University of Sydney Handbooks - 2017 Archive

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Indonesian Studies

The Department of Indonesian Studies is part of the School of Languages and Cultures (SLC).

About the major

Indonesian Studies at the University of Sydney emphasises the importance of providing a rounded education, drawing on its extensive links in Indonesia and with the Indonesian community in Australia. It produces graduates who have not only strong language skills, but also transferrable academic skills and a high level of substantive country knowledge.

The department caters for undergraduates with a range of language backgrounds, including beginners, school leavers, and background speakers of Indonesian. An Indonesian major will provide you with the linguistic and other academic skills required to use Indonesian in a variety of social settings, and carry out research in cultural, historical and social studies using the Indonesian language medium. Study of Indonesian geography, history, politics, anthropology and literature is integrated into all levels of study. Beginners and intermediate students learn about the impact of Indonesia’s complex archipelagic geography and its location at the world’s most important maritime crossroads on its peoples and cultures in a context where colonisation and modernity are merely the most recent of many waves of foreign influence. Advanced learners and background speakers have the opportunity to engage in the study of key aspects of modern Indonesian society through thematic seminars taught in the Indonesian language medium.

Pathways through the major

A major in Indonesian studies requires at least 36 senior credit points, including at least 24 credit points of language units of study and at least 6 credit points at 3000 level.

The units of study for the major can be found in the Table A unit of study table for Indonesian Studies. The table shows units of study on offer in the current handbook year. You may find information regarding a full list of units of study available to the major on the departmental website.

Pathway 1:
Absolute beginners commence with INMS1101. Beginners with some exposure to Indonesian may commence in Semester 2 with INMS1102.

Sample pathway - beginners stream
First Year S1

INMS1101 Indonesian 1A

S2 INMS1102 Indonesian 1B
Second Year S1 INMS2601 Indonesian 2A
S2 INMS2602 Indonesian 2B and Senior ASNS unit focusing on Indonesia
Third Year S1 INMS3601 Indonesian 3A
S2 INMS3602 Indonesian 3B and Senior ASNS unit focusing on Indonesia

Pathway 2:
School leavers generally commence with INMS2601, joining those who have successfully completed INMS1102; also available for learners with sufficient background knowledge. High-performing school leavers or those with sufficient background knowledge may commence with INMS3601, joining students who have successfully completed INMS2602.

Sample pathway - HSC stream
First Year S1

INMS2601 Indonesian 2A

S2 INMS2602 Indonesian 2B
Second Year S1 INMS3601 Indonesian 3A
S2 INMS3602 Indonesian 3B
Third Year S1
  • INMS3609 Indonesia's Slow Road to Democracy; OR
  • INMS3611 Autonomy and Human Rights in Indonesia; OR
  • INMS3607 Indonesia: The Challenges of Development
  • INMS3610 Dealing with Indonesia's Diversity; OR
  • INMS3612 Enculturating the Indonesian Nations; OR
  • INMS3608 Indonesia In Search of Modernity

Pathway 3:
Designed for native speakers, near native speakers and advanced learners (including students who have successfully completed INMS3602), the six rotating units make it possible for students in these categories to complete a major in Indonesian Studies. These advanced studies units are qualitatively and methodologically distinct from the lower units, as they are taught on a social science seminar model and can be taken in any order.

Sample pathway - native, or near native speakers
First Year S1

INMS3609 Indonesia's Slow Road to Democracy

S2 INMS3610 Dealing with Indonesia's Diversity
Second Year S1 INMS3611 Autonomy and Human Rights in Indonesia
S2 INMS3612 Enculturating the Indonesian Nations
Third Year S1

INMS3607 Indonesia: The Challenges of Development


INMS3608 Indonesia In Search of Modernity

The content of each of the above units is designed to provide students with a broad knowledge of Indonesian culture and society while allowing for the development of content depth at the upper levels. This offering is designed in such a way that it provides a pathway for native and near-native speakers, as well as ab initio students and learners with some language background.

This core curriculum is complemented by a range of English-language units of study on Southeast Asia offered through the Asian Studies Program. A semester of in-country study program can be taken through the Australian Consortium for In-Country Indonesian Studies (ACICIS). Enrolment in Indonesian Studies in-country units at the University of Sydney is required prior to participating in the program.


Students who do well in their pass degrees often choose to take an additional honours year. The minimum requirement for entry into Honours is an average of 70 percent or above in the major. During an honours year, you conduct in-depth research to produce an 18,000-20,000 word thesis on a socio-cultural, historical, political, anthropological, or linguistic topic using Indonesian and English language materials and primary research. An honours project may involve a fieldwork component, which greatly enhances the Honours experience.

At the higher degree level, the department has a vibrant research training program, with candidates undertaking postgraduate research degrees at the master's and PhD levels on topics related to the Indonesian history, politics, social movements and social change, literary and cultural studies, and Indonesian linguistics.

Contact/further information

Department website:
Undergraduate Coordinator and Chair of Department: Dr Novi Djenar

Phone: +61 2 9036 9512.