Khmer is the native language of the Khmer people and the official language of Cambodia (some 13 million people), with over one million speakers in Thailand and another million in Vietnam. It is widely spoken as the second language of various minority groups in Cambodia, including the Cham. Khmer is regularly taught at UW-Madison during the summers, at the Southeast Asian Studies Summer Institute, and through distance learning during the academic year through a program with the University of California-Berkeley (see below). Cambodia has been open for travel, research, and social, religious, and economic engagement since the mid-1990s, with a large population of Cambodian Americans living in the U.S. since the late 1970s.

Majors & Certificates 

Asian Studies Major, Southeast Asian Studies Certificate; visit the Majors & Certificates page for more information.


Michael Cullinane,

Study Abroad 

Contact International Academic Programs for more information.

Student Organizations 

Lao Cambodian Student Association (LCSA); browse the Wisconsin Involvement Network for more information.


Consider an internship where you can use Khmer, either in the US or abroad. An internship in any field can complement your language study and can provide valuable professional experience.