Masters of Arts Program in Social Sciences and Development

Mekong Regional Studies Major

Faculty of Liberal Arts, Ubon Ratchathani University

The Mekong Sub-region Social Research Centre (MSSRC) has recently launched the Master of Arts program in Social Sciences and Development with Mekong regional studies major. The Mekong regional studies major is intended to encourage and support academic training and research regarding political and socio-economic aspects as well as transborder issues emerging in the contemporary Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS).

Some specific issues the program addresses includes natural resources management, environment, ethnicity, tourism, cultural diversity, gender, cross-border migration, international health and reproductive health, human rights and the development of civil society. The program is financially supported by the Thai government. Approximately 15 students are to be accepted into the program each year.

Curriculum Structure

The Master of Arts Program in Social Sciences and Development offers a broad inter - disciplinary program. It introduces critical concepts and theories for analy s ing social phenomena concerning Mekong region, health care, natural resources, environment and social development. The curriculum consists of four majors: (1) Mekong Regional Studies; (2) Health Social Sciences; (3) Resources and Environment Social Sciences; and (4) Social Development.

It comprises two plans of study ( plan A and plan B ) . A total of 33 credit s is required to complete the program. Six core courses, two elective courses and a thesis are required for students of plan A. Students of plan B are required to complete six core courses, four elective courses and an independent study. Students who enroll in the Mekong r egional s tudies major are required to take at least two courses of language s used in Mekong region as non-credit courses.

Mekong Regional Studies Major

Core Courses

1442 700 Seminar in Social Science s Theories

Description: T his course studies philosophical concepts and theories in various schools of thought that dominate social sciences or its sub-disciplines such as anthropology, sociology, political science, public administration, history, economics, women studies and geography. It also emphasi s es new axioms and arguments as well as the continuity of thoughts developed by prominent social philosophers .

1442 810 Social Sciences Research Methodology

Description: This course studies epistemological and theoretical ideas underlying social sciences research methodologies. It aims at building critical thinking in formulating research proposal s and designing unit s of analysis, hypothesis, questio n naires, data collection and analytical methods used in qua n t itative and qualitative research.

1454 730 Modern History of Mekong Region

Description: This course studies the modern history in Mekong region particularly Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. The course focusses on colonisation; social, cultural and intellectual transformations; the Indochina conflicts; development of nationalism and national independen ce movement s; the World War II period and the Japanese invasion of the region; and the contemporary challenges that the region faces.

1454 840 Socio-Political Geography of Mekong Basin

Description: This course focuses on the geography of Mekong basin in relation to cultural and economic elements affecting contemporary socio-political concerns. It also includes the study of ethnic composition and social and cultural identities, migration and its impacts, political institutions as well as discourses concerning regional identity and development.

1454 920 Ethnic Group Relations in Mekong Region

Description: This course emphasizes concepts and theories applied in Ethnology. It also examines socio-political and economic relationships among the ethnic groups in Mekong region. Ongoing debates and specific questions, for instance, social change, national security, environment, development, state control, and ethnic-tourism will be addressed.

1454 900 Seminar in Mekong Regional Studies

Description: This seminar on Mekong Regional Studies will crtically examine specific issues as case studies for reflection on the state of the region. Issues that will be examined include: resource management, environment degradation, health-related problems, transborder trade and border crossing, problems related to ethnicity and gender and other ongoing problems in the Mekong region.

14XX XXX Khmer/Vietnamese/Lao/Chinese I

Description: This language course focuses on developing the basic skills of speaking, writing and reading Khmer/Vietnamese/Lao/Chinese

14XX XXX Khmer/Vietnamese/Lao/Chinese II

Description: This language course focuses on developing the intermediate skills of speaking, writing and reading Khmer/Vietnamese/Lao/Chinese . Writing skills will be developed to enable the student to write essay s. R eading skills will be developed through the study of short stor ies and novel s in the language studied .

1442 990 Thesis

Description: Students (plan A) are required to complete a thesis which must be relevant to student's major field of study. The research must be an original project and an oral defense is required.

1442 991 Independent Study

Description: Students (plan B) are required to complete an independent study which must be relevant to student's major field of study. The research must be an original project and an oral defense is required.

Elective Courses

1454 840 Arts and Archaeology in Mekong Region

Description: This course focuses on archaeology, art and art history of Mekong region. It emphasizes the cultural content embedded in art and archaeology, such as beliefs, values, ideologies and cosmology in order to create a better understanding about the connected history of people living in Mekong region.

1454 841 Literature , Ethnography and Film in Mekong Region

Description: This course deals with reading of literature, ethnography and film about people and their social lives. Selected materials and films will focus on Mekong regional countries, particularly Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos and students will reflect on the transformation of cultural identities, ideologies, values, beliefs, norms and worldviews.

1454 842 Eco logical and Ethnic tourism in Mekong Region

Description: This course studies concepts and development of ethnic and eco-tourism in Mekong region. It critically examines the process through which the commodification of geographies and ethnicity occur at all levels, international, region al , national and local. The impact of the tourism industry on region al ecology and people will be explored .

1454 843 Modernity and Development in Mekong Region

Description: This course deals with the ongoing processes, impacts and prospects in development and modernity in Mekong region. Primary focuses are social and economic inequalities within and between countries, the nature of relationship between government and society and the role of public policies seeking to reduce inequalities.

1454 844 Roles of Religion s in Mekong Region

Description: The course examines the diversity of religious systems and socio-political implications of dominant religion s and beliefs in contemporary societies in Mekong region . Buddhism, Confucianism, Christianity and other forms of religious belief both traditional and modern will be taken into consideration.

1450 845 Women 's Status in Mekong Region

Description: Th is course applies feminist perspectives to explore cultural construction of gender in Mekong region. It emphasises current treatments of women in different social contexts, such as the justice system, the workplace, labor markets, schools and religious institutions. Women's roles in development and positive and negative experience of development confronting women will be critically discussed.

1454 846 Civil Society Movement in Mekong Region

Description: This course focuses on concepts of civil society and factors encouraging the emergence and development of civil societies in Mekong countries especially in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. The relationship between the state and civil society and factors deterring the growth of civil society will be discussed. Particular case studies of movements towards civil society in each Mekong regional countries will be presented.

1450 830 Interdisciplinary Approaches and Women's Health

Description: T his course provides interdisciplinary perspectives to analy s e women's health problems. Issues contributing to women's health and illness such as social, historical, economic, cultural, political, medical, scientific and others will be critically addressed . Reproductive health, violence against women, unwanted pregnancies, abortion, sexuality in women's life, sexually transmitted diseases , menopausal syndrome and infertility will be emphasi s ed.

1453 863 Managing Health in Developing Countries

Description: This course presents an overview of health care management in developing countries, particularly in Mekong region from traditional and modern perspective s . It also investigate s the current health care system including links between government hospitals, private practice, health care workers, physicians and extended care facilities. The major difficulties confronting the health care system of the selected countries will receive special attention.

1453 864 Comparative International Health in the GMS

Description: The course deals with fundamental concepts of international health including international medical collaboration , international aid, various health care systems around the world, health sector reform, international health practice, comparative health risk assessment, finding disease burden, and roles of international health organi s ations . The course will pay special attention to the comparisons of the health care systems and health problems existing in G reater Mekong S ub-region countries.

1441 810 Statistics for Social Science Research

Description: This c ourse studies advanced statistical techniques and models used in social science research including analysis of covariance, reliability and validity testing, the t-test, ANOVA, the chi-square-test, logistic regression analysis and the non-parametric test. Skills of applying statistical programs for social sciences will be emphasi s ed.

1453 865 Qualitative Research in Social Sciences

Description: This course studies philosophical concepts and theories underlying qualitative research. Its primary focuses are formulation of a research problem, proposal development, research design, and data collection methods used in qualitative research . Novel qualitative research methodologies such as, the p articipatory r esearch a pproach, q ualitative c ase s tudies and r apid a ppraisal m ethodology will be discussed. The course also focu s ses on content analysis , data interpretation and report writing.

1453 866 Current Health Issues in Mekong Region

Description: This course is concern ed with health issues that countries in Mekong region including Lao, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar and China currently encounter and share. It will examine social, cultural, political and economic aspects embedded in health problems and health care reforms in the region. It will also look at border crossing and globalization as factors contributing to current health problems in Mekong region.

1452 740 Public Policy and Decision Making for Resource and Environmental Management in Mekong Region

Description: Th is course studies and analy s e s concepts, principles, characteristics and factors influencing public policies on natural resource management . The d ecision making process es of government s , privati s ation, non-government organi s ation s , and local community at both the international and national scales will be analy s ed. It also focus s es on the problems and impacts of natural resource policies from the view points of all stakeholders. Additionally students will stud y alternative policies on resources and environmental management .

1452 811 Environmental and Social Impact Assessment

Description: This course studies and analy s es concepts regarding environment and social impact s resulting from larg e infrastructure project s . It also studies method, process and various techniques relevant to social impact assessment s , particularly the effects of use of the se studies in the resolution of conflicts of interests between different stakeholders . The course will also study concerns regarding local socio-cultural diversity.

1452 960 Community Rights and Wisdom in Sustainable Resource Management

Description: This course analy s es the need for regard for community rights, human rights and local knowledge in sustainable resource management. It looks at the benefits of supporting bio-diversity and genetic resources management in order to achieve environmental ethic s and equity.

1452 840 Socio-political Ecology in Resource Management

Description: This course focuses on an analysis of the problems of resource and environmental degradation in the contexts of globalization and capitalism . It uses concepts of political economy and cultural ecology to analy s e in order to understand the conflicts of resource utili s ation, control, recovery, and conservation. The course also examines the benefits of co-management among stakeholders in resource management .

1450 820 Gender Perspectives in R esource and Environmental Management

Description: This course aims to study concepts, importance, roles and status of genders in natural resource management, to analy s e and comment on impacts of the use of gender concepts for international, national and local sustainable resource development. It will focus primarily on related issues pertaining to the GMS countries.

1452 964 Conflict Management in Resource and Environment al Management

Description: This course seeks to study the transboundary impacts of natural resource management through an analysis of stakeholders , co-management and approaches to conflict resolutions in natural resource management , especially in Mekong region.

1451 850 Human Right s and Development

Description: This course examines approaches, development and concepts of human rights . It will look at the acceptance and role of human right s in the context of development by focusing on human right s in Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and China.

1451 861 Civil Society and Development

Description: This course will study the emergence of civil society . It will look specifically at approaches and processes in empowering local people, the role and strength of civil society and local organi s ation s including patterns and methods of development in order to strength en organi s ation s and communities in the GMS.