Undergraduate Major Program

Jeffrey Hadler, Chair
(510) 642-8538
hadler [at] berkeley [dot] edu (Jeff Hadler' email)

Jake Dalton, Faculty Adviser
no phone
jakedalton [at] berkeley [dot] edu (Jake Dalton's email)

Elodie Steffen - Student Affairs Officer 
(510) 642-4219
esteffen [at] berkeley [dot] edu (Elodie Steffen's email)


The two tracks in the South and Southeast Asian Studies major are flexible, interdisciplinary programs offering opportunities for both wide, comparative study of South and Southeast Asian cultures and greater concentration on a particular area of interest and geographical focus.

With the guidance of the faculty and staff advisers, students might choose to pursue, for example, intense study of a language and its literature or broader inquiries into such subjects as the religions of traditional and modern South and Southeast Asia. Students may include in their major programs suitable courses from other departments.


1. South and Southeast Asian Civilizations

Students pursuing this track must complete one lower-division sequence on either the civilization and culture of South Asia (SA 1A, 1B) or the civilization of Southeast Asia (SEA 10A, 10B). While a two-course sequence is required it is possible to create a mixed South/Southeast Asia combination. Please see the Undergraduate Faculty Advisor to discuss this possibility.

Students must also complete a minimum of 9 additional courses concerning South or Southeast Asia, at least 8 of which must be upper-division and at least 4 of these upper division courses must be taken in the Department.

In consultation with the adviser, students will choose an area of interest (religion or art history or literature, for example). At least 2 courses of the 9 described above should cover this area of interest. At least 3 courses in the area of interest are recommended.

2. South and Southeast Asian Languages and Literatures

Students choosing this track must complete one lower-division sequence on the civilization and culture of South Asia (SA 1A, 1B) or the civilization of Southeast Asia (SEA 10A, 10B) and four semesters of language work (in one of the following languages: Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Indonesian, Khmer, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Tagalog, Tamil, Thai, and Vietnamese).

Students may establish first-year language proficiency through examinations administered by the Department (although passing an examination will not carry credit).

Students must also complete a minimum of 4 upper-division courses concerning South or Southeast Asia, at least half of which must be taken in the Department.

Students who are considering graduate level study of South or Southeast Asia are strongly advised to choose the Language and Literatures emphasis. This would provide the minimum level language preparation required for most graduate programs.

For both tracks:
The major consists of 42-44 units (normally between 10 and 12 courses).

An adviser must approve all courses taken outside the department that students intend to use for credit (including courses taken in study abroad programs). Among their upper-division courses, students are strongly urged to include one seminar (SSEAS 190 or an equivalent) that requires significant research and writing on South or Southeast Asia.


The minimum requirements, set by the College of Letters and Science, for the completion of a minor program are five upper-division courses, of which a minimum of three must be completed at UCB. All courses in the minor program must be completed on a letter-graded basis. An overall grade-point average of 2.0 is required in courses used for the minor program.


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 the senior year.