• Total units 48 Units
  • Areas of interest Anthropology, Cultural Studies, History, Asian Studies, Security Studies More...
  • Major code SEAS-MAJ

Southeast Asia is known for its role as an economic hub, as well as its political and cultural diversity. Students in the Southeast Asian Studies major at ANU have access to a wide range of scholars and courses on language, history, cultures, and politics in the region. By completing coursework as prescribed by the major, students will gain a deeper understanding of regional issues, such as power, globalization, ethnicity and gender, as well as processes and issues specific to their country or area of interest. These can include religious systems, economic networks and cross-cultural contact. Current major strengths are in Burmese, Indonesian, Thai and Vietnamese studies, and some of our staff also support work relating to other ethnic nationality and trans-border issues. In addition to developing a critical, analytical understanding of Southeast Asia, past and present, students gain significant knowledge and skills which will boost their qualifications for finding employment, or alternatively, further study for a higher degree program.


The Southeast Asian studies major is designed to complement the Indonesian, Thai and Vietnamese language majors, and the Burmese and Tetum language minors, though knowledge of these languages is not required for courses in the Southeast Asian studies major.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Understand and evaluate historical and current events and developments that have shaped Southeast Asia.

  2. Identify and critique the contemporary socio-cultural and political systems of Southeast Asia, with detailed understanding of differing trajectories across Mainland and Island Southeast Asia.

  3. Analyse current debates relating to regional cooperation and unity, including with supra-national groups, namely ASEAN, in the context of tensions in traditions.

  4. Analyse the global significance of events and developments in Southeast Asia.

  5. Understand the processes and disciplinary approaches through which current knowledge about Southeast Asia Studies has developed.  

Other Information

Students with previous “language experience or exposure” are required to take a language proficiency assessment to ensure enrolment at the most appropriate level. 

Relevant past experience includes:

  • Previous study of the language (both formal and informal, for example but not limited to, at school, or, home, or through online activities, etc.)
  • Being exposed to the language in childhood via a family member or friend
  • Travel or living in a country where the language is spoken
  • The language being spoken in your home (even if you do not speak it yourself)

Students who are not sure if they need to take a proficiency assessment should seek advice from the course or language convenor. 

Students who intentionally misrepresent their language proficiency level may be investigated under the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 as having failed to comply with assessment directions and having sought unfair advantage. This may results in a penalty such as reduced grades or failure of the course.

Students are not permitted to enrol in a language course below one that they have already successfully completed, except with permission of the language and/or course convenor.

Areas of Interest

  • Anthropology
  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Asian Studies
  • Security Studies
  • Asia Pacific Studies
  • Asia-Pacific Studies
  • Politics
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This major requires the completion of 48 units, which must include:

A minimum of 6 units must come from completion of core courses from the following list:

ASIA1025 Asia and the Pacific: Power, diversity and change (6 units)

ASIA1030 Asia and the Pacific in Motion (6 units)

12 units from the completion of the following compulsory courses:

ASIA2041 Mainland Southeast Asia: Colonial and Postcolonial Predicaments (6 units)

ASIA3030 History of the State System in Southeast Asia (6 units)

A minimum of 18 units from the following regional or disciplinary contextual studies courses:

ARCH2050 Archaeology of Southeast Asia (6 units)

ASIA2018 Maps and Mapping in Asia and the Pacific (6 units)

ASIA2039 Burma/Myanmar - a Country in Crisis (6 units)

ASIA2060 Southeast Asian Security (6 units)

ASIA2070 Democracy in Southeast Asia (6 units)

ASIA2090 Study Tour: The Political Economy of Myanmar (6 units)

ASIA2111 Indonesian Foreign and Security Policy (6 units)

ASIA2120 Colonialism and the Rule of Law (6 units)

ASIA2165 Islam in Southeast Asia (6 units)

ASIA2167 Borders and their Transgressions in Mainland Southeast Asia (6 units)

ASIA2275 Pleasures and Powers of Stories in South and Southeast Asia (6 units)

ASIA2516 Indonesia: Politics, Society and Development (6 units)

ASIA2747 Airlines in Asia and the Pacific: Histories, Technologies, Cultures, and Geographies (6 units)

ASIA3035 Indonesia in the Malay World: Culture, Media and Everyday Life (6 units)

HUMN2004 Global Vietnam: Gender, Labour and Migration (6 units)

INTR2028 Regionalism, Rights and Order in Southeast Asia (6 units)

STST2020 Study tour: Southeast Asia's Security Choices (6 units)

WARS2002 The Vietnam Wars: 1941-1989 (6 units)

A maximum of 6 units from the following regional or disciplinary contextual studies courses:

ASIA2001 Language in Asia and the Pacific (6 units)

ASIA2016 The Mongol Empire in World History (6 units)

ASIA2045 Lies, Conspiracy and Propaganda (6 units)

ASIA2065 Asian Politics: From Concepts to Causes (6 units)

ASIA2067 Economies of Emerging Asia (6 units)

ASIA2093 Natural Resource Conflicts in Asia and the Pacific (6 units)

ASIA2103 Language in Asia and the Pacific (L) (6 units)

ASIA2301 Human Migration and Expansion in the Rise of the Asia-Pacific (6 units)

ASIA2302 Culture and Modernity in Asia: Anthropological Perspectives (6 units)

ASIA2304 What is Literature? Asian Perspectives (6 units)

ASIA2307 History of Empire in Asia (6 units)

ASIA2311 Gender and Cultural Studies in Asia and the Pacific (6 units)

ASIA3021 Engaging Asia: Australia and the Asian Century (6 units)

ASIA3029 Reconciliation and the memory of conflict in Asia (6 units)

ASIA3053 Rituals of Life and Death in Asia and the Pacific (6 units)

INTR2010 International Relations in the Asia-Pacific (6 units)

INTR2012 Chinese Foreign and Security Policy (6 units)

INTR2014 Indian Foreign and Security Policy (6 units)

INTR2016 US Foreign and Security Policy in Asia (6 units)

INTR2047 Human Security: Conflict, Displacement and Peace Building (6 units)

STST2001 International Security issues in the Asia Pacific (6 units)

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