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The Southeast Asia Studies Program provides an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the nations, states, institutions and peoples of Southeast Asia in the 21st century. The program offers courses in Southeast Asia history, politics, economics, development and security.
Students are attracted to the program's unique dual-concentration structure combining international economics and regional expertise. To prepare students for the demanding working environment of Southeast Asia, the Southeast Asia Studies Program offers a rigorous, policy-oriented curriculum, high language proficiency, direct in-country summer internship experience, unparalleled Washington D.C.-based forums that examine domestic politics and international relations of Southeast Asian countries, and an unsurpassed global alumni network.
If interested in graduate studies, you are most welcome to contact Karl Jackson, Director of Southeast Asia Studies (202.663.5980), to discuss joining the program.
The Johns Hopkins SAIS Philippines Roundtable, Burma Study Group, Indochina Roundtable, and the Southeast Asia Studies Wednesday Lunch Seminar offer opportunities for students to interact with diplomats, policymakers and academics concerned with Southeast Asia. In addition, conferences, special lectures, book launches and film screenings introduce students to established regional expertise and cutting edge scholarship. More.
The Johns Hopkins SAIS-USKI Asia Democracy Study is a research initiative looking at public opinions on attitudes and behaviors toward democracy and governance in Indonesia, South Korea, the Philippines, and Thailand. More
Johns Hopkins SAIS 2011 Survey Questionnaire
More than five decades after closing its center at the University of Rangoon, Johns Hopkins SAIS is rebuilding ties to Myanmar as it emerges from a half century of military rule.
Between the first and second year of studies, students participate in internships of eight weeks duration in Southeast Asia. Internships provide students with the opportunity to combine theory and practice, to gain hands-on experience in a professional field, and to experience the rich and varied dimensions of Southeast Asian societies.
Language expertise in Bahasa Indonesian, Burmese, Thai or Vietnamese gives graduates a strong competitive edge. Proficiency in a modern language helps students broaden their regional competency. The program assists students to acquire additional language training in the region during the January inter-sessions in well regarded local academic institutions such as the Alam Bahasa Language School (Yogyakarta), Unity Thai Language School (Bangkok), and the University of Social Sciences and Humanities (Ho Chi Minh City).
View our most recent edition (Winter 2016) of the Southeast Asia Studies Newsletter here.
For past editions: Spring 2015, Summer 2013, Fall 2012, Winter-Spring 2012, Fall 2011, Spring 2011, and Fall 2010.
Southeast Asia Studies Program Learning Goals and Objectives
Entering Class 2016-2017
MA students must take the equivalent of 16 non-language courses (64 credits) in order to graduate. Those students who are approved for dual degree or advanced standing may only need to take 12 courses (48 credits) or 14 courses (56 credits) as approved by Academic Affairs.
SOUTHEAST ASIA STUDIES
Students concentrating in Southeast Asia Studies must take at least 4 courses within this program.
Students also must fulfill the general requirements for the field of Asian Studies, that is, an additional 2 Asian Studies courses outside of Southeast Asia Studies.
Students in Southeast Asia Studies also have the option of pursuing a specialization in the International Relations of Asia (AsiaIR).
Students must complete 4 courses within this program.
· Macroeconomics (prerequisite or concurrent Microeconomics)
· International Trade Theory (prerequisite Microeconomics)
· International Monetary Theory (prerequisite Macroeconomics)
Eligible students who pass the waiver exams in these subjects or who pass Micro in Pre-Term must replace those courses with alternate economics courses. Many students choose to pursue an International Economics Specialization in one of four areas of economics and therefore use electives to meet these requirements. Students may also choose to specialize in Emerging Markets.
Students must receive a 2.67 average in the 4 required economics courses or they must retake a course(s) until a 2.67 average is obtained. If any of the 4 courses are achieved by passing a waiver exam or during Pre-Term, the student must substitute an economics elective course(s) in place of the waived course(s) in order to fulfill the economics requirement above. In this case, SAIS will use the highest economics program elective course grade(s) to compute this average if a student is replacing one or more of the 4 required courses of Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, International Trade Theory or International Monetary Theory.
Students must complete one course from the list below.
· Statistical Methods for Business & Economics
· Econometrics (prerequisite Statistical Methods for Business & Economics)
· Applied Econometrics (prerequisite Econometrics)
· Macro Econometrics (prerequisite Econometrics)
· Risk Analysis and Modeling
· Quantitative Global Economics (prerequisite International Monetary Theory)
Students may not double-count a Quantitative Reasoning requirement as one of the four required International Economics courses and vice-versa. Eligible students who pass the statistics waiver exam or pass the statistics course in Pre-Term are still required to take an alternate Quantitative Reasoning course from the list above.
All SAIS students must pass 2 core exams and/or courses in addition to their concentration requirements. Southeast Asia Studies concentrators must pass Comparative Politics as one of their core requirements prior to the start of their third semester. If the second core is not completed by the start of the final semester, a student must enroll in second core course.
· American Foreign Policy Since World War II
· Comparative Politics (old name Comparative National Systems)
· Evolution of the International Systems
· Theories of International Relations
Southeast Asia Studies MA candidates must pass exams to demonstrate proficiency in Burmese, Indonesian, Thai or Vietnamese. All non-native English speakers are also required to pass an English placement exam upon entering SAIS. Native speakers of one of these Southeast Asian languages must pass proficiency in a second language which can include English. Native Southeast Asian speakers who pass the English placement exam or proficiency upon entry are encouraged to pursue language study or proficiency in a Southeast Asian language other than their own.
Southeast Asia Studies concentrators must complete ONE of the following capstones:
For regional specialization, the Southeast Asia Studies Program offers a range of courses on the history, politics, economics, development, culture, and security of Southeast Asia. Students gain in-depth knowledge on specific Southeast Asian countries, as well as cross-regional analysis.
Please find below, course selections for academic year 2016-2017.
This is a course about foreign policy analysis in one of the most dynamic, fluid and conflict-prone regions of the world. From China's challenge in the South China Sea to the threat of radical Islamic terrorism to the perturbations of emerging markets, U.S. foreign policy faces diverse political, economic, trade and security issues in Southeast Asia. "American Foreign Policy in Southeast Asia" analyzes the U.S. policy making process, investigates the key players in the region and beyond, and assesses the instruments of hard and soft power employed by the U.S. in implementing policy. Students will also have the opportunity to collaborate in planning and writing a Southeast Asia policy for the new U.S. administration.
09-06-2016 to 12-12-2016 | Th 02:00 PM - 04:30 PM
This course is designed to provide both a conceptual understanding of democratic theories and an empirical knowledge of experiences of democratic transition and consolidation in a number of different Asian countries. It will investigate different forms of democracy, focussing particularly in new- or late-democratizing countries of East and Southeast Asia. The course begins by looking at the various models of democracy, and the tension between institutional and societal-based theories of democratic change. The course will then apply these theories to Southeast Asia, examining the role of formal democratic institutions, the processes of democratic consolidation, and the relationship between democracy and development.
09-06-2016 to 12-12-2016 | M 02:00 PM - 04:30 PM
This course examines the dynamics of power, business, politics and economic growth in Indonesia. The course begins with a review of modern Indonesian history, its political, social and economic development, and the multiple crises that have brought chaos and opportunity to the world’s most populous Muslim state. It examines contemporary Indonesian politics and Indonesia’s complex relationships with global capital markets, international financial institutions and donors.
Students may not register for this class if they have already received credit for SA.770.610 (Politics of Indonesia).
09-06-2016 to 12-12-2016 | T 02:00 PM - 04:30 PM
This class considers the contemporary foreign policies and international relations challenges of major countries in Southeast Asia. Surveys key regional issues: evolution of ASEAN; security arrangements; trade conflicts and territorial disputes; the role of China, Japan and the United States; regional integration; transnational issues; and terrorism. Considers the contemporary foreign policies and international relations challenges of major countries in Southeast Asia. Surveys key regional issues: evolution of ASEAN; security arrangements; trade conflicts and territorial disputes; the role of China, Japan and the United States; regional integration; transnational issues; and terrorism. Limited to 20 students.
01-30-2017 to 05-06-2017 | T 02:00 PM - 04:30 PM
This is a new course designed to study Asia from a different perspective. Typically, scholars look at the internal and external dynamics of Asian politics, economy and security from land, with the state as the center of inquiry. This course, developed with the advice and assistance of RADM (Ret.) Michael McDevitt, Senior Fellow at the Center for Naval Analysis, examines Asia from the vantage point of the surrounding seas. The role of the state is important, but maritime geography is the center of inquiry in this course. The rapid growth of seaborne international trade, discovery of undersea mineral resources and increasing value of depleted fish stocks, and emergence of territorial disputes involving maritime spaces has raised the strategic importance of the world’s oceans and seas. More than half the world’s maritime area is located in Asia.
The course will:
Provide an introduction to “maritime geography”
Describe and compare the political, economic and security interests of the stakeholders in the major maritime areas of Asia: Sea of Japan, East China and Yellow Seas, South China Sea, Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea
Apprise the policies of each stakeholder, including the U.S., in protecting and enhancing interests in Asia maritime areas
Examine the key issues involved with each of the five potential Asia maritime flashpoints that could lead to armed conflict
Conclude with an in-class exercise and discussion of the Trump administration’s prospective plans and policy in Maritime Asia
The Maritime Asia course is taught by Rear Admiral Michael McDevitt, US Navy (ret), William M. Wise, MA, and Dr. Marvin C. Ott, PhD.
01-30-2017 to 05-06-2017 | W 02:00 PM - 04:30 PM
Myanmar (Burma) is in the process of a challenging transition—from a centralized, authoritarian, military-run political system to a pluralistic “disciplined-flourishing democracy;” from a socialist, then dirigiste economy to one more market oriented and open to foreign investment; from a society characterized by personalized power to institutional norms; from centralized media and social control to one more open; from a single dominant ethnic group to a more multicultural system; and from a skewed foreign policy to a more balanced approach to international affairs. This attempt at transition, in less than half a decade, is virtually unprecedented in Asia. Such a complex set of changes is difficult, inviting a clash of vested interests, historical memories, foreign pressures, and advocacy and resulting in asynchronous growth and change. Myanmar/Burma: Challenges of Transition explores the nature of these challenges, their likely trajectories, the roles of foreign pressures and planning, and the lessons that might be drawn from such a complex process.
The course objectives are:
To understand the internal and external dynamics of political, socio-economic, and security change in a Southeast Asian democratizing state.
To examine the nature, process, and inherent difficulties of Myanmar/Burma’s democratic transition.
To research and write an original paper on the challenges of transition in Myanmar of sufficient quality to merit submission to an academic journal. The course will be taught by a team of specialists on Myanmar.
*This is a cross-listed course that can fulfill a requirement for International Development and Conflict Management.
01-30-2017 to 05-06-2017 | M 10:00 AM - 12:30 PM
A strong network of funding sources coupled with a global alumni network support educational and employment opportunities for students. Fellowships include the C.V. Starr Fellowship; the Prem Fellowship for Thai Studies; the Freeport McMoRan Fellowship for Indonesians; the Tran Thi Quynh Hoa Fellowship for Vietnamese; the USINDO-SAIS Edward E. Masters Fellowship Program for Indonesian foreign service officers; the Philip W. Thayer Fellowship (with major funding from the Henry Luce Foundation) for students and visiting scholars from Myanmar, the Philippines, and Vietnam, including junior faculty members from government training academies; and the Southeast Asia Studies Alumni & Friends Fellowship. Additionally, the Southeast Asia Studies Program initiated a joint program with the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins SAIS and Chung Ang University to provide full tuition for one Burmese Foreign Service officer for one year at SAIS followed by one year at a Korean graduate school.
Frederic Neumann (Class of 2005) is the senior economist at HSBC in Hong Kong, responsible for the Asia region. Originally from Luxembourg, Fred has taught courses on macroeconomics and Asia and was a consultant for the World Bank and various governments.
Shari Knoerzer (Class of 2002) works for Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold as director of social responsibility and community development - Asia/Africa. Her first five years at Freeport were spent in Indonesia.
Edison Sian (Class of 2004) is in the Philippines setting up a social enterprise to target the healthcare needs of the poorest communities. His goal is establishing micro-clinics throughout the archipelago to combat the five main causes of death in over 70% of the population.
Bruce Schulman (Class of 1998) funded the Paul D. Wolfowitz Fellowship Prize in Southeast Asia Studies in honor of Ambassador Paul D. Wolfowitz, former dean of Johns Hopkins SAIS, to recognize the second-year Southeast Asia Studies MA student with the highest GPA. Prize recipients: Wallis Yu (2011), Sean Creehan (2012), Elizabeth Vish (2013), Daniel Greenland (2014), and Bartholomew Thanhauser (2015).