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South and Southeast Asian Studies


South and Southeast Asian studies programs teach students about the cultures of people in India, Tibet, Indonesia, and several additional neighboring countries.

Students use different ways to examine the region, including language, religion, and sociology. They also study South and Southeast Asian history and the role of South and Southeast Asia in international relations.

South and Southeast Asian studies programs include topics such as:

South Asia includes not only India but also Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, and the Maldives. (Some academic programs also include Afghanistan in this list.) Southeast Asia includes Indonesia, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Religion and spirituality in these countries include Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam.


Community colleges and other two-year schools offer associate degree programs in South and Southeast Asian studies. An associate degree usually takes two years to complete.

Several colleges and universities offer bachelor's degrees in South and Southeast Asian studies. A bachelor's degree usually takes about four years of full-time study. Some schools offer a concentration in South and Southeast Asian studies as part of an international or Asian studies program.

Few universities offer graduate degrees in South and Southeast Asian studies. A master's degree typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor's degree. Doctoral (PhD) degree programs usually require two or more years of study beyond the master's degree.

See schools that offer this program.

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Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Graduate Admissions

Admission to graduate programs is competitive. You need a bachelor's degree and good grades. You also need to submit letters of recommendation and a personal statement.

Your bachelor's degree doesn't need to be in any particular major. However, it would be helpful to take several courses in the subject area in which you would like to concentrate. For instance, if you wanted to study international relations and public policy in Southeast Asia, you should take several undergraduate courses in these fields. You should also take courses in a South or Southeast Asian language, if possible.

Additional requirements at many schools include:

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

This program typically includes courses in the following subjects:

Graduate Program Courses

Course work in graduate programs varies. However, the outline of a typical graduate curriculum looks like the following:

Also, in most graduate programs, and some undergraduate programs, you need to take several years of a South or Southeast Asian language.

Things to Know

Some programs focus on select South and Southeast Asian countries.

You may be required or encouraged to spend some time living, working, or studying in South or Southeast Asia. This gives you an immersion experience and the chance to practice your language skills with native speakers.


East Side Area

Central Washington University

King-Snohomish Area

University of Washington - Seattle

Spokane Area

Gonzaga University