The curriculum of South and Southeast Asian Studies offers you a multi-faceted programme in which you’ll gain a thorough knowledge of a fascinating and dynamic region. The approach in this regional studies programme is multidisciplinary and enables students to acquire knowledge about e.g. the languages, religions, art, culture and current politics of the region. A consistent emphasis is placed on language as a window on South and Southeast Asian Cultures. Students specialize in one of the following languages: Indonesian, Hindi, Tibetan, and Sanskrit.
How can you use this knowledge and the skills that you acquire? Which specialisation should you choose within your study programme and why? What skills do you already have, and what further skills do you still want to learn? How do you translate the courses that you choose into something that you’d like to do after graduation?
These questions and more will be discussed at various times during your bachelor. You may already have spoken about them with your study coordinator, the Humanities Career Service or other students, or made use of the Leiden University Career Zone. Many different activities are organised to help you reflect on your own wishes and options, and give you the chance to explore the job market. All these activities are focused on the questions: ‘What can I do?’, ‘What do I want?’ and ‘How do I achieve my goals?’
You will be notified via the Humanities website, your study programme website and email about further activities in the area of job market preparation. The following activities will help you to thoroughly explore your options, so we advise you to take careful note of them:
During your first year:
Third year activities:
If you have any questions about career choices, whether in your studies or on the job market, you are welcome to make an appointment with the career adviser of the the Humanities Career Service, tel. 071-5272235, or with your coordinators of studies.
Successful completion of the first year (propaedeutics) and second year of bachelor’s programme in South and Southeast Asian studies
Students themselves choose a supervisor for their BA dissertation from among the lecturers involved in the SSEAS programme. They do this in consultation with the coordinator of the third year, second semester seminar course ‘Heritage/Futures/Current Affairs of South and Southeast Asia’, which forms part of the framework in which the dissertation is prepared. A general introduction to the dissertation writing process is given in association with the Heritage/Futures/Current Affairs seminar close to the beginning of that course, and the choice of supervisor should have been made by the end of the third week of the second semester. Later in the course, students give work-in-progress presentations on their dissertations. During these presentations they obtain critical feedback from other students, from the seminar coordinator, and from any other contributing lecturer.
Dissertations will in principle be written in English. Permission to write in a different language may be granted by the Examinations Committee. Any application for such permission must be submitted at the same time as the supervisor is selected, and must take into account the necessity of finding a second reader (see below) who is also able to understand the language in question.
The main text of the dissertation should be approximately 8,500 words in length. The maximum length including notes, bibliography, and any appendices, is 10,000 words. Wherever possible, a reasonable quantity of source materials in Indonesian, Hindi, Sanskrit or Tibetan should be used in researching and writing the dissertation.
Elementary research skills, including heuristic skills
Collect and select specialised literature using traditional and electronic methods and techniques;
Analyse and evaluate this in terms of quality and reliability;
Formulate a well-defined research problem based on this;
Set up, under supervision, a study of a limited size taking into consideration the traditional and electronic -methods and techniques relevant for the discipline;
Formulate a reasoned conclusion on the basis of this;
Also make use of the acquired research skills outside the student’s own discipline.
Written presentation skills
Explain research findings in a clear and well-argued way;
Formulate an answer to questions concerning the discipline or a topic within it
in the form of a clear and well-structured written presentation;
in accordance with the criteria set by the discipline;
using relevant illustration or multimedia techniques;
aimed at a specific target group.
The BA-thesis will be, amongst other elements, assessed on the following elements:
Knowledge and insight (contents, relation to the field)
Application knowledge and insight (methodology)
Reaching conclusions (interpretation, argumentation, conclusion)
Communication (writing skills, structure)
Learning skills (process)
Mode of instruction
Self-study under the guidance of a supervisor. Student and supervisor have at least four meetings during the writing process.
Regulations and procedures concerning the bachelor’s thesis
There is a Brightspace module for this curriculum component.
No registration in uSis required for the Bachelor’s thesis.
1. Attainment levels
An overview of the attainment levels of the BA programma South and Southeast Asian Studies can be found in the Teaching and Examination Regulations
2. Description of the programme
The three-years bachelor programme South and Southeast Asian Studies provides students with a thorough knowledge of a fascinating and dynamic region. The emphasis lies on India, Tibet and Indonesia, but other countries in South and Southeast Asia will also be discussed. The approach in this regional studies programme is multidisciplinary and enables students to acquire knowledge about e.g. the languages, religions, art, culture and current politics of the region. A consistent emphasis is placed onlanguage as a windon on South and Southeast Asian Cultures. Students specialize in one of the following languages: Indonesian, Hindi, Tibetan, and Sanskrit.
The first year: propaedeuse
During the first year, the programme lays a foundation for studying various aspects of the region, including the history, culture and modern society in South and Southeast Asia. Students also choose a number of courses themselves: they opt for one of the four languages and for one of the three major religions in the region. An academic skill course, running throughout the year and followed in close conjunction with two topical courses, helps students to acquire the general skills they will need in order to complete the higher years of the programme. Furthermore, one course, “Area Studies”, will be taken together with other students of the Faculty of Humanities.
The second year
In the second year, all students will take a course entitled “Living Histories: Locating Pasts in Southern Asia” in the first semester and “Seminar 2: Heritage of South and Southeast Asia”, “Seminar 2: Futures of South and Southeast Asia” or “Seminar 2: Current Affairs of South and Southeast Asia” in the second semester, which follows on from the first year course “Seminar 1: Classical Cultures of South and Southeast Asia”. The students, furthermore, continue studying the language they have chosen in the first year. The programme, moreover, offers a choice between two specializations: “Modern South and Modern Southeast Asia” and “Classical Cultures of South and Southeast Asia”. For two semesters, students attend lectures belonging to the chosen specialization. They also attend an elective course South and Southeast Asia during the first semester of the second year. This elective course can be either a course from the “own” specialization or a course from the other specialization. In the second semester, all students will take the course “Philosophy of Science” together with other students of the Faculty of Humanities.
The third year
During the first semester of the third year, students go abroad to gain more in-depth knowledge of the relevant language and region. There is an alternative programme in Leiden for students who are unable to go abroad. During the second semester, students attend “Seminar 3: Heritage of South and Southeast Asia”, “Seminar 3: Futures of South and Southeast Asia” or “Seminar 3: Current Affairs of South and Southeast Asia”, courses which follow on from “Seminar 2: Heritage of South and Southeast Asia”, “Seminar 2: Futures of South and Southeast Asia” or “Seminar 2: Current Affairs of South and Southeast Asia.”. In addition, each student writes a BA Thesis
In addition, students take electives to fill the discretionary space of 30 EC. For those students following the semester abroad in the first half year of the teaching year, 15 of the 30 EC consists of discretionary courses taken at the host university. Students can choose to take courses from a completely different field (“broadening”). Students can also choose to take courses from the South and Southeast Asia programme (“deepening”). It is also possible to obtain a part of the 30 EC with an internship. More information (in Dutch) on the different electives and options can be found on the relevant website.
3. Related master programmes/ pre-master tracks
The bachelor diploma South and Southeast Asia Studies (SSEAS) gives access to the masters Asian Studies (60 EC).
Binding Study Advice (BSA)
For students who first registered as doing a major at Leiden University after 1996, the “Leiden study system” with Binding Study Advice applies. This system sets out requirements regarding the academic achievements of the first-year student, but also offers better guidance by way of the mentorship and study progress sessions with the coordinator of studies. The aim of this system is finding out as quickly as possibly whether the student is fit for the newly chosen studies and whether the studies fit the student.
To receive a positive advice, the student should obtain at least 45 EC of the propaedeuse programme during the first year INCLUDING the following component: Classical Cultures of South and Southeast Asia Seminar I.
The board of examiners will provide two written recommendations during the first year. The board of examiners provides the first progress advice in January, which will be based on the achievements of the first semester. Students who end their enrolments before 1 February of the current academic year are no longer entitled to a study advice or a binding study advice. The second advice will follow no later than 15 August. Students who have obtained less than 45 EC will receive a binding negative advice. This means that the students in question are not allowed to continue the South and Southeast Asian Studies programme in Leiden. The limitation period for this rejection is four years.
Naturally, personal circumstances will be taken into account, such as illness or serious family reasons. It is therefore important that students inform the coordinator of studies about personal problems in a timely fashion.
The department keeps a file of every student with information that is relevant to the BSA. The student is entitled to examine this file (at the coordinator of studies’) and to add information to this file.
The programme imposes additional requirements regarding components that have to be completed for the first binding study advice being the following component: Classical Cultures of South and Southeast Asia: Seminar I.
5. Study guidance
During the first year, the students get intensive coaching by a mentor and a student mentor. The coordinator of studies co-ordinates the coaching and has more formal and individual conversations with the students if necessary. As of the second semester, the coordinator of studies discuss the organization of the curriculum for the next semester with each student individually.
6. Parttime and fulltime
The BA programme South and Southeast Asian Studies is offered as a fulltime programme only.