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Economic Development and Social Change in Southeast Asia (ResMA)


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA Asian Studies (research) or another relevant Research MA. Students from other programmes are kindly referred to the course description of the regular MA course


This research seminar explores the recent economic development in Southeast Asia, one of the world’s most dynamic regions. By looking at assessments in the secondary literature, and at supporting statistics, we seek to gain an understanding of how it is that many – but not all – nations in Southeast Asia have achieved spectacular growth and poverty reduction. The social and political causes and consequences of economic success (and failure) are discussed, with attention to such topics as inequality, institutions, corruption, ideology, ethnicity, and religion. The influence of political and financial crises is considered. Comparisons are made with other regions in the world. Students introduce assigned readings and choose a specific topic for individual research, culminating in an essay of about 6,000 words, with stronger emphasis on methodology (analytical framework and empirical strategy).

Course objectives

Students obtain a thorough understanding of recent economic and social developments in Southeast Asia, and of the interplay between them. Students receive training in critically discussing assessments in the secondary literature, and in analysing primary (including statistical) data. Both oral and written presentations are required.
For ResMA program, another significant objective is to provide students with research skills to produce an academically solid term paper, especially on the quality of the analytical/theoretical framework, that can be extended for further research.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Attendance is compulsory for all sessions. Students must prepare well and contribute to in-class discussion. If a student cannot attend because of illness or misadventure, they should promptly inform the convener. Extra assignments may be set to make up for missed class time, at the convener’s discretion. Absence without notification may result in lower grades or exclusion from assessment components and a failing grade for the course.

Assessment method

Assessment and weighing

Partial Assessment Weighing
Presentation and performance in class 35%
End-term paper 65%

The end-term paper is written in two stages: a first version, which will be commented as a draft (tentative findings) in the peer-review sessions in the last weeks of the course, and a final version. Students who do not meet the deadline for the final version, will get a failing grade.
In order to pass the course, students must obtain an overall mark of 5.50 (=6) or higher.
The course is an integrated whole. All categories must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years.


A new version of the paper assignment (65%) may be written if the overall mark for the course is “5.49” (=5) or lower. If students take this option, they must choose an alternative topic. They will not be permitted to resubmit the same paper. The deadline for this version will be determined in consultation.

Academic Integrity

Students should familiarize themselves with the notion of academic integrity and the ways in which this plays out in their own work. A good place to start is this page. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Students may not substantially reuse texts they have previously submitted in this or other courses. Minor overlap with previous work is allowed as long as it is duly noted in citation.

Inspection and feedback

If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

Selected recent articles on the economic development and social changes in Southeast Asia. The complete list of articles will be announced in the first lecture.

For the Research MA students additional reading will be determined by the convener at a later stage taking into account the students’ fields of interest. Extra sessions will be organized to discuss this extra literature.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Vrieshof