Students interested in more specialized study of the languages and literature of East Asia, South Asia, or Southeast Asia should see the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, the Center for East Asian Studies, or the Center for South Asia; those interested in the study of languages and cultures of Central Asia should see the Center for Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies. All questions pertaining to Southeast Asian studies at UW–Madison should be addressed to the Center for Southeast Asian Studies (see box at right).

Certificate in Southeast Asian Studies

The undergraduate certificate in Southeast Asian studies is available to students working toward a baccalaureate degree in any of the University of Wisconsin–Madison schools and colleges. This certificate meets the needs of students choosing to focus on the Southeast Asia region (Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar/Burma, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) within their primary major, but not wishing to commit to the more rigorous language and area studies courses required for the B.A. in Asian Languages and Cultures (named option in Southeast Asia). Students select coursework reflecting their interests from classes offered through many university departments, and can work toward a variety of undergraduate majors. Upon earning the certificate, this emphasis is noted on the student's transcript. The certificate is of value to students wishing to demonstrate their knowledge of the Southeast Asian region either to potential employers or to graduate schools.

Students interested in declaring the certificate in Southeast Asian studies should contact the program advisor.

Requirements for the Certificate

15 credits, as follows

Up to 6 credits of Language may count:0-6
Fourth Semester Burmese
Third Semester Burmese
Third Semester Filipino
Fourth Semester Filipino
Third Semester Hmong
Fourth Semester Hmong
Third Semester Indonesian
Fourth Semester Indonesian
Third Semester Khmer
Fourth Semester Khmer
Third Semester Thai
Fourth Semester Thai
Third Semester Vietnamese
Fourth Semester Vietnamese
Fifth Semester Burmese
Sixth Semester Burmese
Fifth Semester Filipino
Sixth Semester Filipino
Fifth Semester Hmong
Sixth Semester Hmong
Fifth Semester Indonesian
Sixth Semester Indonesian
Fifth Semester Khmer
Sixth Semester Khmer
Fifth Semester Thai
Sixth Semester Thai
Fifth Semester Vietnamese
Sixth Semester Vietnamese
Third Semester Southeast Asian Language
Fourth Semester Southeast Asian Language
Fifth Semester Southeast Asian Language
Sixth Semester Southeast Asian Language
Seventh Semester Southeast Asian Language
Eighth Semester Southeast Asian Language
Core courses:9-15
Globalization, Poverty and Development
The Qur'an: Religious Scripture & Literature
Southeast Asian Literature
Introduction to Sufism (Islamic Mysticism)
Economic Growth and Development in Southeast Asia
Introduction to Southeast Asia: Vietnam to the Philippines
World Regions in Global Context
Human Geography of Southeast Asia
Development and Environment in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asian Refugees of the "Cold" War
Asian Religions in Global Perspective
Introduction to Buddhism
The Vietnam Wars
Buddhism and Society in Southeast Asian History
History of Southeast Asia Since 1800
International Business
Islam and World Politics
Politics of East and Southeast Asia
The Environment: Religion & Ethics
Islam: Religion and Culture

Residence and Quality of Work

  • 2.000 GPA on all certificate-approved courses
  • 8 credits in the certificate, in Residence


This undergraduate certificate must be completed concurrently with the student’s undergraduate degree. Students cannot delay degree completion to complete the certificate.

  1. (Historical and Cultural Grounding) understanding the historical political and cultural forces and conditions that have given rise to the unity and diversity in the region today.
  2. (Multi-disciplinarity) analyzing contemporary political, economic, and cultural realities in the region from at least two disciplinary perspectives, ideally including humanities, social sciences and sometimes natural science approaches.
  3. (Depth of Knowledge) mastering at the undergraduate generalist level a particular facet of life in the region by taking courses on a particular sub-region or country or by studying a regional language or by taking at least two courses on the region in one discipline.

All students interested in this certificate are encouraged to take HISTORY/​ASIAN/​GEOG/​POLI SCI/​SOC  244 Introduction to Southeast Asia: Vietnam to the Philippines

Southeast Asian language courses can be taken during the academic year (Filipino, Hmong, Indonesian, Thai, and Vietnamese) and all of these plus three others (Burmese, Khmer, and Lao) can be taken at UW–Madison’s summer program, the Southeast Asian Studies Summer Institute.

Students interested in the certificate in Southeast Asian studies, should contact the program adviser Michael Cullinane,, 608-263-1755.

Faculty: Professors Bowie (Anthropology), Coxhead (Agricultural and 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 and Cultures), Cullinane (History/Southeast Asian Studies), Jung (Political Science), M. McCoy (Communication Arts/Southeast Asian Studies); Lecturers Dinh (Asian Languages and 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)

As a regional center within the Institute for Regional and International Studies, we support and enhance international and global awareness in our student communities and inspire informed thinking about the complexities of our world. We encourage our students to connect to international networks and our regional communities through our program’s lecture series, film screenings, and varied outreach events and activities. We encourage our students to study abroad, do international internships, learn foreign languages, and expect them to gain an interdisciplinary grounding in global and regional affairs. We provide resources and expertise on our world area to students, and prospective students, and more broadly to K-12 teachers and students, postsecondary educators and graduate students, businesses, the media, the military, the community at large, and anyone else who wants it.

Information about resources, scholarships and funding through the Center for Southeast Asian Studies is available from our website on the "For Students" and the "Resources" tabs. We also encourage our students to explore funding options available through the Institute for Regional and International Studies (IRIS) Awards Office.