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Overseas and Off-Campus Programs

Vietnam Regional Area Study

Semester: Fall
Date: Late August to mid-November
Offered: Fall 2020
Program Focus: Country Study


Minimum of 2.75 GPA is highly recommended.                                                                                          
Fall 2016
Program Leader:

Kabir Heimsath
Visiting Assistant Professor
Ext. 8040


Program Design:

Vietnam has entered the 21st century as one of the most politically and economically dynamic countries of Asia.  Through a curriculum that emphasizes the uniquely situated aspect of study abroad, students will have the opportunity to do guided in-depth research into the dramatic changes currently transforming Asia. From the bustling metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City to the highlands of Cambodia and Laos, the program seeks to foster a new understanding of global issues through engagement with specific people, places, and problems.

Study focuses on a broad interdisciplinary introduction to the history, language, culture and politics of this Southeast Asian country. During the first and longest component, the program will be located in Ho Chi Minh City where students will complement structured coursework with periodic field assignments. The latter portion of the program will include extended study-excursions to other regional cities, heritage sites, and ethnic minority areas for comparative perspectives on nationalism, identity, and development.

Requirements Fulfilled:

  • IS 240 and 241 fulfill the 8-credit International Studies general education requirement.
  • SOAN 200 fulfills the qualitative methods requirement.

4 courses per semester/16 credits


SOAN 200 Qualitative Research Methods (4 credits):                                              

Study covers the philosophical roots of social science research, nature of research materials in the social sciences, and issues involved in their collection and interpretation. Ethical dimensions of research. Ethnographic methods including participant observation, interviewing, careful attention to language. Application of these methods in research projects in the local community. 

IS 240 Modern Vietnamese History (4 credits):

Covers the periods of Vietnamese history from 1802 to the present. Course focuses primarily on the past two centuries of Vietnamese history: the establishment of the country’s  last dynasty, French colonial conquest and domination, the introduction of Marxism-Leninism, the struggle and recovery of independence in 1945, the war of resistance against France (the Indochina War) and the war of resistance against the United States (the Vietnam War).

IS 241 Vietnamese Society Today (4 credits):

Explores contemporary Vietnamese society and culture from both inside and outside perspectives, with an emphasis on the changes since the end of the American War (1975) and the beginning of economic reforms (1986). Classes held in a participatory seminar style, with weekly readings and discussions plus guest speakers and field trips.

IS 242 Development and Globalization in Vietnam: Critical Perspectives (4 credits):

The radical economic growth of Vietnam in recent years entails dramatic transformation of both physical and social landscapes. This course will survey some of the major socio-ecological problems Vietnam is currently facing in both urban and rural contexts. Through lectures and field trips, students will talk with experts on particular issues and experience everyday problems directly. Current strategies and possible solutions to various concerns will also be explored. Topics will include: urbanization / population resettlement, sustainable farming, biodiversity, waste management, air and water pollution, wildlife conservation, and legacies of the war.


Program Design




10.823099; 106.629664