Southeast Asian Studies


Division of Asian Studies 

Department of Southeast Asian Studies



Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Southeast Asian Studies

Minor in Southeast Asian Studies (with effect from AY2007-08)


Master of Arts (Southeast Asian Studies) by coursework 
Australian National University-NUS Joint Masters of Arts (Southeast Asian Studies) by coursework
Master of Arts by research
Ph.D. by research

What is it about

The Department of Southeast Asian Studies is a department under the Asian Studies Division of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. As a department located in a university which has some of the best expertise and resources in the field of Southeast Asian Studies, we offer unique advantages to those who are interested in studying the region. Our location within the region also enables us to develop distinctive programmes that maximise our proximity to other Southeast Asian countries for our undergraduate and graduate research and curricula.

Our department aims to offer a truly inter-disciplinary approach which draws on different disciplinary perspectives and methodologies from the humanities and social sciences. We emphasise inter-disciplinary learning that is thoroughly informed by local experience and knowledge; this is accompanied by a fluency in a Southeast Asian language (currently, Bahasa Indonesia, Malay, Thai and Vietnamese). We offer BA, BA (Hons), MA by coursework, MA by research and PhD degrees. The Department of Southeast Asian Studies offers an ideal alternative to students who find conventional approaches unsatisfactory or who prefer a more subject-oriented curriculum.

We welcome you to explore the many facets of student life, faculty expertise, and the various exciting programmes on offer at our department.


Unique Programmes

Javanese Gamelan & Classical Thai Music

As part of our inter-disciplinary approach, the Department of Southeast Asian Studies has incorporated the study of Javanese gamelan and classical Thai music in several of its modules. Students learn Javanese gamelan music and classical Thai music not only for their musical value but in the larger context of a broad-based learning of Southeast Asia and its cultures, societies, politics and economies. It is in this context that the study of Javanese gamelan and classical Thai music in Singapore can best benefit and educate students.

In some of these modules, students also have the opportunity to learn to play the Javanese gamelan and Thai musical instruments. Playing the instruments bring students beyond books and lectures and into the experience of Southeast Asian arts, making learning at Southeast Asian Studies a truly enjoyable and memorable experience.


Southeast Asia in Context Summer School

Hosted by the Department of Southeast Asian Studies at NUS in cooperation with the International Alliance of Research Universities Global Summer Program (IARU GSP), this International Residential Summer School on Southeast Asia which is also offered under the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences FASSTrack Asia Summer School is designed to provide students with the opportunity to live, study, and travel together, making it a valuable learning experience that extends beyond normal classroom-related activities.

Southeast Asia in Context is a five-week exploration of Southeast Asia’s geographical, historical and cultural diversity. This course takes advantage of Singapore’s strategic position in offering a unique blend of classroom instruction at NUS campus with hands-on fieldwork in Cambodia and Thailand or Indonesia. The lecturers are experienced teachers and researchers of Southeast Asia, who will explore themes such as Southeast Asian religion, archaeology, rural development, politics and regional integration.

The highlight of this course is the 10-day field trip to Cambodia and Thailand, or Indonesia where students will be exposed to local cultures and will be engaged in on-site lectures by both the course instructors and local experts. The field trip includes visits to magnificent ancient temples, rural agricultural communities, war memorials and a fair sampling of local village life that is well off the usual tourist track.

Career Prospects

Graduates of the department are employed in a wide variety of jobs in the private and public sectors. They have an advantage in cases where a job requires familiarity with Southeast Asia, and in particular, an ability to communicate in a Southeast Asian language. Local and multinational corporations based in Singapore with interests in Southeast Asia find that the department’s graduates are able to function effectively in the region.

Southeast Asian Studies graduates have built successful and exciting careers in a wide range of areas including statutory boards and government ministries, business and tourism, journalism and other media, teaching, research, and academia, public relations, finances and market research, museums, cultural centres, arts festivals, arts councils, diplomatic work, and international organizations (e.g. aid agencies, NGOs and philanthropic foundations).

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Dean's Office, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences National University of Singapore

  • Add: The Shaw Foundation Building, Block AS7, Level 5
  • 5 Arts Link, Singapore 117570
  • Level 5 (Undergraduate) & Level 6 (Graduate)
  • Fax: +65 6777 0751
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