University of Wisconsin–Madison

M.A. in Southeast Asian Studies

The MA in Southeast Asian Studies was approved by the Graduate School in 1988. This interdisciplinary degree 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 business, journalism, and various governmental and international organizations.

Between 1989 and 2000, 66 students have completed the MA and almost all have found placement in graduate programs and degree related employment. The program is designed to provide students with broad interdisciplinary training in language and area studies. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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.


Application and Admission to the Master’s Program in Southeast Asian Studies

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).

The Graduate School’s general application form can now only be submitted online at: For information about the Graduate school admission requirements please go to:
For the Graduate School checklist:

Effective March 14, 2008, there are NO paper applications to the MA Program in Southeast Asian Studies. Please follow the Graduate School application instructions as listed above on their website.

The applicant should submit to the Center for Southeast Asian Studies two sets of official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate institutions that he/she has attended.

The applicant will also need to submit to the Graduate School:

Three letters of recommendation done electronically through the on-line Graduate School application

Official GRE scores for U.S. citizens or TOEFL scores for speakers of English as a second language, submitted electronically through the online Graduate School application

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 must be received by May 31. For Spring semester admission, all application materials must be received by September 30. In addition, also know that it is your responsibility to make sure that all needed materials have been received by the Center for Southeast Asian Studies.

Direct questions about the MA program or the status of your application to our Associate Director, Michael Cullinane. Please send the completed Southeast Asian Studies application to the following address:

Center for Southeast Asian Studies
207 Ingraham, 1155 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706