Graduate Program in Southeast Asian Studies
The Master’s Program in Southeast Asian Studies (SEAS) is an interdepartmental program centered on the study of the arts and cultural life in Southeast Asia and the diasporas. To understand Southeast Asia as a region, students need to make sense of and engage with its diverse expressive forms of culture (including visual arts, literature, and performance) which are crucial in building and maintaining individual as well as group identity both within and across national or ethnic boundaries. Additionally, the region will be studied with an emphasis on historical, religious, and ethnographic perspectives.
We currently offer two MA tracks: Track 1 is based on research, while Track 2 requires community engagement (see below).
We strongly encourage interested applicants to consult our faculty profile page to learn about our areas of research and advising or to contact the Graduate Advisor before applying.
Requirements for Admission
All applicants must comply with the standard admission requirements as established by the Graduate Division. In addition, applicants must:
1) indicate a distinct interest in a region by way of their Statement of Purpose,
2) submit a writing sample (preferably a past term paper or course essay) to demonstrate basic skills of scholarship, and
3) choose which MA track: thesis based on research or comprehensive examination based on community service.
Students may also apply concurrently for the Southeast Asian Studies M.A. – Ph.D. Track in Anthropology, Comparative Literature, Ethnic Studies, History, or Music. For more information on M.A. – Ph.D. tracks, please contact the Graduate Advisor.
Deadlines for applications and admissions are on UCR’s Graduate Division website here.
Students must acquire (or increase) a distinct level of proficiency in at least one language relevant to Southeast Asian Studies prior to beginning research for the thesis and no later than the fifth quarter in the program. The required proficiency can be demonstrated by way of an exam or by completing one year of course work with a “B” or better.
Core Course Work
All students are required to pass the Proseminar in Southeast Asian Studies (SEAS 200) with a “B” or better. Additionally, students must pass (with a “B” or better) four of the following six seminar courses:
SEAS 201 Southeast Asian performance
SEAS 202 Southeast Asian religions
SEAS 203 Southeast Asian cultures
SEAS 204 History of Southeast Asia
SEAS 205 Literatures of Southeast Asia
SEAS 206 Media in Southeast Asia
In addition, they select four other seminars (at graduate and upper division level), in accordance with their main field of interest and pending approval by the Graduate Advisor and the student’s SEAS faculty advisor. A total of 40 units of coursework, including thesis (Track 1) or written report (Track 2), are required for the degree in Southeast Asian Studies.
Students concurrently enrolled in another M.A. graduate program in a cooperating department (Anthropology, Comparative Literature, Ethnic Studies, History, or Music) may include up to 16 units earned in that program toward the 40 units of the M.A. in Southeast Asian Studies. For all others, there must be at least 36 units uniquely applied to the Southeast Asian Studies degree. If the concurrent program requires a thesis, students may (with the approval of the Southeast Asian Studies faculty) be awarded the M.A. degree by passing a comprehensive oral examination on the basis of that thesis connected to Southeast Asia and its diasporas.
Track 1: Research and Thesis
Students on this track must conduct original research that forms the basis for a thesis, to be written under the supervision of a member of the program who also functions as the chair of their Thesis Committee. At the beginning of the second year (if not sooner), students should write a research proposal outlining their research project. Approximately 8-10 pages in length, this proposal should describe the aims of the research and provide a broader theoretical framework. After the proposal is approved by the Thesis Committee, and a copy submitted to the SEATRiP Graduate Advisor, students begin to conduct individual research in the field or in the library. During this time, students must enroll in a minimum of 4 units of Thesis Study (SEAS 299) or Directed Research (SEAS 297) under the supervision of a Southeast Asian Studies faculty who also functions as the chair of their Thesis Committee. The finished thesis should be a minimum of 50-60 pages in length. Before filing the thesis with Graduate Division, students must pass a formal oral examination based on tbe thesis. The Thesis Committee must have a minimum of two SEATRiP faculty members.
Track 2: Community Engagement and Written Report
Students on this track must participate in community activism, volunteer work, or an internship for the duration of a quarter (minimum). At the beginning of the second year (if not sooner), students should write a proposal outlining their intended form of community service. Approximately 8-10 pages in length, this proposal should describe the organization, goals, and type of engagement. After the proposal is approved by the faculty advisor, and a copy submitted to the SEATRiP Graduate Advisor, students begin their community work. During this time, students must enroll in a minimum of 4 units of Directed Research (SEAS297) under the supervision of a Southeast Asian Studies faculty who also functions as the chair of their Comprehensive Exam Committee. A written report of 25-30 pages based on the student’s community experience is required. The student’s coursework, community service, and written report will form the basis for a comprehensive oral exam, which must have a minimum of two SEATRiP faculty members.
All master’s students must be enrolled for at least three quarters to fulfill the University residency requirement and must hold at least a 3.00 GPA in all upper division and graduate level course work related to the degree. A minimum of 36 units must be completed of which 24 must be graduate level (200 level).
Normative Time for the degree is two years.
For additional information, please contact our Graduate Student Academic Advisor, Mr. Uriel “Odie” Jasso, at email@example.com (951 827-2237), or our Director and faculty Graduate Advisor, Dr. David Biggs at firstname.lastname@example.org.