Master in Southeast Asian Studies

Start and Duration of Program

The Master’s programme comprises four semesters (2 years), and starts each winter semester.

Course Languages

English and Bahasa Indonesia / Bahasa Malaysia

The programme is open to students who do not speak German. The emphasis on English mirrors the international structure of many research programmes and provides the students with an international focus.

Admission requirements

  • A Bachelor’s Degree in Southeast Asian Studies or equivalent and a good command of Bahasa Indonesia or Bahasa Malaysia (minimum of 200 hours of language instruction at University level or equivalent)
  • BA degrees from other disciplines in the humanities or social sciences may also be accepted if the applicant has a good knowledge of Southeast Asia and the required language skills.
  • TOEFL test result of at least 87 (internet-based), or equivalent results from other officially recognized tests of English capability, such as IELTS or the Cambridge Proficiency examination
  • A convincing motivation letter and CV

Studying in Frankfurt a.M.

  • Study at one of the leading universities nationwide and worldwide – ranked among the top 150 World Universities in the Shanghai Ranking 2013. The university’s central library is one of the largest research libraries in Germany and our department provides the most comprehensive collection for Southeast Asian Studies in Germany, currently holding about 59.000 books and journals.

  • Study for a very moderate semester fee of roughly € 350 including the "Semesterticket”, which provides for unlimited travel on public transportation within the whole Rhein-Main region.

  • Study in a city that is Germany's transportation hub and a leading business centre. Frankfurt is home to the headquarters of the European Central Bank and Germany's main stock exchange and well known for trade fairs. Last, but not least, Frankfurt is an international city – home to more than 170 nationalities – with a broad cultural scene: a first-rate opera house, some 30 theatres and almost 40 museums.

Brief profile of the study program

The Master's in Southeast Asian Studies offers prospective students, who have a good working knowledge of Bahasa Indonesia or Bahasa Malaysia and who are acquainted with the region, the opportunity to pursue advanced studies on the languages, cultures and societies of Southeast Asia with a special focus on the Malay World (Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, Singapore and East Timor). A philological cultural studies approach to area studies is combined with individual freedom to draw on the various excellent resources of different departments present at Goethe University of Frankfurt in order to encourage interdisciplinary and innovative research for the Master's thesis in Southeast Asian Studies

Students can choose between two versions of the study programme, one with and one without a semester abroad. The curriculum consists of a set of four mandatory core modules for all students and three elective modules including the option to take a Studium Generale and freely choose a number of courses from different faculties. For students, who study version one (without a semester abroad), here are three suggested specialisations outlined in the curriculum:

  • focus on classical philology and history,
  • focus on modern languages and society, and
  • focus on culture and economy.


The Master's programme comprises four semesters (2 years). The program accounts for a total of 120 Credit Points. 90 Credit Points are earned by coursework in seven modules (a module usually consists of 2-3 courses) and 30 Credit Points are earned through the MA thesis.

Four core modules:

  • Modern languages and cultures ofSoutheast Asia (12 CP)
  • Theories and methods (15 CP)
  • Current issues and research (12 CP)
  • Media, politics and economy in modernSoutheast Asia(15 CP)

Three elective modules (only for students without a semester abroad)

chosen from e.g. the following:

  • Classical languages and history (12 CP)
  • Applied Indonesian / Malay (12 CP)
  • Regional expertise (12 CP)
  • Introduction to Asian economics and law (12 CP)
  • Studium generale / free choice studies (12 CP)

Additional elective modules will be offered depending on availability. Students with sufficient German language skills may also choose Southest Asia related courses at other departments such as Cultural Anthropology or Islamic Studies.

Master's thesis

The last semester is reserved for writing a Master's thesis.

How to apply

The application process for the winter term usually runs from May until August. However, students from abroad should submit their application latest before end of July to ensure that they can start in the next winter term. All Applications must be sent directly to:

Goethe-Universität Frankfurt


c/o uni-assist e.V.

Geneststr. 5

D-10829 Berlin

For further information on the application process and current deadlines please visit the international Master’s programme portal of Goethe University on the internet: 


If you have any questions regarding the Master in Southeast Asian Studies, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

Goethe University Frankfurt
Department of Southeast Asian Studies
Senckenberganlage 31
60325 Frankfurt a.M., Germany

Study advisor: Mr Joachim Nieß, MA
Tel.: +49 (0)69-798-22780



(valid for all students, who started the Master’s programme in Southeast Asian Studies as of winter semester 2017/18!)

- Prüfungsordung: Master "Southeast Asian Studies" (Studiengangsspezifischer Anhang, gültig ab WS 17/18)

- Rahmenordnung für gestufte und modularisierte Studiengänge der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main vom 30. April 2014 (general regulations for consecutive and modulised programmes at Goethe University Frankfurt)

- Ordnung für die Masterstudiengänge des Fachbereichs Sprach-und Kulturwissenschaften an der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main mit dem Abschluss „Masterof Arts“ (M.A.) vom 17. Dezember 2014 (general regulations for Master’s programmes in the Faculty of Linguistics and Cultural Studies)

Older versions

(Only valid for students, who started the Master’s programme in Southeast Asian Studies up to winter semester 2016/17!)

- Master "Southeast Asian Studies" (Fachspezifische Bestimmungen) /

- Prüfungsordnung für die Masterstudiengänge des FB 09 (Rahmenordnung) / --> English translation

Modulebauftragte / Module coordinators

- Persons in charge of the modules

Links with further information