Academic Programs

The Center for Southeast Asian Studies offers the following degree and certificate programs.  Whether you are a prospective or current UW-Madison student, please contact Michael Cullinane, CSEAS Associate Director, for more information.


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An undergraduate concentration on Southeast Asian Studies is available as a “named option” in the undergraduate major offered by the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures (ALC). For information relating to this major, interested students should consult the Asian Languages and Cultures site on Guide, and the ALC website.

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The undergraduate certificate in Southeast Asian Studies is awarded to undergraduate students in any degree program other than Asian Studies (Southeast Asia Concentration). The program is intended to allow undergraduate students to document their advanced training on Southeast Asian Studies. This certificate is particularly beneficial for students majoring in International Studies by making it possible to demonstrate language and area expertise on the region of Southeast Asia, which also works well with Anthropology, History, Political Science, Sociology, Gender & Women’s Studies, Human Ecology, Journalism, and many other humanities and social science disciplines. The certificate also provides an opportunity for students with science and technology majors to concentrate their electives on the study of Southeast Asia.

The certificate requires the completion of 15 credits (3 to 4 courses) of Southeast Asian Studies core courses that have been approved by the Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS). Up to 6 credits of Southeast Asian language courses can be counted for the certificate, but only those offered at the intermediate (3rd semester) or higher levels. For undergraduate level courses that satisfy the certificate program, see

Students interested in this certificate should contact Michael Cullinane, CSEAS Associate Director and Undergraduate Advisor (207 Ingraham Hall,, or 263-1755). After enrolled, students should consult with Dr. Cullinane before the beginning of each semester to discuss Southeast Asian Studies course offerings.

Students interested in majoring in Southeast Asian Studies, should contact the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, which offers a BA/BS in Asian Studies, with a Southeast Asia named option; please contact:



The MA in Southeast Asian Studies program meets the unique needs of two broad groups of students: those seeking certification of area expertise en route to a disciplinary PhD and those seeking a terminal MA en route to a wide range of careers in Southeast Asia, including, among others, employment in government, business, journalism, and non-governmental and international organizations. Learn more.


A PhD minor in Southeast Asian Studies is offered to doctoral students who are interested in documenting their knowledge of Southeast Asia in pursuit of their PhD degrees. The minor requires a minimum of 12 graduate-level credits (4 courses) in departments outside the student’s major and must be approved by the Associate Director in consultation with the Faculty Director of the Center. Since the completion of the minor precedes doctoral candidacy, it is important to decide on the minor as early as possible to allow time to complete the required courses. Up to six credits (2 courses) in advanced study of a Southeast Asian language can be counted for the minor. For graduate level courses that satisfy the minor, see

Related Multidisciplinary Programs within UW–Madison

In addition to extensive Southeast Asian course offerings and degree programs in social science and humanities departments, there are ample opportunities for students to design multidisciplinary and professional degree programs in development and environmental studies, natural resources management, international agriculture, public health, business, public affairs, and legal studies. Wisconsin’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), La Follette Institute of Public Affairs, the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, the School of Human Ecology, the School of Medicine & Public Health’s Departments of Medical History and Bioethics, Population and Health Planning (including the Global Health Institute) and Nursing, and the Business School offer training in a broad range of courses and programs where students can focus on Southeast Asia. Core faculty associated with the Center for Southeast Asian Studies actively participate in these programs through developing and leading research projects on Southeast Asia related to these and other areas of professional expertise.

In 2021, with funding from the Henry Luce Foundation, CSEAS has launched at innovative new program focused on Social Justice in Southeast Asia. Undergraduate, MA and PhD students can craft a program of study that addresses human rights, gender justice, environment, ethnicity, the politics of development and the legacies of colonialism across the Departments of Asian Languages and Cultures, History, Geography, Anthropology, Sociology, Curriculum and Instruction, and Agricultural and Applied Economics, as well as the Law School. Coursework is complemented by Social Justice Internships and the workshops, lecture series, reading group, translation projects and other activities of the Justice in Southeast Asia Lab. Coursework and programming is further enriched by the wealth of resources available at UW-Madison, including special collections held at UW-Madison’s Memorial Library, including the Thai Radicalism collection covering the struggles of students, the Communist Party of Thailand and other progressives between 1973 and 1983; extensive collections related to Radio UNTAC, the radio programs produced by the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia in 1992-1993; and extensive newspaper and other periodicals, film, literary and scholarly materials in English, SEA languages, and others about social justice in the region. See:

Beginning in the mid-1990s, CSEAS developed a deep commitment to Hmong Studies, initially on the study of the Hmong language and increasingly on the broader study of Hmong communities in Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and China, as well as on the study of the “the Hmong in the West,” particularly in the United States. With generous assistance from the Henry Luce Foundation, we established the Hmong Studies Consortium in 2009, which began as a collaboration between UW-Madison and the University of Minnesota, with affiliated scholars and students residing in the upper Midwest; while the consortium continues to focus on Madison and the Twin Cities, it has increasingly incorporated scholars and students with research interests on the Hmong from around the US. For more information on our commitment to Hmong Studies. See: