University of Sydney Handbooks - 2021 Archive

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Indonesian Studies

About the major

Indonesian Studies at the University of Sydney emphasises the importance of providing a rounded education, drawing on its extensive links with Indonesia and the Indonesian community in Australia. It produces graduates with strong language skills, transferrable academic skills, and substantial country knowledge.

The department caters for undergraduates with a range of language backgrounds, including beginners, school leavers, and background speakers of Indonesian. Indonesian can be taken as a major in a variety of degree programs, or as elective for as little as one semester. Undergraduates in a faculty other than the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences who wish to do more Indonesian Studies units of study than their degree can accommodate can take the equivalent of a full major through the Diploma of Language Studies. The diploma is also available to graduates of any university in any discipline.

An Indonesian major will provide you with the skills required to use Indonesian in a variety of settings, and to conduct research using Indonesian language. Study of Indonesian politics, history, and culture are integrated into all levels of study. Students learn about the impact of Indonesia’s complex archipelagic geography 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 study key aspects of modern Indonesian society through thematic seminars taught in the Indonesian language medium.

Requirements for completion

The Indonesian Studies major and minor are available via the pathways indicated below.

Students will follow the appropriate pathway specified in the unit of study tables, based on their individual language level*. Students completing any of the pathways below will be awarded a major or minor in Indonesian Studies.

* Appropriate language units are determined either by language level and grade therein achieved in Higher School Certificate (as listed in the pathways linked above) or International Baccalaureate, and/or by one-on-one interviews prior to commencement. If you are unsure of your language level or which pathway is appropriate for you, please contact the Department for advice.

Please note: A ‘gap’ year after Year 12 does not normally affect placement.

Learning outcomes
No. Learning outcome
1 Demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively in Indonesian in a variety of contexts.
2 Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of Indonesian society and cultures and the ability to critically reflect on their own society and heritage.
3 Critically analyse different perspectives on Indonesian society and cultures, and formulate arguments and hypotheses to offer alternative perspectives.
4 Demonstrate the skills to access and evaluate primary and secondary sources to conduct research on contemporary Indonesian society.
5 Demonstrate the ability to work collaboratively and openly in cross-cultural and interdisciplinary settings to achieve high quality results.
6 Apply language skills, sociocultural knowledge and critical thinking skills gained from the study of contemporary Indonesia to offer solutions to problems encountered in new contexts.
7 Apply appropriate professional and ethical standards to academic research and inquiry in Indonesia Studies.

Advanced coursework

The Bachelor of Advanced Studies in SLC prepares students to actively engage in the complex and culturally diverse contemporary world. Students will utilise linguistic and methodological skills developed in their previous studies to develop their knowledge of institutions, practices and ideas that permeate different cultures in the local and global context. They will be offered opportunities to participate in projects on translation, acculturation and self-reflexivity and to examine textual and social real-world problems related to topics which include translation, migration studies, cultural diversity and social integration.

Requirements and units of study for advanced coursework can be found on the Indonesian Studies advanced coursework units of study page.


Students who do well in their pass degrees often choose to take an additional honours year.

During an honours year, you conduct in-depth research to produce an 18,000-20,000 word thesis written in English on a chosen topic, drawing on Indonesian and English language resources and primary research. An honours project may involve a fieldwork component, which greatly enhances the Honours experience.

Honours admission requirements

Admission to honours is via the Bachelor of Advanced Studies and requires the completion of a major in Indonesian Studies with an average of 70% or above.

Prior to commencing honours, you will need to ensure you have completed all other requirements of the Bachelor of Arts or other bachelor degree, including Open Learning Environment (OLE) units and a second major.

Requirements and units of study for honours can be found on the Indonesian Studies honours units of study page.

Contacts and further information

More information and current contact details for academic coordinators can be found at: