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About the Programme

This interdisciplinary programme aims to provide you with an advanced understanding of contemporary issues in East and South-East Asia so that you will have the knowledge and concrete skills necessary to understand and assess social, cultural, economic and political developments in the region.

You choose your country or a region of focus in East and South-East Asia, but also read courses that are more general and deal with cross-regional issues. The curriculum enables you to specialise based on your regional, thematic, and disciplinary focus and to critically examine and discuss issues within the field of East and South-East Asia. During the fourth semester you will have the possibility to travel to Asia to carry out fieldwork and collect material for your master thesis.

In the programme you will meet teachers who are engaged in both teaching and research and have broad experience in the region. We focus on the development of different countries but also study the region's importance in international politics.

As a student on this programme, you will:

  • Learn to analyse complex issues related to social, cultural, political and economic developments in East and South-East Asia.
  • Critically, independently, and creatively be able to identify and formulate questions and use appropriate research methods.
  • Gain the ability to work in an interdisciplinary setting and in a multicultural international environment.
  • Gain the skills required for work in research, government agencies, international organisations or employment in some other qualified capacity.

When you graduate you will receive a Master of Science in Asian Studies degree.

Programme modules/courses

The programme progresses and the courses become more specialised over time, requiring higher levels of critical and analytical skills. Thus the courses are studied in the following order: 

  • Asian Studies (6 credits)
  • The Economic Transformation of East and South-East Asia (12 credits)
  • Political Systems, Governance and Democracy in East and South-East Asia (12 credits)

  • Region-specific course, chose between China, Japan/Korea, or Southeast Asia (15 credits)
  • Methodology in Theory and Practice (15 credits)

  • Elective course 1 (7.5 credits) 
  • Elective course 2 (7.5 credits) 
  • Elective course 3 (7.5 credits) 
  • Data Collection and Analysis (7.5 credits) 

  • Master’s Thesis (30 credits)


During the fourth semester you have the possibility to travel to Asia to carry out fieldwork and collect material for your master thesis. You can choose to do the fieldwork on your own or to be affiliated with one of the Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies’ academic partners in Asia, currently Fudan University, China, Waseda University, Japan, and Thammasat University, Thailand 

Career prospects

Graduates of the MSc Programme in Asian Studies have a number of career opportunities available to them. Many graduates continue to doctoral studies at universities throughout Europe and beyond. Some of our students work in government administration, for example, foreign ministries, embassies and various European Union and United Nations agencies. Others obtain employment in civil society organisations around the world, for example, the Asia Foundation, the Red Cross and Oxfam. In the private sector we find our graduates employed as business analysts, consultants, project leaders, project coordinators, business developers, brand managers, company directors, freelance journalists and newspaper editors.

Programme syllabus

Download the programme syllabus (PDF, 167 kB, new tab)