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Academic Skills (South and Southeast Asian Studies)


Admission requirements

Open only for students of the BA South and Southeast Asian Studies.


This course, which is obligatory for all first year students of the BA South and Southeast Asian Studies, is designed to offer students instructions around and practice in academic skills. Students will learn new skills around university-level reading, listening, writing, note-taking and basics of academic research. Students will also be trained to organise their time strategically, in order to make maximum use of their university experience. It also offers a generate scope for presentation and discussion of academic topic, for example in the form of guest lectures.
The course will help students to access and use the South and Southeast Asia collections of the University Library. It provides library instructions on how to find and use various sources of information pertaining to South and Southeast Asia. Students will also be introduced to collections of local museums, such as the National Museum of Ethnology. They will have the opportunity to attend academic seminars to familiarise themselves with academic culture in a broader sense
The sessions on Research skills are part of the course Histories of Modern South & Southeast Asia
The sessions on Oral presentation skills and Academic writing techniques are part of the course Classical Cultures of South & Southeast Asia: Seminar 1

Course objectives

Students will:

  • Improve their studying skills with respect to methods, planning and preparation;

  • Improve their reading skills and comprehension using reading strategies;

  • Recognize and use various types of argumentation, identifying logical fallacies;

  • Learn how to find scholarly literature with the help of traditional and digital methods and techniques;

  • Learn to evaluate sources (books, articles, websites) as to scholarly quality and reliability, using library databases and internet tools (Ulrich’s,;

  • Develop the skill to identify main topics and main ideas in academic lectures and publications.

  • Learn to apply formal guidelines to the writing of academic papers.

  • Learn how to formulate a well-defined research question, including main and subsidiary questions;

  • Learn how to structure academic texts and oral presentations;


See the timetable of the programme. An overview of all sessions will be placed on Blackboard.

Mode of instruction


Attendance and active participation are obligatory for seminars. Students are required to prepare for and attend all sessions. The convenors need to be informed without delay of any classes missed for a good reason (i.e. due to unforeseen circumstances such as illness, family issues, problems with residence permits, the Dutch railways in winter, etc.). In these cases it is up to the discretion of the convener(s) of the course whether or not the missed class will have to be made up with an extra assignment. The maximum of such absences during a semester is two. Being absent without notification and/or more than two times can result in exclusion from the term end exams and a failing grade for the course.

Course Load

52 contact hours (partly(12) part of the courses Classical Cultures of South & Southeast Asia: Seminar 1 and (10)course Histories of Modern South & Southeast Asia)

Assessment method

Assessment takes place during the courses of which the academic skills sessions form part.


Blackboard is used for notifications, general course information, course material and information on course schedule.

Reading list

Materials will be placed on Blackboard.


For the academic skills sessions no registration via uSis is required; students register for courses of which the academic skills sessions form part. Registration within the Blackboard course Academic Skills South and Southeast Asian Studies is necessary.

Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Studeren à la carte nor Contractonderwijs is possible for this course.


Dr. Priya Swamy Dr. S. Sunderason Dr. E.M. Raven
Dr. M.F.J. Baasten


Students with disabilities

The university is committed to supporting and accommodating students with disabilities as stated in the university protocol (especially pages 3-5). Students should contact Fenestra Disability Centre at least four weeks before the start of their courses to ensure that all necessary academic accomodations can be made in time conform the abovementioned protocol.

Academic Integrity

Students are expected to be familiar with Leiden University policies on plagiarism and academic integrity. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. If you submit any work with your name affixed to it, it is assumed to be your own work with all sources used properly indicated and documented in the text (with quotations and/or citations).