Learn the language of one of Australia's closest neighbours. Learning Indonesian can open up many interesting employment opportunities – in Indonesia, and with the many organisations that work with its 200 million citizens, including the Australian Government. 

Indonesian language subjects are organised in a progressive sequence of units from Indonesian 1 through to Indonesian 6, with four additional advanced units. Entry points are determined by your background in the language, placement testing and prerequisites.

Indonesian language study at the University of Melbourne is also available in the Diploma in Languages


  • Communications
  • Community development
  • Diplomacy
  • International relations
  • Multinational business
  • Teaching
  • Translation and interpretation

Subjects you could take in this major

  • Indonesia is well-known for its cultural, linguistic and religious diversity. Additional social groupings – both mainstream and subaltern – based on class, gender and sexual identities also contribute to the multifaceted character of Indonesia’s social and political landscape. In this subject students will develop their knowledge and understanding of this diversity and how the interplay between local, national and global concepts of self and community impacts on the construction of contemporary Indonesian society. Through discussion and analysis of selected Indonesian academic and literary readings and other sources from electronic and popular media, students will explore the concepts of minority and identity, investigating selected cases that illustrate the construction of ethnic, religious, class, gender and sexual identities. Special attention will be given to the experiences of marginalisation and solidarity experienced by communities in Indonesian. This subject is conducted in Indonesian.

  • In an increasingly globalised world it is impossible to imagine any state including Indonesia being completely disengaged from the rest of the world. Indonesia's constant global engagement is evidence of its geopolitical importance on the international stage. Indonesia is a unitary state built out of culturally and historically diverse components, and its diversity is the potential for dialouge with other nation-states. In this subject students will examine the interaction dynamics between indonesia and the world from a range of perspectives such as language and culture, politics, education, commerce, and entertainment. There are two main themes that will be discussed in a complementary manner namely nationalism and internationalism. Indonesia's colonial past and it's pst-colonial experience, as well as the symbols and the pragmatic social-political processes for building national cohesion and international relations, will be explored in order to comprehend the extent of mutual influences between Indonesia and the world. This subject is conducted in Indonesian.

  • Students commence their study of Indonesian language and society through an introduction to basic Indonesian grammar, vocabulary and communicative strategies. Students become familiar with key elements of social interaction in Indonesian, including use of address terms, ways of greeting, and common topics of conversation for people studying or working in Indonesia, such as student and family life and the geography of Indonesia. Using basic sentence structures, students will be able to engage in a variety of interactions, including getting to know people and describing daily activities, as well as reading and writing simple descriptions.

  • Students will build on their knowledge of Indonesian language and society to further develop their ability to communicate through Indonesian. Expanded knowledge of sentence structure and vocabulary will allow students to begin exploring themes important to Indonesian society such as urban lifestyles, local traditions and religious celebrations, and the effects of tourism. Students will continue to develop their abilities in conversational interaction, interviewing and planning and reporting activities through speaking and writing.

  • Students develop their ability to communicate in Indonesian and their understanding of Indonesia by engaging with key themes in modern Indonesian society such as: youth culture and urbanisation, family structures and practices, and ethnic and religious topics. Students’ cultural knowledge and ability to use linguistic resources are expanded by reading authentic materials from magazines and newspapers, watching and discussing video clips of dramas and comedies, producing short summaries, and engaging in informal discussion.

  • Students further develop their communicative abilities in Indonesian and their understanding of contemporary Indonesian culture and society by studying key issues such as the environment, modernity and development, and the complexities of ethnic and religious diversity. Students’ linguistic skills develop through reading short newspaper and magazine articles, viewing film and television clips, producing small research projects and opinion pieces, and engaging in informal and formal discussion groups. At the end of this subject students should be able to converse and write on a range of common topics, and be familiar with broad issues relevant to understanding Indonesian society.

  • Students will expand and deepen their understanding Indonesian society and develop their ability to communicate progressively more complex ideas in Indonesian. Topics covered may include challenges facing the new generation, migrant workers, contemporary nationalism and tackling environmental problems. Authentic materials such as short stories and media reports – and the key issues these materials raise – will be investigated through increasingly sophisticated Indonesian language use in class discussions, presentations and essays and short translation exercises.

  • Students explore current issues in Indonesian society and further develop their linguistic abilities; topics covered may include democracy at work, religious disputes, other current events and a look at pre-independence Indonesia.. These will be investigated through reading or viewing authentic material such as literary forms (e.g. short stories, poems) media reports, magazine articles, film & television clips. Students will undertake class discussions, presentations, essays and short translation exercises in order to consolidate linguistic resources gained in previous levels and develop a better understanding of complex and subtle language usage. At the end of this subject, students should have the linguistic resources necessary to begin tackling in-depth study of specific topics in professional and academic contexts using the Indonesian language.

  • Students will read, analyse and discuss selected works from modern Indonesian literature in a variety of genres, including for example novels, short stories and poetry. Works will cover the Nationalist period to the present. The subject highlights the social and cultural context of literature and its historical and contemporary role in framing Indonesian society. Particular emphasis is given to transformation in the lives of literary protagonists and how these may reflect transformative moments in Indonesian society. This subject is conducted in Indonesian.

  • Students will examine problems of linguistic and cultural difference through the process of translation between Indonesian and English. Students will enhance their expertise in practical Indonesian-English and English-Indonesian translation and will also be introduced to key theoretical issues in translation studies. Apart from regular practical translation exercises using selected texts on a range of topics – for example, legal documents, reports, speeches, and newspapers articles – existing translated pieces in both languages will also be presented for discussion and comparison. This is a bi-lingual subject, conducted in both Indonesian and English.

  • This subject is a multidisciplinary introduction to key concepts in the social sciences and cultural studies and their application in the study of modern Indonesia, covering the historical, political, cultural, social, and linguistic factors that have helped shape the contemporary nation-state of Indonesia. The subject should prepare students for research in the field of Indonesian studies. This subject is taught two times per year: it is available either as an overseas intensive subject taught in Indonesia or as a semester-long subject taught on the Parkville campus. Enrolment in the overseas intensive option is by application and limited to a maximum of 15 students.

  • This subject focuses on the transforming power of creative arts and communicative technology in social history, with specific empirical reference to modern Indonesia. Students will closely examine the profound social transformation brought about by art, print, broadcasting and social media at a time of global invasion of electronic high technology. Contemporary politics, popular cultures, social networks, urban spaces and creative enterprises will be some of the key issues in the subject.

  • This subject focuses on the role of personal, societal, and historical contexts in the use and development of languages in the Indonesian archipelago, focussing on specific Indonesian societies (eg. Batak, Javanese, Maluku) and the Indonesian nation as a whole. The subject engages with issues of language in society including language planning, literacy, politeness, multi-lingualism, interpersonal interaction, traditional and modern communication systems, differences in style according to genre (eg. written and spoken language), function (eg. conversational, ritual, or political language) and social identity (eg. class, ethnic, gender or sexual identification). Students should develop an understanding of the close relationship that social context, interpersonal interaction, and culture have with language form and usage.

  • This subject focuses on two areas, namely the location of a particular study of popular culture within the broader study of cultures, and questions of aesthetic and political values with specific reference to Indonesian contexts. Students will examine critically selected analyses of different genres of popular cultures in Indonesia. The subject will refer to theoretical texts on ideology, cultures, hegemony, identity politics and resistance. Issues of gender, ethnicity and religion will be of importance.

Entry requirements & Prerequisites

This major is available through more than one course, both of which have their own separate entry requirements.

You can read more on the the

Bachelor of Arts&Bachelor of Arts Extended