M.A. in International Studies

M.A. – Southeast Asian Studies

The M.A. program in Southeast Asian Studies offers students a framework within which to carry out the interdisciplinary study of the peoples and nations of insular and mainland Southeast Asia―Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Loro’sae and Viet Nam. The curriculum combines training in one or more Southeast Asian languages with study of various aspects of modern and classical Southeast Asian civilizations. The University has a distinguished faculty of scholars who provide instruction in diverse areas of Southeast Asian studies, offering a rich variety of courses on these topics.

Students in Southeast Asian Studies specialize in a diverse array of topics leading to their MA thesis or project. Southeast Asia faculty offer concentrations in the arts, literature, and museums (Prof.s Christina Sunardi, Raissa DeSmet, Third Andreson, Anida Ali, Bich-Ngoc Turner, and Nazry Bahrawi), archaeology (Prof.s Peter Lape and Ben Marwick), archival studies (Prof.s Jenna Grant, Raissa DeSmet and SEA Librarian Judith Henchy), Southeast Asian American studies (Prof.s Rick Bonus, Linh Nguyen, and Jenna Grant), colonialism and imperialist histories (Prof.s Christoph Giebel, Vicente Rafael, and many others), Islam and Buddhism (Prof.s Christina Sunardi, Jenna Grant, Cabieri Robinson, Celia Lowe), environmental studies (Prof.s Patrick Christie, Sara Curran, Rebakah Minarchek, and Celia Lowe), and science and technology studies (Celia Lowe and Jenna Grant). It is also possible to focus on the natural sciences in the MA program. The student may only take one course that does not have Southeast Asia content, and must take courses from at least two different departments during their course of study. Burmese, Indonesian, Khmer, Tagalog, Thai, and Vietnamese are regularly taught on campus.

Southeast Asian Studies graduates have gone on to graduate programs in various academic disciplines, as well as careers in government service, journalism, teaching, research, marine affairs, community organizing, international trade, and international development.

Christoph Giebel, Graduate Program Coordinator


A summary of the curriculum is provided below. A detailed description of the entire program curriculum, policies and procedures can be found in the Southeast Asia Studies handbook.

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

JSIS A 580 Field Course in Southeast Asian History (5 credits) Advanced work in the history of Southeast Asia.

JSIS A 582 Seminar in Southeast Asian History (5 credits) Continuation of JSIS A 580 with an emphasis on proposal and thesis writing.

21 Credits Electives These classes must be taken in two or more different departments on campus to ensure students receive an interdisciplinary education. Ideally, these courses will complement a student’s degree goals, either by fulfilling disciplinary or professional objectives.

Capstone Research Project You must complete a thesis (approximately 50 pages), two papers (approximately 25 pages each) of near publishable quality or create a documentary film, original theater production, or other original artistic creation under the guidance of your Masters Supervisory Committee.

Comprehensive Oral Exam Your Masters Supervisory Committee will examine your capstone research project and conduct your oral exam during your graduation quarter.


Language proficiency is not required for admission.

Southeast Asian language study is an essential part of the program. The Department of Asian Languages and Literature offers instruction in Indonesian and Vietnamese; the Department of American Ethnic Studies offers instruction in Tagalog; and the Jackson School offers Burmese, Khmer, and Thai.

If you believe you have attained the required level before you entered the Jackson School, you must take and pass a proficiency exam. Native speakers are exempt from this requirement.


M.A. in Southeast Asian Studies Handbook 2023-24

M.A. in Southeast Asian Studies Handbook 2022-23

M.A. in Southeast Asian Studies Handbook 2021-22

M.A. in Southeast Asian Studies Handbook 2020-21


Applications must be submitted by January 31 for admittance to the autumn quarter cohort. We only accept students into the M.A. program during autumn quarter

You can find information about the application requirements and process on our website.



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