Undergraduate Major Program

Alex von Rospatt, Chair
(510) 642-1610
rospatt [at] berkeley [dot] edu (Alex von Rospatt's email)

Penny Edwards, Faculty Undergraduate Adviser
(510) 642-1926
pennyedwards [at] berkeley [dot] edu (Penny Edwards email)

Kristen Brooks -  Student Affairs Officer 
(510) 642-4219
kristenbrooks [at] berkeley [dot] edu (Kristen Brooks email)


The South and Southeast Asian Studies major is a flexible, interdisciplinary program offering opportunities for both wide and comparative study of South and Southeast Asian cultures.  The mission of the Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies is to enable students to learn about the cultures and civilizations of South and Southeast Asia. Our department teaches the following 13 languages:















All students seeking to declare a major in the department should meet with both our Student Affairs Officer and Undergraduate Faculty Adviser (see contact info above).  In the meeting with our Undergraduate Faculty Adviser, the student will be helped to select a Major Adviser from among the ladder-rank faculty in the Department.  All majors must be assigned such an adviser and should meet with that adviser at least once each semester.


(44 Units Minimum)

• Lower division/gateway courses - Two courses total from: South Asia 1A, South Asia 1B, Southeast Asia 10A or Southeast Asia 10B

•  Upper division:  At least 26 units for a letter grade that include:

            -- Two years (four semesters) of any supported language, or one year of Advanced[1]

-- Additional courses from 110 or above that include:

--At least one course from “Religion & History” (listed below)

--At least one course from “Literature” (listed below)

•  Of these required courses:

            --A maximum of one course may be taken P/NP

            --A maximum of two courses from other departments may be counted toward the major (listed below)

Prerequisites to declare the major

• One semester of language work (with a letter grade of B or higher)

• One lower division/gateway course as listed above (with a letter grade of C or higher)

[1] Students with previous language experience will be required to take a placement exam. Students who test into the Advanced level of their chosen language may fulfill the language requirement with only one year (two semesters) of Advanced.  

**Please also note that students may not take language courses at a lower level than they have been assessed at, nor than the level of other courses in the same language that they have successfully completed previously.



Requirements:  One gateway course from South Asia 1A, South Asia 1B, Southeast Asia 10A or Southeast Asia 10B

 AND five additional letter-graded upper-division courses (20 units) with 2.0 Min GPA

--Only one course from outside the department will be accepted

--No more than two upper division language courses 



To be eligible for admission to the honors program, a student must attain a 3.5 grade point average or higher in courses completed in the major, and a 3.3 grade-point average in all courses completed in the University. An honors thesis is required, as is registration in SSEAS H195. Students who wish to participate must choose a thesis topic in consultation with their major adviser and apply for admission to the program through the departmental office no later than the first week of spring semester of their senior year.


A Partial List of Upper Division Courses in Literature[2]

120  Topics (if topic is appropriate to the study of literature)

124  Modern Indian Literature

128  Introduction to Modern Indonesian and Malaysian Literature in Translation

130  Articulations of the Female in Indonesia

138 Cultures, Texts and Politics in Southeast Asia

142  India’s Great Epics: The Mahabharata and the Ramayana

C164  The Indonesian Connection: Dutch Literature about the Indies in English Translation

190  Literature of the Philippines and the Filipino Diaspora


 A Partial List of Upper Division Courses in Religion & History

C52  Introduction to the Study of Buddhism*

C114  Tibetan Buddhism

120  Topics (if topic is appropriate to the study of religion and/or history)

127  Religion in Early India

C135  Tantric Traditions of Asia

137  Islam and Society in Southeast Asia

140  Hindu Mythology

144  Islam in South Asia

C145  Buddhism in Contemporary Society

146  Mughal India

147  Pakistan

148  Hindu-Muslim Religious Nationalism

C154  Death, Dreams, and Visions in Tibetan Buddhism


A Partial List of Approved Courses from Outside Department

Anthropology 114  History of Anthropological Thought

Anthropology 115  Introduction to Medical Anthropology

Anthropology 169  Research Theory and Methods in Social Cultural Anthropology

Anthropology 184  South Asia

Anthropology C186  Southeast Asia: Cultures, States, and Capitalisms in the Pacific Rim

Art History 30  Art of India

Art History 137  Art of Southeast Asia

AsAmStud 124 Filipino American History

EALC 115  Contemporary Tibet

EALC C120  Buddhism on the Silk Road

History 100  Vietnam at War

History 111  Topics in the History of Southeast Asia

History 114  Medieval and Modern India

IAS 150 Globalization in India

Music 133D  Music of Centra Java

Poli Sci 145A-B  South Asian Politics

Poli Sci 149E Topics in Area Studies: The Politics of Southeast Asia

Religious Studies 90  Interpreting Religion: The Classic Theories*

Sociology 133  Sociology of Gender


*Note: Introduction to Buddhism C52, Religious Studies 90, and any 200-level courses from within the department may be substituted for upper-division courses. Additional courses may be petitioned to the Undergraduate Student Advisor.


Point of clarification: courses from outside the department that are cross-listed in our department do count as inside the department. For outside courses not included in the list above, the relevant syllabus must be submitted to the Student Affairs Officer and Undergraduate Student Advisor for approval.


[2] Please note that these lists may vary each year depending on the addition of new courses or visitors.