The Southeast Asia Studies Program provides an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the nations, states, institutions and peoples of Southeast Asia in the 21st century. The program offers courses in Southeast Asia history, politics, economics, development and security.
SAIS graduates are in great demand by employers in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Economics knowledge, analytical abilities, regional expertise, diplomatic skills, language proficiency and the capacity to apply theory to real-world problems give our students a distinct professional advantage.
“Two sets of changes are altering Southeast Asia Studies at SAIS. First, Myanmar is experiencing a democratic awakening. SAIS students are studying the Burmese language and doing summer internships in Myanmar. Second, China is aggressively asserting its claims to sovereignty over most of the South China Sea, riling Vietnam and the Philippines and causing concern in Washington. New course work is being offered on the implications of the economic and military rise of China for Southeast Asia.”Karl D. Jackson, --Southeast Asia Studies
Roundtables and Forums
The Philippines Roundtable, the Burma Study Group, the Indochina Roundtable, and the Wednesday Lunch Seminar offer opportunities for students to interact with diplomats, policymakers and academics concerned with Southeast Asia. In addition, conferences, special lectures, book launches and film screenings introduce students to established regional expertise and cutting edge scholarship.
The Asia Democracy Study
The SAIS-USKI Asia Democracy Study is a research initiative looking at public opinions on attitudes and behaviors toward democracy and governance in Indonesia, South Korea, the Philippines, and Thailand.
More than five decades after closing its center at the University of Rangoon, SAIS is rebuilding ties to Myanmar as it emerges from a half century of military rule.
Funding and Alumni Network
A strong network of funding sources coupled with a global alumni network support educational and employment opportunities for students. Fellowships include the C.V. Starr Fellowship; the Prem Fellowship for Thai Studies; the Freeport McMoRan Fellowship for Indonesians; the Tran Thi Quynh Hoa Fellowship for Vietnamese; the USINDO-SAIS Edward E. Masters Fellowship Program for Indonesian foreign service officers; and the Philip W. Thayer Fellowship (with major funding from the Henry Luce Foundation) for students and visiting scholars from Myanmar, the Philippines, and Vietnam, including junior faculty members from government training academies.
Between the first and second year of studies, students participate in internships of eight weeks duration in Southeast Asia. Internships provide students with the opportunity to combine theory and practice, to gain hands-on experience in a professional field, and to experience the rich and varied dimensions of Southeast Asian societies.
Language expertise in Bahasa Indonesian, Burmese, Thai or Vietnamese gives graduates a strong competitive edge. Proficiency in a modern language helps students broaden their regional competency. The program assists students to acquire additional language training in the region during the January inter-sessions in well regarded local academic institutions such as the Alam Bahasa Language School (Yogyakarta), Unity Thai Language School (Bangkok), and the University of Social Sciences and Humanities (Ho Chi Minh City).