application website: The application period commences the first day of the quarter of graduation. The Graduate School allows you to apply for your degree through the 10th Sunday of the quarter (8th week in Summer), however, the department requires that you apply for the degree by the 7th Sunday of the quarter.

The Graduate School will send you an email confirmation of your application for Master’s Degree and inform you of Graduate School requirements that must be met by the end of the quarter in which you graduate. The Graduate Program Assistant (Paula Milligan) will be notified of your application for Master’s Degree and will enter information detailing departmental requirements that must be met. This will generate an email from the Graduate School to you informing you of departmental requirements.

If you do not finish in the quarter you applied to graduate, you will have to apply again. You must be registered for at least two credits in the quarter you graduate.
It is important for you to maintain your status as a student until you graduate. To do this, you must be registered for every quarter except Summer Quarter, or be formally on leave.


Southeast Asian Studies Core Faculty

FRANCISCO BENITEZ, PhD Wisconsin-Madison (2004) Assistant Professor, Comparative Literature; literature of island SE Asia, popular culture, Indonesia and the Philippines
ENRIQUE BONUS, PhD UC San Diego (1997) Associate Professor, American Ethnic Studies; Filipino-American Studies, Asian-American Studies, communication and culture, race and ethnicity, immi¬gration, gender, telecommunications and national development in Southeast Asia
MARY CALLAHAN, PhD Cornell (1996) Associate Professor, International Studies; comparative politics, political theory, Burma
THERESE CAOUETTE, MPH Chulalongkorn Univ., Thailand (1998) Affiliate Professor, JSIS; human rights, migration and trafficking issues, Burma, Thailand 
PATRICK CHRISTIE, PhD Michigan (1999) Associate Professor, Marine Affairs and International Studies; environmental management, fisheries management, community-based research and management, Philippines and Indonesia
SARA CURRAN, PhD North Carolina Chapel Hill (1994) Associate Professor, International Studies and Public Affairs; social demography, development and globalization, gender and family in Thailand
JIEDSON DOMIGPE, MA Seattle Pacific University (2008) Lecturer, American Ethnic Studies; Tagalog syntax and phonology, Philippine literature and film, language learning for Heritage speakers
THOMAS W. GETHING, PhD Michigan (1966) Affiliate Professor, Asian Languages and Literature; South¬east Asian languages and linguistics (Lao and Thai), language pedagogy, semantics
CHRISTOPH GIEBEL, PhD Cornell (1996) Associate Professor, History and International Studies; Vietnamese history (especially 20th century), Vietnamese communism, labor, post-independence historiography, history and memory in Southeast Asia
GARY HAMILTON, PhD Washington (1975) Professor, Sociology and International Studies; overseas Chinese, sociology of business
JUDITH HENCHY, PhD Washington (2006) Southeast Asia Librarian; Laos, Viet Nam, Vietnamese history, Vietnamese press in 1920s 
CHARLES O. HIRSCHMAN, PhD Wisconsin (1972) Professor, Sociology; demography of Malaysia, Southeast Asia, Viet Nam  
WIWORN KESAVANTANA-DOHRS, PhD Michigan (1989) Lecturer, Asian Languages and Literature; Thai language instruction, Thailand
CHARLES F. KEYES, PhD Cornell (1967) Professor Emeritus, Anthropology;  Buddhism and society,  Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Viet Nam, ethnicity and nationality, religious and political economic change 
PETER LAPE, PhD Brown (2000) Associate Professor, Anthropology; Curator, Burke Museum; islands of Southeast Asia and Pacific archeology and history, identity and change, religion
CELIA LOWE, PhD Yale (1999) Associate Professor, Anthropology; anthropology and the environment, anthropology of conservationism and nature, Southeast Asian society and culture
BEN MARWICK, PhD Australian National Univ. (2008) Assistant Professor, Anthropology; mainland Southeast Asian archaeology, Australian archaeology, evolutionary ecology, stone artifact technology, Laos, Thailand
CHI NGUYEN, PhD Viet Nam Academy of Social Sciences (2009) Lecturer, Asian Languages and Literature; Vietnamese language
MARK OBERLE, MD Johns Hopkins (1974) Associate Dean, Public Health, and Professor, Health Services and Epidemiology; disease epidemiology and integration of computer science and information science in public health practice, Thailand
VICENTE RAFAEL, PhD Cornell (1984) Professor, History; nationalism, comparative colonialism, technology and modernity, language, power and subjectivity 
CABEIRI deBERGH ROBINSON, PhD Cornell (2005) Assistant Professor, JSIS and Anthropology; comparative Muslim societies, political Islam, political violence, refugees and human rights, India, Indonesia, Kashmir, Malaysia, Pakistan
DESIANA PAULI  SANDJAYA, MA Ohio (1999) Lecturer, Asian Languages and Literature
LAURIE J. SEARS, PhD Wisconsin (1986) Professor, History;  Indonesia, literary cultures in the Dutch Indies, orality/literacy issues, gender and feminism
CHRISTINA SUNARDI, PhD UC Berkeley (2007) Assistant Professor, Music; performing arts in Indonesia, cultural studies of Java, gender, dance, musical interaction, Asian American music


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