P50 int broch SSEAS
South and Southeast Asian Studies

For centuries, Leiden has been - and still is - one of the world’s leading centers for Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. Within the South and Southeast Asian Studies programme you can opt to focus either on modern society or on the classical cultures of the area. The programme provides you with a thorough knowledge of a fascinating and dynamic region. The emphasis lies on India, Tibet and Indonesia, but other countries in South and Southeast Asia, such as Pakistan, Sri Lanka or Thailand will also be discussed.

The approach to this regional studies programme is multidisciplinary and offers you the possibility to acquire knowledge about the languages, religions, art, culture, histories and current politics of the region. You will be able to specialise in specific countries of South and Southeast Asia. Studying Indonesian, Hindi, Tibetan or Sanskrit will help you extend your knowledge of the various cultures of South and Southeast Asia.

Why study South and Southeast Asian Studies in Leiden?

  • It is the only bachelor’s programme in Europe that integrates the study of culture, art, religion, philosophy, history, sociology, economics and politics of South and Southeast Asia as a single region.
  • It is the only programme in the Netherlands where you can learn Hindi, Sanskrit, Tibetan, or Indonesian.
  • The teaching in this programme is based on cutting-edge scientific research and stands in a long tradition of Leiden scholarship of the region.
Pag 51 int broch Shante Neese

Shanté Neese
First-year student

'I like the fact that the classes are rather small and that there is so much personal attention. There is quite a lot of interaction during the language classes, for example, and there is always room to give your opinion and develop yourself. There is also a kind of community amongst the students, since we all know each other pretty well. Other than that, what I like about this study is that I will likely go to Indonesia in my third year! That is really a highlight of this study.'

Curriculum: South and Southeast Asian Studies

South and Southeast Asian Studies 2023 vs 1

Study abroad

In the first half of year three, you will spend a semester abroad. Those studying the Indonesian language will go to Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta. If you are studying Hindi or Sanskrit you'll go to the University of Hyderabad. Students studying Tibetan will go to the Rangjung Yeshe Institute in Kathmandu, Nepal, or to a European university. This experience of linguistic and cultural immersion is a signature element of the programme and comes without additional costs. You can also decide to study in another European country. If for some reason you are unable to go abroad, the programme offers you an alternative programme in Leiden.

Asian Library

The Asian Library aholds the world’s largest collection of works on Indonesia, and also houses major collections containing unique material on countries in South and Southeast Asia, China, Japan and Korea. In total, the library has more than 30 kilometres of material available for research and teaching on Asia, ranging from prints and books to manuscripts, photos, maps and much more.

Your future career

In addition to continuing with a master’s in Asian Studies at Leiden University, graduates of South and Southeast Asian Studies are attractive candidates for employers in many different fields. This is largely due to our alumni’s in-depth knowledge of a broad region that includes some of the world’s fastest growing economies, as well as to their academic skills. Our alumni work, for example, as a researcher, consultant, museum curator or P&O officer in the Netherlands or in an international setting.

Organisations in the Netherlands and abroad that employ our alumni include:

  • World Education
  • Political party ChristenUnie/SGP The Hague
  • The Indonesia Nederland Youth Society
  • The University of Melbourne
  • Ahold
  • Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Food Innovator Bosman Van Zaal
  • The Aspen Institute México

Location: Leiden


year programme, 180 ECTS


English-taught programme established




largest lecture size


maximum tutorial size

bachelors.universiteitleiden.nl/south-and- southeast-asia