Southeast Asian Studies

The Southeast Asia specialisation is specifically intended for students interested in one or more aspects of Southeast Asia, such as history, literature, art and art history, media and cultural studies, religious studies, philosophy or philology.

Expertise in Leiden is concentrated on Indonesia, but also covers the other Southeast Asian countries. The programme allows students either to emphasise language and a single country study, or a specific discipline and region, especially since many courses examine regional issues that go beyond the study of a single country or language. The programme’s modular structure with elective courses and an individually supervised thesis allows students a considerable degree of freedom and individual specialisation.

The specialisation gives students ample opportunity either to deepen classical or modern language learning started at BA level, or, if they wish, to start with the relevant modern languages. Students have the option of taking an intensive modern Indonesian language course. Knowledge of the Indonesian language is required for some, but not all, courses.

MA in Asian Studies
The one-year MA in Asian Studies allows students to specialise in pre-modern history, modern history, art and art history, linguistics, literature, religious studies and philosophy, sociology, development studies, media studies, political science and international relations, and anthropology. The many courses and specialisations of the programme cater for students with many different backgrounds and study aims, including those without knowledge of one or more Asian languages.

Master details

  • This is a specialisation of: Asian Studies
  • Degree Master of Arts in Asian Studies
  • Mode of study Full-time
  • Duration 1 year
  • Start date September, February
  • Language of instruction English
  • Location Leiden
  • Croho/isat code 60839

Prof. Bernard Arps

Bernard Arps

“A characteristic of our study is that it is strongly empirical: we offer factual material as well as comparative historical perspectives.”

“In 1992 I obtained my doctorate with my dissertation on Tembang in Two Traditions, a study of the handing down of the recital of Javanese poems in two different traditions, the tradition of a Javanese court in Central Java, and of the countryside in the far eastern part of Java, towards Bali. I placed ancient Javanese traditions in a modern context. My specialist field is modern media, music and Javanese theatre. My fascination can be traced back to my youth when I first came into contact with gamelan music, and played in a gamelan orchestra.

There are very few departments anywhere in the world which can measure up to the one in Leiden. Leiden has a long tradition in the field of studying Indonesia. The book collection of the University Library is unparalleled anywhere. Also outside the university, students have access to unique sources, such as the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV). The staff corps also has eminent and active researchers.

A characteristic of our study is that it is strongly empirical: we offer a lot of factual material as well as comparative historical perspectives. This approach attracts students from all parts of the world.”

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