Master "Southeast Asian Studies" (SEAS)

General information on the programme

Brief profile of the study programme

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 programme 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.

Information for applicants

Start and Duration of Programme

The Master’s programme comprises four semesters (2 years), and starts each winter semester. It is not possible to start the programme in summer.

Course Languages

Languages of instruction are English and Bahasa Indonesia (or Bahasa Malaysia). The programme is open to students who do not speak German.

Admission requirements

The basic prerequisites are as follows:

  • 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 (6,5) or the Cambridge Proficiency examination
  • A convincing motivation letter and CV in English

How to apply

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

Please read also the FAQ for Master on Application, Admission, Enrolment!

All applications must be sent directly to uni-assist:

Goethe-Universität Frankfurt
c/o uni-assist e.V.
Geneststr. 5
D-10829 Berlin

The application process usually runs from May until July. Students from abroad should submit their application as soon as possible to ensure that they still have enough time to organize their stay in Frankfurt (visa, accommodation, insurance, etc.) before the winter term starts!

Studying in Germany

For general information on studying in Germany you may visit Germany’s official and multilingual website for international qualified professionals:

Another source of information is the International Office of Goethe University which provides all information you need as an international student: . Here you find both general information concerning the application and enrolment process and helpful further information for your stay in Germany, amongst others for example information on accommodation, health insurance, or opening a bank account (turn to the “Get here & settle in” section). 

The International Office of Goethe University also offers broad information on costs of living and studying in Frankfurt: Here you can also find information on funding your stay in Germany, e.g. possibilities to work during your studies ( or scholarships that are available for international students (     

Further information

If you have any further questions regarding the programme or the application process, please don’t hesitate to contact us:keilbart(at)

A brochure with the most relevant information can be downloaded here: