“As the world becomes increasingly globalized any and all knowledge concerning other cultures will be a supreme commodity. Multicultural studies show us that there is never only one way to see things. As simple as it sounds, that fact alone does more than anything else to prepare students to adapt and grow in a world that is drawn together in unprecedented ways.”

—Michael Hawkins, NIU alumnus and Assistant History Professor at Creighton University


Southeast Asian Studies

Southeast Asia is composed of eleven countries of impressive diversity in religion, culture, and history: Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. It is also one of the most dynamic areas of the world economically, a factor which largely accounts for its growing international significance.

A minor in Southeast Asian studies provides students an opportunity to strengthen their knowledge, language  and cultural expertise in a region of increasing strategic and global importance.

A number of learning opportunities are available to undergraduate students, including internships, student conferences and cultural events, as well as an interdisciplinary graduate certificate in museum studies and an ethnomusicology program. Field Study abroad trips are also recommended so students can experience the region firsthand.

Type of Programs: Minor (19-21 credit hours)
            Contract major (see director for details)

College: College of Liberal Arts and Sciences


  • 10 hours of one of the following intensively taught Southeast Asian languages: Burmese, Indonesian, Khmer, Tagalog, Thai; or 12 semester hours of Chinese.

Sample of electives:

  • ILAS 225: Southeast Asia: Crossroads of the World (3)
  • ANTH 408: Peoples and Cultures of Mainland Southeast Asia (3)
  • ARTH 370: Studies in Asian Art (3)
  • FCNS 384: Asian American Families (3)
  • HIST 469: The Vietnam War (3)
  • MUSC 370: World Music Ensemble: Gamelan (3)
  • POLS 371: Politics in Southeast Asia (3)

Established in 1963, the Center for Southeast Asian Studies is dedicated to increasing knowledge and understanding of Southeast Asia’s eleven countries: Brunei, Burma/Myanmar, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Additional resources include the Center for Burma Studies, the Donn V. Hart Southeast Asia Collection, anthropology Museum and the Southeast Asia Digital Library.

Julia Lamb, Research Associate
and Outreach Coordinator
Center for Southeast Asian Studies
(815) 753-1595

For more information, visit www.cseas.niu.edu/