M.A. in Southeast Asian Studies

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.

The program is designed to provide students with broad interdisciplinary training in language and area studies, offered by faculty in the social sciences and humanities, as well as in various professional fields. This interdisciplinary degree program was approved by the Graduate School in 1989. In the past 30 years (1991-2021), 125 students have completed the MA, and most have found placement in doctoral programs and degree-related employment. Please also note that the Center offers Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships for students in the program. Click here for more information about these fellowship opportunities and to apply.

International Graduate Students

We welcome applications from international students, but realize that applying from outside the United States requires many additional tasks. If you are an international student interested in our program, please contact the Center (seasia@seasia.wisc.edu) to consult with Michael Cullinane (also at: mmcullin@wisc.edu) about the program and the application procedures.

Graduate students will receive the MA by

  1. Demonstrating a level of proficiency in a Southeast Asian language equivalent to having successfully completed four semesters of that language (the language requirement).
  2. Completing 30 credits or 10 courses with Southeast Asia content: six credits (or two courses) must be graduate-level seminars (or the equivalent); twelve credits (or 4 courses) must be in one field of concentration (that is in one or two related departments, or in an interdisciplinary field approved by the faculty advisor), and remaining eighteen credits (or 6 courses) in one or more other fields or departments.
  3. Performing 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, with the examination including two other faculty members affiliated with the program or approved by the program.

Students interested in applying to the MA program in Southeast Asian Studies may enter the program at two times during the academic year: Fall (September) and Spring (January).

All applications to the program must be submitted through the Graduate School’s online application form, available at this link. For general information about the Graduate school admission requirements please visit this link.

Please follow the Graduate School application instructions as listed on links above. If you have questions, please contact the Center: seasia@seasia.wisc.edu. Each online application will require the applicant to complete the application form, provide a statement of purpose, submit digital copies of all undergraduate and graduate transcripts, and have three letters of reference submitted.

In addition, the applicant should submit to the Center for Southeast Asian Studies two sets of official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions that they have attended. One of these will be deposited in the Graduate School to confirm the completion of your undergraduate degree. Please note: the GRE scores are no longer required for applications to this program.

Your admission to the MA program is based on both the Graduate School’s and the Center for Southeast Asian Studies’ decisions. Please contact the Graduate School directly to inquire about the Graduate School’s admission process. For Fall semester admission, all application materials should be received by May 31. For Spring semester admission, all application materials should be received by September 30. It is your responsibility to make sure that all the required materials have been received by the Graduate School and by the Center for Southeast Asian Studies. Once your application is complete, the Center will make its decision and will notify you as quickly as possible.

Please direct all questions about the MA program or the status of your application to Michael Cullinane, the Center’s Associate Director (mmcullin@wisc.edu).