Thai Studies BA

Year of entry

2023 course information

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UCAS code
Start date
September 2024
Delivery type
On campus
4 years full time
Study abroad
Typical A-level offer
Typical Access to Leeds offer
BBC at A Level and pass Access to Leeds
Full entry requirements

Course overview

Thai studies

Thailand has undergone a radical economic, political and social transformation in recent decades. This degree will allow you to develop Thai language skills to an advanced level while discovering the cultural, political and historical context of this unique country. 

Optional modules give you the chance to explore the topics that interest you – covering more elements of Thai culture or exploring other topics across East Asia as a whole. One of the strengths of East Asian Studies at Leeds is that we have expertise which spans the many diverse aspects of this fascinating region, which encompasses Northeast and Southeast Asia. 

You’ll spend your second year studying in Thailand and have many opportunities to immerse yourself in rich and fascinating culture. At the same time, you’ll be able to visit other Southeast Asian countries close by, such as China, Burma, Laos and Cambodia. 

We teach Thai from beginners’ level, but if you already have some knowledge we can normally accommodate you. 

Specialist facilities

Our Language Zone gives you access to free learning resources, including space for personal study, language learning software, and video, audio, books and magazines. You'll also have access to our translation computer labs equipped with specialist software and our interpreter training booths to explore different career options.

With four libraries on campus, you’ll find space for study, group work and research. The world class Brotherton Library holds a wide variety of manuscript, archive and early printed material in its Special Collections – valuable assets for your independent research. You’ll have access to free classes and workshops so you can learn how to use them.

Course details

We introduce you to Thai language and culture from beginners’ level through core modules in your first year, while your choice of optional modules will give you the chance to focus on the areas of life in Thailand and East Asia that interest you and that place Thailand in the broader regional context. This will form the foundation for your second year.

You will study 80 credits in Thai Studies, which gives you 40 credits of discovery modules to take either in other East Asian Studies modules, in School-wide areas such as global politics, history, linguistics, world cinema and world literature, or from other parts of the University, such as business studies, philosophy or psychology.

For your second year, you will study in Thailand. You’ll develop your language skills and immerse yourself in Thai culture to gain first-hand experience of living in Thailand.

When you return to Leeds for your third and fourth years, you’ll study advanced language modules – that will be delivered mostly in Thai – to refine your spoken and written Thai. You’ll look at the emergence of the Thai nation and how Buddhism has shaped society and Thailand’s distinctive media. You can also select additional optional modules to explore East Asian history, religions, politics, political economy and culture in greater depth. 

In your final year, you’ll apply the critical and research skills you’ve developed to produce your Final Year Project – an independently researched project on a topic of your choice. 

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

Year 1 compulsory modules

Basic Thai Language and Culture 1 (20 credits) - Learn the graceful Thai script and study the basic structures and vocabulary of modern spoken and written Thai for survival and communication in real life situations. Thai social customs, values and behaviour are taught through language study.

Basic Thai Language and Culture 2 (20 credits) - This module builds upon, and further develops, the oral, aural and written language skills already developed, and seeks to extend and deepen students knowledge and understanding of the Thai grammar, syntax and basic vocabulary. It will extend students' ability to read and write short passages in the Thai script and to communicate on subjects they are likely to use in everyday situations.

Year 1 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Modern China: History and Culture 20
Japanese History and Society 20
Foundations of East Asia 20
Introduction to East Asian Religions 20
Modern Japan: History and International Relations 20

Year 2 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Year Abroad in Thailand 120

Year 3 compulsory modules

The Making of Modern Thailand (20 credits) - Study how Thai's have constructed their national identity and how the Kingdom of Siam was transformed into the modern Thai nation state. In this module we will examine key contemporary debates on the interpretation of historical processes and events, and through analyses of Thai films and a variety of different texts, the complex processes of the making and sustaining of Thai national identity is explored.

Intermediate Thai Language and Culture 1 (20 credits) - The module will involve reading and discussing Thai newspaper and magazine articles. It will also involve extensive conversation, comprehension and composition exercise.The module will be delivered principally in Thai.

Intermediate Thai Language and Culture 2 (20 credits) - The module will be delivered principally in Thai. Students will read and discuss Thai newspaper and magazine articles, and watch Thai-language documentary programmes. It will also involve extensive conversation, comprehension and composition exercises.

Year 3 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Topics in Contemporary Asia Pacific Societies 20
Contemporary East Asian Culture 20

Year 4 compulsory modules

Buddhism: A Lived Tradition (20 credits) - The module will introduce the most fundamental tenets of the Buddhist doctrine, like the teachings of rebirth, kamma, different meditation techniques, the Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eightfold Path, the Four Mental Sublime States, and so on. These teachings will be explained in the context of the biography of the Buddha, as it is depicted in the canonical and post-canonical texts of Theravada-tradition. Moreover, this module will examine Thai Buddhist monasticism and the magic-animistic elements of Thai Buddhism (e.g. the amulet cult, protective tattoos).

Advanced Thai Language and Culture (20 credits) - The module, which is built on the level 2 Thai language modules, will completely be held in Thai and involve intensive and extensive reading and discussion of a range of materials in Thai, like TV programmes, films, historical documents, literary texts, newspaper articles and so on. Also, comprehension and composition will be practised intensively. 

Final Year Project (40 credits) - This may be produced in either English or, subject to the approval of the Module Leader and project supervisor, the Target Language. Lectures and workshops provide the skills training necessary, whereas more specific guidance is provided through one to one supervision with a member of staff.

Year 4 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Religion in China 20
East Asia's Regional Political Economy 20
Death and Religion in Japan 20
Global Environmental Humanities 20
Sino-Japanese Relations: Past and Present 20

Discovery modules

Throughout your degree you will benefit from a range of opportunities to expand your intellectual horizons outside or within your subject area.

This course gives you the opportunity to choose from a range of discovery modules. They’re a great way to tailor your study around your interests or career aspirations and help you stand out from the crowd when you graduate. Find out more about discovery modules on our Broadening webpages.

Learning and teaching

You’ll enjoy a variety of teaching and learning styles. Your lecturers are all experts in their fields, so you’ll be able to benefit from their knowledge in lectures, workshops, small-group seminars and tutorials. You’ll build your language skills in practical and highly interactive classes, and as you progress, some modules may be taught in your target languages.

Independent learning is also a major part of the course, allowing you to build your research skills and think critically about the information you find. The University Library runs comprehensive training programmes to help you make the most of our resources.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


We ensure inclusive assessment by making sure all our students are assessed in a range of ways. Listening, speaking, writing and reading are all tested, and our range of assessments includes essays, exams, literature reviews, annotated bibliographies, digital projects, poster presentations and translation projects. We offer training and support in these areas as well to equip you with the transferable skills you will need for your future careers – for example, we run extra classes on skills such as public speaking, structuring essays and exam technique that you’ll be able to attend throughout your time at Leeds.

You’ll regularly receive detailed feedback on your coursework, helping you to keep track of your progress.

Entry requirements

A-level: ABB

Other course specific tests:

Where an applicant is taking the EPQ in a relevant subject this might be considered alongside other Level 3 qualifications and may attract an alternative offer in addition to the standard offer. If you are taking A Levels, this would be BBB at A Level and grade A in the EPQ.

We welcome applications from mature students with Access qualifications, and from students with a wide range of qualifications.

Alternative qualification

Access to HE Diploma

Pass diploma with 60 credits overall, including at least 45 credits at level 3, of which 30 credits must be at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit or higher. An interview and a piece of written work may also be required.



Cambridge Pre-U

M1, M1, M2.

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall including 16 at Higher Level

Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)

H2, H2, H2, H3, H3, H3

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

BB in Advanced Highers and AABBB in Highers or B in Advanced Highers or AAABB in Highers or AABBBB in Highers

Welsh Baccalaureate

The Welsh Baccalaureate is not typically included in the academic conditions of an offer made to you for this course. If you choose to undertake the Welsh Baccalaureate we would strongly encourage you to draw upon these experiences within your personal statement, as your qualification will then be taken into account both when your application is initially considered by the selection panel and again when reviewed by the admissions tutor at the time your A-level results are passed to us.

Other Qualifications

European Baccalaureate: 75%.

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the School’s Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative entry

We’re committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

Find out more about Access to Leeds and alternative admissions.

Typical Access to Leeds offer: BBC at A Level and pass Access to Leeds.


We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. Contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

International Foundation Year

International students who do not meet the academic requirements for undergraduate study may be able to study the University of Leeds International Foundation Year. This gives you the opportunity to study on campus, be taught by University of Leeds academics and progress onto a wide range of Leeds undergraduate courses. Find out more about International Foundation Year programmes.

English language requirements

IELTS 7.0 overall, with no less than 6.5 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English
If you're an international student and you don't meet the English language requirements for this programme, you may be able to study our undergraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.


UK: £9,250 (per year)

International: £24,500 (per year)

Tuition fees for a study abroad or work placement year
If you take a study abroad or work placement year, you’ll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.


Apply to this course through UCAS. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

Read our guidance about applying.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy 2024

This course is taught by

School of Languages, Cultures and Societies

Contact us

School of Languages, Cultures and Societies Undergraduate Admissions


Career opportunities

A degree in Thai Studies equips you with the knowledge and skills to pursue a range of careers. Our graduates have gone on to work in the media, translation and interpreting, teaching, business, the non-governmental sector and many other fields. We are committed to helping you achieve your career ambitions. You’ll benefit from bespoke support and opportunities in the School and the University.

Our experts in the award-winning University Careers Centre will support you to make informed decisions about your career path, understand the opportunities available and the steps you need to take to pursue your choices. You’ll be encouraged to attend on-campus events including graduate recruitment fairs, employer networking and information sessions, and meetings with our alumni.

Leeds University Union provides career-related support through the part-time job hub, student societies and other activities throughout the year. Clubs and societies are a great way to get involved in lots of activities and explore your interests. They’re also a great way to develop your skills such as team working and leadership. For example, you could be a key player in an award-winning sports team, or become a committee member and chair society meetings, or you could even project manage a volunteering trip overseas. The Union is home to School Reps who are appointed by students to represent the views and be the voice of students in your School.

At Leeds, you can access support to help you start your own business. Whether you want to learn about enterprise or become an entrepreneur, we offer award-winning specialist support.

Careers support

The School of Languages, Cultures and Societies regularly hosts employability events where you can listen to Leeds alumni talking about their careers and ask them for advice.

As a student with us, you will be guided in your career choices and prepared for life after your degree in a variety of ways. Workshops and events are organised for you by the School throughout the year and focus on networking, understanding the value of your language skills, hearing from alumni about their career experiences and hosting graduate recruiters who want to hire you.

We’ll also keep you informed of other part-time and volunteering opportunities that you can fit around your studies.

This high-level knowledge provides access to many careers, but you’ll also acquire a range of transferable skills that are highly desirable to employers. You’ll be a clear communicator with strong presentation skills, as well as being a critical thinker who draws your own conclusions from the information available to you.

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more about Careers support.

Study abroad and work placements

Study abroad opportunities

You’ll spend your second year in Thailand where you’ll be strengthening your language skills. It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn about another culture, and, when you’re not in your intensive language classes there will be plenty of time to travel and explore. For many of our students, it’s the highlight of their course.

You'll study at our partner university, which has been selected for its high-quality methods of teaching and success in running Thai language courses.

You'll have access to support and advice before, during and after your study abroad year and you’ll be able to network with returning students for first-hand advice about living overseas. You'll also have meetings with the residence abroad tutor and access to online information before you relocate.

We’ll be in touch with you during your year abroad and you’ll have support at your host institution too. On your return, we’ll ask you to share your experiences and help you to make the most of your new and improved skills and experience.