The M.A. degree in Southeast Asian Studies is an interdisciplinary program designed to meet the unique needs of two broad groups of students: those seeking certification of area expertise en route to a disciplinary doctoral degree and those seeking a terminal M.A. en route to a wide range of careers in Southeast Asia, including employment in business, journalism, and various government and international organizations. The program requires two years of coursework (or the equivalent) in a Southeast Asian language and 30 graduate credits in Southeast Asian studies courses.
The Center for Southeast Asian Studies administers a formal graduate program in Southeast Asian studies and facilitates interdisciplinary study on Southeast Asia in intercollege, professional, and other degree programs throughout the university. The Southeast Asian studies program provides students with the opportunity to concentrate their study of this dynamic region in several disciplines and professional areas: anthropology, communications (journalism), development, education, economics, environmental studies, geography, history, linguistics, literature, music and dance (performing arts), political science, public health, religion, sociology, and urban and regional planning, as well as natural resources, business, and law, and public policy. Faculty expertise and library holdings are particularly strong for in-depth study of Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. The goal of the program is to provide students with a strong area and language background on Southeast Asia and to prepare them for a range of academic and professional careers.
Language study is a critical component in area studies, and the center encourages students to develop proficiency in at least one Southeast Asian language. During the academic year, instruction is offered through the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures in five Southeast Asian languages: Filipino (Tagalog), Hmong, Indonesian, Thai, and Vietnamese. Each language is offered at two or more levels of instruction, with advanced readings and literature courses available in Indonesian. The center also facilitates participation in the Southeast Asian Studies Summer Institute (SEASSI), which provides instruction during the summers at multiple levels in eight languages of the region: Burmese, Filipino, Hmong, Indonesian/Malaysian, Javanese, Khmer, Lao, Thai, and Vietnamese, and depending on enrollments, Javanese. Though SEASSI is hosted by the center and based in Madison, it is open to students from anywhere. More information is available on the SEASSI website.
Interdisciplinary courses may be taken from many departments. Courses must contain a minimum of 25 percent Southeast Asia content to be counted for all the graduate programs. For a more complete and up-to-date listing of currently available courses, contact the Center for Southeast Asian Studies. Because the instructors and contents of many courses may change over time (especially for graduate level topics courses and seminars), students should consult the Center for Southeast Asian Studies for confirmation on whether a course may count for the M.A. degree, the graduate certificate, or the doctoral minor.
Please consult the table below for key information about this degree program’s admissions requirements. The program may have more detailed admissions requirements, which can be found below the table or on the program’s website.
Graduate admissions is a two-step process between academic programs and the Graduate School. Applicants must meet the minimum requirements of the Graduate School as well as the program(s). Once you have researched the graduate program(s) you are interested in, apply online.
|Fall Deadline||July 15|
|Spring Deadline||November 15|
|Summer Deadline||April 15|
|GRE (Graduate Record Examinations)||Required.|
|English Proficiency Test||Every applicant whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English must provide an English proficiency test score and meet the Graduate School minimum requirements (https://grad.wisc.edu/apply/requirements/#english-proficiency).|
|Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT)||n/a|
|Letters of Recommendation Required||3|
Applicants for admission to the M.A. degree program in Southeast Asian Studies should submit the online application on the Graduate School website. The following materials are required and should be submitted to the center: statement of purpose, official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate study, three references, and Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores for U.S. citizens; most international students are also required to submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores (for recommended test scores, see the Graduate School website).
Graduate School Resources
Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and processes related to funding.
The center offers two graduate-level fellowships each year: Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships, funded by the U.S. Department of Education (Title VI); and Center Fellowships, funded by the center's Mellon endowment. Both fellowships provide full tuition and a monthly stipend and are awarded to deserving graduate students (in any discipline) with a strong commitment to the study of Southeast Asia. The center also provides Field Research Grants to be used to support doctoral dissertation and pre-dissertation research on Southeast Asia. Applicants for FLAS fellowships must be citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. and must apply to study one of the languages offered during the academic year: Filipino, Hmong, Indonesian, Thai, or Vietnamese. Center fellowships are generally awarded by semester and are open to all graduate students committed to the study of Southeast Asia. Field Research Grants can be awarded to graduate students in any field of study. Applications for FLAS, Center Fellowships, and Field Research Grants can be obtained directly from the center's office (or downloaded from the website) and must be submitted, along with all supporting materials, by the first week of February each year.
The center also nominates eligible incoming graduate students in its M.A. program for two university-wide competitions: Advanced Opportunity Fellowships (for minority students) and University Fellowships (for students with outstanding academic records). In addition to these opportunities, other fellowships and financial assistance are available outside the center.
For further information, incoming graduate students should write directly to the appropriate department and to the Office of Student Financial Aid. For additional information on the fellowships offered by the center, consult the center's website.
Minimum Graduate School Requirements
Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.
MODE OF INSTRUCTION
|Face to Face||Evening/Weekend||Online||Hybrid||Accelerated|
Mode of Instruction Definitions
Evening/Weekend: These programs are offered in an evening and/or weekend format to accommodate working schedules. Enjoy the advantages of on-campus courses and personal connections, while keeping your day job. For more information about the meeting schedule of a specific program, contact the program.
Online: These programs are offered primarily online. Many available online programs can be completed almost entirely online with all online programs offering at least 50 percent or more of the program work online. Some online programs have an on-campus component that is often designed to accommodate working schedules. Take advantage of the convenience of online learning while participating in a rich, interactive learning environment. For more information about the online nature of a specific program, contact the program.
Hybrid: These programs have innovative curricula that combine on-campus and online formats. Most hybrid programs are completed on-campus with a partial or completely online semester. For more information about the hybrid schedule of a specific program, contact the program.
Accelerated: These on-campus programs are offered in an accelerated format that allows you to complete your program in a condensed time-frame. Enjoy the advantages of on-campus courses with minimal disruption to your career. For more information about the accelerated nature of a specific program, contact the program.
|Minimum Credit Requirement||30 credits|
|Minimum Residence Credit Requirement||16 credits|
|Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement||Half of degree coursework (15 credits out of 30 total credits) must be completed graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide (https://registrar.wisc.edu/course-guide/).|
|Overall Graduate GPA Requirement||3.00 GPA required.|
|Other Grade Requirements||The Graduate School requires an average grade of B or better in all coursework (300 or above, not including research credits) taken as a graduate student unless conditions for probationary status require higher grades. Grades of Incomplete are considered to be unsatisfactory if they are not removed during the next enrolled semester.|
|Assessments and Examinations||Contact the program for information on required assessments and examinations.|
|Language Requirements||Contact the program for information on any language requirements.|
Graduate students will receive the M.A. by
- demonstrating a level of proficiency in a Southeast Asian language equivalent to having successfully completed four semesters of that language
- completing thirty credits of area-content coursework (with six of these being graduate seminars)– fifteen in one field of concentration (that is in one department, in two or more related departments, or in an interdisciplinary field approved by the faculty advisor) and fifteen in one or more other fields
- perform satisfactorily in an oral examination focused on the candidate’s knowledge of Southeast Asia as demonstrated by a research paper approved by the faculty advisor.
Graduate School Policies
The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.
Graduate Program Handbook
A Graduate Program Handbook containing all of the program's policies and requirements is forthcoming from the program.
Graduate Work from Other Institutions
With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 9 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions.
No credits from a UW–Madison undergraduate degree are allowed to count toward the degree.
UW–Madison University Special
With program approval, student are allowed to count no more than 9 credits of coursework numbered 300 or above taken as a UW–Madison University Special student.
The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School.
ADVISOR / COMMITTEE
Every graduate student is required to have an advisor. To ensure that students are making satisfactory progress toward a degree, the Graduate School expects them to meet with their advisor on a regular basis.
An advisor generally serves as the thesis advisor. In many cases, an advisor is assigned to incoming students. Students can be suspended from the Graduate School if they do not have an advisor. An advisor is a faculty member, or sometimes a committee, from the major department responsible for providing advice regarding graduate studies.
A committee often accomplishes advising for the students in the early stages of their studies.
CREDITS PER TERM ALLOWED
Master’s degree students who have been absent for five or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Individual programs may count the coursework students completed prior to their absence for meeting program requirements; that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.
Graduate School Resources
Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career.
- Demonstrate knowledge of one or more regions of Southeast Asia, focusing on a research question(s), problem or case study situated within a broader analytic framework and knowledge of the cultures, religions, history, anthropology, geography, economics, literature, and/or languages within scholarship on Southeast Asia.
- Demonstrate proficiency in reading, speaking, and listening in one or more Southeast Asian languages, at least at the proficiency level of four semesters.
- Analyze and synthesize information and ideas within the context of interdisciplinary Southeast Asian studies.
- Understand, respond to, and construct arguments across disciplines relating to the study of Southeast Asia.
- Apply their knowledge to solutions of intellectual as well as practical problems.
- Recognize and apply principles of professional and ethical conduct.
- Conduct academic research using an appropriate range of social scientific and/or humanistic sources, methodologies, and critical theories.
- Communicate effectively in writing and orally.
Faculty: Professors Bowie (Anthropology), Coxhead (Agricultural & Applied Economics), Gade (Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies), Hansen (History), A. McCoy (History), Olds (Geography), Sidel (Law), Zhou (Anthropology); Associate Professors Baird (Geography, Director), Choy (Dance/Asian American Studies), Haberkorn (Asian Languages and Cultures), Ho (Curriculum and Instruction/Education), Kim (Anthropology), Nobles (Sociology); Adjunct Associate Professor Kozel (La Follette School of Public Affairs), Faculty Associates Barnard (Asian Languages & Cultures), Cullinane (History/Southeast Asian Studies), Jung (Political Science), M. McCoy (Communication Arts/Southeast Asian Studies); Lecturers Dinh (Asian Languages & Cultures), Lee (Asian Languages & Cultures), Surasin (Asian Languages and Cultures), Suryani (Asian Languages and Cultures), Zamar (Asian Languages & Cultures); Librarian Ashmun (Southeast Asia Collection, Memorial Library)