Research course

South East Asia Studies

SOAS University of London · Department of Languages and Cultures of South East Asia

Entry requirements

Normally a Masters degree in a relevant discipline.

Months of entry


Course content

The research interests of the Department’s members include: classical Malay literature; modern literature in Malay, Indonesian, Thai, and Vietnamese; Islam in South East Asia; language pedagogy; phonetics; gender studies; oral literature and folklore; cinema in South East Asia; and translation. These interests are increasingly reflected in the kind of work that is undertaken by the Department’s research students.

The research training offered by the Department has been enhanced in recent years by the introduction of interdepartmental research seminars organised by the School’s language and culture departments.

These degrees require students to conduct supervised research. The Department provides supervision for both full-time and part-time students for research in a wide range of South East Asian languages and literatures. Theses completed in recent years have included topics in traditional Lao literature, contemporary Thai fiction, the syntax of spoken Mon, the shadow play in Bali, Malay oral literature, schoolbooks in colonial Burma, pre-Angkor Cambodia, political literature in Vietnam, etc.

Under the regulations of the University of London all research students register initially for an MPhil: they may transfer to PhD after completing one year, if they wish and subject to approval by the School, which requires evidence that the student's work is achieving the standard required.

The minimum duration for full-time students is two years for the MPhil and three years for the PhD. Part-time students normally take twice as long to complete their studies. When their research is completed, students submit a thesis to the examiners, and then attend a viva voce examination.

Applicants for postgraduate degrees must have a good command of the language of their field of study, and should normally have a good first degree in the appropriate subject, but students with other qualifications and experience may also be eligible, and mature students are particularly welcome. If necessary for the development of their chosen subject, students will be expected to have or acquire an adequate reading knowledge of Dutch and/or French. All potential applicants are strongly advised to consult the Department before they apply.

Department specialisms

Classical/modern Malay literature; Indonesian; Thai and Vietnamese; Islam in South East Asia; language pedagogy; phonetics; women's studies; oral literature and folklore; translation.

Information for international students

Information, including English Language requirements, can be found here:

Fees and funding

Qualification and course duration


part time
72 months
full time
36 months


part time
36 months
full time
24 months

Course contact details

Student Recruitment Office
020 7898 4700