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Southeast Asian Studies (MA) (60EC)

The MA Southeast Asian Studies at Leiden University explores Southeast Asia in-depth and from the perspective of its history, literature, media, culture, religions, philosophy or philology.

Learn more about this master's programme by watching the Master's Talks programme videos

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Why study Southeast Asian Studies in Leiden University?

This one-year master's in Southeast Asian Studies is designed for highly-motivated students interested in studying Southeast Asia from a comparative and global perspective. You will explore the countries or regions of Southeast Asia through the lens of complementary disciplines including history, literature, art and art history, media and cultural studies, religious studies, philosophy and philology.

Learn more about the study programme

Customise your degree

A flexible degree format allows you to tailor your degree to reflect your interests or specific career goals. Choose from a broad range of electives, select your own area of research for your MA thesis, and focus your studies on a language and a single country, or on a specific discipline and region.

Admission and Application

Do you want to find out if you are eligible for this Master's Programme?

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Learn a language

Knowledge of an Asian language is not required for this master’s programme, but you have the option of taking an intensive modern language course in Indonesian instead of an elective in both the first and second semesters.

Learn from internationally-acclaimed scholars

Expertise on Asia at Leiden University is internationally renowned and spans the whole of Asia. Small classes give you direct and regular contact with your lecturers. You will learn from some of Europe's best scholars in the field, many of whom are at the leading edge of Asia-related research.

Bernard Arps

Professor of Indonesian and Javanese Language and Culture

Bernard Arps

“There are very few departments anywhere in the world that can measure up to the department at Leiden, which has a long tradition in the study of Indonesia. An important characteristic of our study is that it is strongly empirical: we offer factual material as well as comparative historical perspectives.”

Unparalleled collections

"The book collection in the University Library is unparalleled anywhere. Outside of the university, students have access to unique sources such as the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV). The staff corps also has eminent and active researchers."

Javanese wall poem in Leiden

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There are hundreds of writing systems in the world. Some of these are commonly known, like our Latin alphabet, the Arabic script, Egyptian hieroglyphics and Chinese characters. But what do you know about the Javanese script? Check out Dr. Tijmen Pronk's introduction to the writing system of a poem in Javanese. The poem is part of the famous Leiden Wall Poems.

In which sector do students find jobs?

  • 26 Government and semi-government
  • 14 Education
  • 12 Financial institutions
  • 7 IT
  • 7 Culture, sports and recreation
  • 5 Industrial sector
  • 5 Research
  • 5 Consultancy
  • 5 Information management
  • 14 Other

The graph above is based on alumni data from the MA Asian Studies 2016-2020.

Find out more about the career prospects

Southeast Asian Studies degree

Southeast Asian Studies at Leiden University is an accredited degree programme. After successful completion of this programme, you will receive a master’s degree in Asian Studies and the title Master of Arts (MA). 

Chat with a student

Do you have a question about studying at Leiden University or student life in Leiden? Do you want more information about the Asian Studies master's programme? Chat with a current student for answers to your questions!

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