BA South East Asian Studies (including year abroad)


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

Mode of Attendance: Full-time

South-East Asian Studies (including a year abroad) is a single-subject degree taught over four years with a compulsory year abroad at a university in the country of specialisation. The degree involves the study of one South East Asian language (Burmese, Indonesian, Thai or Vietnamese), general course modules on South East Asia taught within the department, and course modules with a strong South East Asian focus taught in other departments in the school, allowing the student to gain a broad understanding of the region.

The structure of the four-year South East Asian studies degree is the same as the single-subject three-year degree in South East Asian Studies, but with a year abroad in year 3 and more focused study on the country of specialization in year 4. In year 4 students take a compulsory Independent Study Project (ISP) module in South East Asian cultural studies.


As a student specialising in South East Asia, you will gain 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 and culture (which can include literature, film, music, art and religion) of various parts of South East Asia.

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 in both business and 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.


Year 1

Core Language Module

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

Compulsory Modules

  • Introduction to South and South East Asia
  • Decolonising Otherness
  • Languages of the World
  • Understanding Texts

Optional Modules

Choose module(s) to the value of 30 credits from List B below or from the list of undergraduate open options.

Year 2

Core Language Module

  • Continuation of Year 1 SEA language.

Compulsory Modules

  • Cultural Studies of Island South-East Asia
  • Cultural Studies of Mainland South-East Asia
  • Introduction to Research


Choose a module to the value of 15 credits from List A (non-language modules) or List C.

Optional Modules

Choose module(s) to the value of 30 credits from List A or List C or an approved second language module or from the list of undergraduate open options.

Year 3: Year abroad

A year abroad in Thailand, Vietnam, Burma or Indonesia.

Year 4

Core Module

  • Independent Study Project in South East Asian Studies

Compulsory Module

A continuation of Year 3 SEA Language or modules to the value of 30 credits from List A.

Compulsory Module

Choose modules to the value of 30 credits from List A, List C or 30 credits of approved language.

Optional Module

Choose modules to the value of 30 credits from List A, List C or an open option.

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 B

  • Themes in the Art and Archaeology of South and Southeast Asia
  • R110 Introduction to Buddhism
  • R130 Islam: Religion and Rationality
  • R120 Introduction to Hinduism
  • R180 Introduction to World Christianity
  • General Linguistics: Understanding Language
  • English in the Global World
  • Performance 1a: gamelan

List C

Year 2 and final year South-East Asia related modules. Please check for 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

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

  • 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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