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MA in Southeast Asian Studies

CSEAS admits students once a year for the Fall term.  Application deadline is December 15 annually. To apply for admission, complete the Rackham Graduate School online application and submit required test scores and official transcripts.  International applicants: please see additional requirements for proof of English proficiency and required academic credentials from Non-US institutions.

CSEAS awards a master's degree for studies concentrating on Southeast Asia. The MA Program provides students with a broad interdisciplinary approach to these studies while allowing the flexibility to pursue individual areas of interest.

One feature of the MA Program is a required one semester interdisciplinary graduate course in Southeast Asian Studies, which provides a forum for interdisciplinary dialogue and intensive interaction among MA students and leading Southeast Asia faculty.

Who Should Apply?
  • Students with area expertise who want to channel their experiences into a more formal direction, acquire further language competence, and interact with other specialists in an interdisciplinary milieu

  • Students interested in augmenting their professional training (in Business, Public Policy, Law, etc.) with a rigorous grounding in Southeast Asian languages and knowledge

  • Students interested in pursuing a doctoral degree with a Southeast Asia focus who wish to develop their language skills and area expertise prior to applying to a PhD program
Area Course Work
  • A minimum of 25 semester hours of graduate level course work selected from courses offered in the Southeast Asian Studies program, distributed in at least three disciplines such as Asian Languages and Cultures, History, Anthropology, Political Science, Religion, Music, Sociology.

  • In most departments, courses numbered 400 or above carry graduate credit. The student is responsible for verifying this with each department.

  • The 25 hours of area course work must include SEAS 501, Introduction to Southeast Asian Studies. In addition, SEAS 502, Southeast Asian Studies Research Prospectus which will help the student develop their research ideas for the master’s essay is taken the semester after SEAS 501.
  • At least four of the courses (12 credits) used to meet the credit requirements must be at 500 level or above, and one of the courses must include substantial writing (usually 600 level). Only one non language independent study course may be taken as part of the 25 credits.
  • The language requirement may be fulfilled by taking the intermediate level course in a Southeast Asian language or by demonstrating competency via a placement exam.

  • Credits earned in advanced language courses (400 level) are graduate credits and may be counted toward the area course work requirement. Courses below the 400 level will not count.
Master's Essay
  • A substantial research paper approved by two faculty members is required and is the product of an individual research project and should achieve the quality of a publishable academic article.  The research and writing is done under the supervision of a faculty member that the student has developed a relationship with and is the primary reader. One other faculty member is chosen and serves as the secondary reader. The student will work with both the primary and secondary reader and each must approve the final work.  The primary reader issues the final grade.

  • The student will enroll in SEAS 798 during the semester that the thesis is completed for 1-6 credits.  These credits DO NOT count toward the area total of 25.  The number of credits is determined in consultation with the essay advisor.  The length of the essay should be determined by the student’s advisor, typically a minimum of 30 pages is required.


Prospective Students: Contact an MA Program Advisor at the International Institute Graduate Academic Services Office by email at or by phone 734.763.2948. Schedule an advising appointment HERE.