BA South East Asian Studies (combined)


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

Mode of Attendance: Full-time

BA South East Asian Studies (Combined Honours) is a three-year programme that strikes an exciting balance between the study of a South-East Asian language (Burmese, Indonesian, Khmer, Thai or Vietnamese), the cultures of the region and the second subject in another discipline.

Competence in a South-East Asian language is developed as a tool for exploring the culture for which a spoken language is a vehicle. This degree is ideal for students who do not seek the intensive engagement with language demanded by the four-year degrees, but who desire a working knowledge of the language to enhance their engagement with the diversity of South-East Asian culture.

May be combined with:

  • Development Studies, TLJ9 BA/DVSSEA
  • Economics, TLJC BA/ECSEA
  • History, VTCJ BA/HSEA
  • History of Art/Archaeology, VTJ3 BA/HAASEAS
  • International Management, TN3C BA/SEASIM
  • International Relations, LTF4 BA/IRSEAS
  • Linguistics, TQJD BA/LGSEA
  • Music, WTHH BA/MSSEA
  • Politics, TLH2 BA/POLSEA
  • Social Anthropology, TLHP BA/SASEA
  • Study of Religions, VTPJ BA/SEASR


As a graduate who specialised in the South East Asian region, you will have gained 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.

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, both in business and in 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.

Graduates have gone on to work for a range of organisations including:

  • Atkins Heritage
  • Burmese Refugee Project
  • Dept for Environment, Food and Rural affairs
  • Evergreen Energy
  • Foreign & Commonwealth Office
  • JP Morgan
  • Karenni Student Development Programme
  • LCC Children's Services
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Netherlands
  • Pepperdine University
  • Semporna Islands Project
  • Suzhou Education Bureau
  • Medical Defence Union
  • Xoom Corporation
  • Child in Need Institute

Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:

  • Senior Heritage Consultant
  • Project Manager
  • Policy Advisor
  • Consul
  • Lecturer
  • Country Director
  • Company Director
  • Diplomat
  • Professor of History
  • Writer
  • English Language Assistant
  • Learning and Development Officer
  • SVP Business Development
  • Consultant
  • International Marketing Executive
  • Support Worker


Year 1

Core Modules

  • Introduction to South and South East Asia
  • Decolonising Otherness

Core Language Module

A South-East Asian language at an appropriate level. Typically level 1 of the language chosen.

Other Subject

Students should follow the syllabus of the second subject.

Year 2

Core Modules

You must take both modules below.

  • Cultural Studies of Island South-East Asia
  • Cultural Studies of Mainland South-East Asia

Compulsory Module

30 credits of an SEA language or modules to the value of 30 credits from List A.

Other Subject

Students should follow the syllabus of the second subject.

Year 3

Compulsory Modules

You must select the half module (15 credits) below and a further half module (15 credits) from List A.

  • Extended Essay in South East Asian Studies

Optional Module

30 credits of an SEA language, modules to the value of 30 credits from List A or List B or an open option.

Other Subject

Students should follow the syllabus of the second subject.

List of Approved Courses

  • List A
    • South-East Asian Language Modules
      • Burmese Language 1 A
      • Burmese Language 1 B
      • Indonesian Language 1 A
      • Indonesian Language 1 B
      • Khmer (Cambodian) Language 1 A
      • Khmer (Cambodian) Language 1 B
      • Thai Language 1 A
      • Thai Language 1 B
      • Vietnamese Language 1 A
      • Vietnamese Language 1 B
      • Burmese Language 2
      • Indonesian Language 2
      • Thai Language 2
      • Vietnamese Language 2
      • Burmese Language and Texts
      • Indonesian Language 3
      • Thai Language 3
      • Vietnamese Language and Texts
      • Thai Language 4
      • Indonesian Language 4
      • Vietnamese Literature
    • Non-Language South East Asian Modules
      • Thailand on Screen (post '97)
      • Indonesia on Screen
      • Vietnam on Screen
      • Queer Cinema in Asia
      • English Literatures of South East Asia
      • Under Western Eyes: European Writings on South East Asia
      • War, Revolution and Independence in South East Asian Literatures in Translation
      • The City and the Countryside in South East Asian Literatures
      • Jawi and the Manuscript Tradition
  • List C
    Please check any pre-requisites
    • Arts of the Buddha in Southeast Asia
    • Southeast Asian government and politics
    • Music and Religion in South East Asia
    • H353 The Creation of Modern Burma 1852-C.1941 (I)
    • H398 - The Vietnam War and Asia I
    • Intercultural communication and interaction
    • Introduction to Translation Theory
    • Language, Society and Communication
    • Economic Development of Southeast Asia

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session.

Admissions and Applications

To apply for an undergraduate degree at SOAS (including students wishing to transfer from another university) you must apply through the UK's central universities application organization, UCAS. An application form and details of courses can be found on their website. UCAS charges an applicant's fee for handling the application.

You can apply to up to five choices of higher education institutions or course on the UCAS form. How you utilise the choice is up to you. In other words, you could apply to do the same subject, for example, economics, at five different universities, or five different courses at the same university, or any combination of subject and institution. Nor do you have to use up all five choices. Whatever you choose you should list your choices in the order they appear in the UCAS handbook.

Entry Requirements

  • Subjects Preferred: No
  • A-Levels: AAB-ABB
    IB: 35 (665 at HL)
  • Interview Policy: Candidates with non-standard qualifications may be invited for an interview, though many applications are assessed on the basis of the UCAS forms alone.

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 5 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

English Language Entry Requirements

You must be able to show that your English is of a high enough standard to successfully engage with and complete your course at SOAS. Please note that we take our English language requirements seriously and failure to meet them exactly may well result in your application to SOAS being rejected. It is not possible to negotiate if your scores are below our required levels, with the expectation that because they are 'close enough' they will be accepted. It is important that you plan appropriately, well in advance, so that your English language test comes in good time and so that you have time to retake the test if necessary. We do not accept reasons of inconvenience or financial hardship for not submitting or retaking an English test.

International students

For EU and International students who need a visa, if unconditional entry scores are achieved we accept qualifications from several countries, as well as a range of international qualifications and tests.

If a Tier 4 entry visa is required then a SELT, such as UKVI IELTS may be needed. For this reason, we recommend all Tier 4 visa students to choose the UKVI IELTS Academic test as the test of first resort.

Last updated Oct 2019

About the School

SOAS University of London welcomes the brightest minds to study on its central London campus with like-minded individuals who feel passionately about contemporary world issues.

SOAS University of London welcomes the brightest minds to study on its central London campus with like-minded individuals who feel passionately about contemporary world issues. Read less
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