University of Washington

Office of Academic Services

Thomson Hall Room 111

Bachelor of Arts Degree-Asian Studies

Southeast Asia Option


Program Description

Students at the University of Washington may work toward a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Asian Studies (Southeast Asia Option). The degree is earned through the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies. The program seeks to promote the study of Southeast Asia--Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Timor Loro'sae, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam--with special emphasis on those regions from which significant numbers of migrants and refugees have resettled in Washington State and the U.S., and which are important to our role in the Pacific Rim. The particular area strengths of faculty at the University of Washington lie in the study of Burma, Timor Loro'sae, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam.

Core courses introducing students to the cultures and societies of the region are offered in the Jackson School and in various departments, notably the Departments of American Ethnic Studies, Anthropology, Asian Languages & Literature, Comparative Literature, Communications, History, The School of Music, and Political Science. Additional courses are offered by the Departments of American Ethnic Studies, Economics, English, Geography, Law, Schools of Marine Affairs, Music, Nursing, Public Health, Public Affairs, Social Work, and Sociology. Language instruction is offered at beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels in Thai, Filipino, Vietnamese and Indonesian, at beginning level in Khmer, and by independent study for Burmese.

Southeast Asia faculty at the UW are drawn primarily from the College of Arts and Sciences and from the Health Sciences. Other faculty from Business Administration, Fisheries, Forest Resources, Law, and Oceanography also have research interests in Southeast Asia or are involved in the training of students from Southeast Asia.

- Laurie J. Sears, Chair

Admission to Major - open major

Any undergraduate in good standing may declare Asian Studies (Southeast Asia concentration) as a major.

Degree Requirements


Proficiency through the second-year college level of a Southeast Asian language.


  • Introductory courses:
  1. JSIS 203, The Rise of Asia (5), or JSIS A 207 Asian  Traditions (5);
  2. JSIS 201, The Making of the 21st Century (5);
  3. JSIS A/HSTAS 221, History of Southeast Asia (5)
  1. A second Asian civilization course or a thematic/cross-regional course chosen from an approved list (5 credits);
  2. A minimum of 30 credits in approved upper-division courses on Southeast Asia, including 10 credits in required topic courses and 20 additional credits in approved elective courses, focusing on such areas as Southeast Asian history, society and culture, government and politics, and development issues. In addition, an approved research paper is required in one of the upper-division courses on Southeast Asia. See the Southeast Asia BA Checklist below.

To view the requirements for the major on a planning follow the link below:

Southeast Asia BA Checklist

  • Asia Research Paper: In addition, an approved research paper is required to be completed with a member of the Asian Studies faculty in one of the upper-division courses on Southeast Asia.
  • A minimum grade of 2.0 in all courses counted toward the major is required, except for first- and second-year language courses, where grades must average at least 2.00.
  • The "paper course" and 30 of the 35 credits required for the Southeast Asia concentration courses must be taken in residence at the University of Washington.
  • Overlapping credits: A maximum of 15 credits that are used to fulfill minimum requirements of any other UW major can be counted in this major.

Lists of courses approved for the thematic/cross-regional and Southeast Asia-option electives and requirements are available in the Jackson School Office of Student Services in Thomson 111 and by following this link Click HERE.

Minor Requirements

 30 credits, to include the following:

  1. JSIS A/HSTAS 221 (5 credits)

  2. One introductory Asian civilization course from JSIS A 207 (Asian Traditions),
    JSIS 203 (Rise of Asia), JSIS A/HSTAS 212 (Korea), JSIS A/HSTAS 241, JSIS A 242 (Japan), HSTAS 201, JSIS A/HSTAS 202, JSIS A 206 (South Asia), HSTAS 211 (China), (5 credits)

  3. 15 credits of electives taken at the UW, chosen from approved Southeast Asia courses or joint-listed equivalent, or from the approved list of electives*

  4. 5 additional credits in Southeast Asian language beyond second-year level, or in upper-division transfer courses on Southeast Asia, or from the approved list of electives*

  5. Minimum grade of 2.0 required in each course applied toward the minor.

*List of approved elective courses: follow this link.

Library Facilities

Visit the Suzzallo Library Southeast Asia Section Page

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African Studies Program
University of Washington
326 Thomson Hall
Box 353650
Seattle, WA 98195

Joel Ngugi / Chair
Associate Professor, School of Law

Mary Kay Gugerty/Adjunct Director
Associate Professor, Evans School of Public Affairs

Erin Murphy/Program Assistant
Autumn Quarter Office Hours: Tues/Thurs 9-12, or by appt.
206.616.0998 office
206.685.0668 fax

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