Study mode:On campus Study type:Part-time Languages: English
Local:$ 8.37 k / Year(s) Foreign:$ 19.4 k / Year(s) Deadline: Jun 30, 2024
StudyQA ranking:4596 Duration:12 months

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The programme is designed for students with a keen interest in studying the remote as well as the more recent past of the countries, peoples, and cultures of Africa, Asia and the Middle East. It is also ideal for students who seek to understand the historical conditions of the contemporary world from a global perspective. While the course is open to students with backgrounds in a diverse range of disciplines in the Humanities and Social Sciences, the ideal applicant would have an UG degree in History or a relevant area studies programme, some knowledge of foreign, in particular Asian or African languages, and preferably relevant background in the region of specialism.

This is one of the few Master-level programmes in History focusing on the study of Asia, the Middle East and Africa in the UK. With its high concentration of expertise of these regions, SOAS can offer an unrivalled breadth of courses on their histories. Apart from the possibility of acquiring regional expertise, the programme also provides a sound training in the historical sciences more generally. Students who wish to study manifestations of particular issues in a variety of regions may opt for the broader MA History. Others may prefer to focus on the study of a single region and choose one of the available regional pathways. These are

  • MA History: Africa
  • MA History: Near and Middle East
  • MA History: South Asia
  • MA History: South East Asia
  • MA History: East Asia

Students in this programme take three units of taught courses plus a 10,000 word dissertation. The proximity to the School of many archive depositories and records offices, including its own archival collection as well as the British Library, greatly enhances the potential for dissertation work. A broad range of courses is available in every single year (see 'Structure' tab for more details), though you may want to contact the programme convenor to ask about the availability of particular courses in a particular year. Those who wish to further develop their linguistic skills may choose from a range of African and Asian language courses.

In addition to their studies on the MA programme, students at SOAS have the opportunity to participate in the Regional History Seminars, as well as in a wide range of research seminars, lectures and conferences, which regularly take place in different departments and centres across the School and at other colleges of the University of London.

The programme consists of four units in total: three units of taught courses and a 10,000 word dissertation worth one unit. One of the taught courses will be recognised as the students Major course and normally the dissertation will be on a topic linked to that course. Apart from the History courses, approved courses from other departments, language courses, and in some cases intercollegiate courses are available as additional options (see lists A to D below).

The syllabus of the MA History includes the following elements:

  • Courses totalling at least two units from List A, including a half or full unit designated as the Major course;
  • Minor courses totalling one unit from Lists A [Major and minor history courses], B [Courses from other departments], C [Language courses] or D [Intercollegiate courses];
  • Dissertation in History (one unit) written in conjunction with the Major course.
  • There are five regional pathways within the MA History: Africa, East Asia, Near and Middle East, South Asia and South East Asia. To meet the pathway requirement, students must choose courses from the relevant regional section in List A to the minimum value of 1.5 units (including their Major). If you have questions about pathway requirements, please contact the programme convenor.

    Please note that not all the courses listed here will be available every year, and some new courses are likely to be added. For up-to-date information consult the Convener of the History MA programme, who will also be happy to provide more detailed information on individual courses.

    Course Options

    • Dissertation in History - 15PHIC999 (1 Unit) - Full Year
    • Dissertation in History: Africa - 15PHIC993 (1 Unit) - Full Year
    • Dissertation in History: East Asia - 15PHIC994 (1 Unit) - Full Year
    • Dissertation in History: Near and Middle East - 15PHIC995 (1 Unit) - Full Year
    • Dissertation in History: South Asia - 15PHIC996 (1 Unit) - Full Year
    • Dissertation in History: South East Asia - 15PHIC997 (1 Unit) - Full Year
    LIST A: major and minor courses Comparative/Global
    • The International History of the Contemporary World - 15PHIH021 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1 - Not Running 2012/2013
    • History of Environment and Globalisation in Asia and Africa - 15PHIH023 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
    • Warfare and the Military in African History - 15PHIC070 (1 Unit) - Full Year
    • Slavery in West Africa in the 19th and 20th Centuries - 15PHIH028 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
    • Historical Perspectives on Gender in Africa - 15PHIH029 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
    • Social and Cultural Transformations in Southern Africa Since 1945 - 15PHIH003 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
    • Colonial Conquest and Social Change in Southern Africa - 15PHIH002 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
    • Gendering African History - 15PHIH027 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1 - Not Running 2012/2013
    • Culture and Practice of Warfare in Pre-Colonial Sub-Saharan Africa - 15PHIH004 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2012/2013
    Near and Middle East
    • Origins and Development of Islam in the Middle East: Problems and Perspectives - 15PHIC040 (1 Unit) - Full Year
    • The End of Empire in the Middle East & the Balkans - 15PHIC004 (1 Unit) - Full Year
    • Envisioning the Past: Arabic Perspectives On History - 15PHIH005 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1 - Not Running 2012/2013
    • Outsiders in Medieval Middle Eastern Societies: Minorities, Social Outcasts and Foreigners - 15PHIH006 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
    • The Middle East, the Mongols and the Silk Road to China - 15PHIC067 (1 Unit) - Full Year
    South Asia
    • Modern Muslim Thinkers from South Asia - 15PSRC169 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2012/2013
    • Islam in South Asia - 15PHIC042 (1 Unit) - Full Year
    • Body, Power and Society in Early India - 15PHIC020 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2012/2013
    • Gender, law and the family in the history of modern South Asia - 15PHIH030 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
    • Problems and Debates in the Social History of Modern South Asia - 15PHIC064 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2012/2013
    • Lineages of the Medieval: Texts and Histories in the South Asian World I - 15PHIH008 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1 - Not Running 2012/2013
    • A Seascape in Transformation: Themes in Indian Ocean History - 15PHIC066 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2012/2013
    East Asia
    • Japanese Modernity I - 15PHIH013 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
    • Japanese Modernity II - 15PHIH014 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
    • Knowledge and Power in Early Modern China - 15PHIH024 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
    • Nationhood and Competing Identities in Modern China - 15PHIH022 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
    • Sex and Gender in the 20th Century: Contemporary Japan - 15PHIH010 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1 - Not Running 2012/2013
    South East Asia
    • State and Culture in Mainland South East Asia in the Sixteenth to Nineteenth Centuries - 15PHIH016 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1 - Not Running 2012/2013
    • The State and the Art: Photography and Nation Building in Burma - 15PHIH015 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1 - Not Running 2012/2013
    • Society and Politics in Late Colonial South East Asia - 15PHIC037 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2012/2013
    • World War II, Cold War, and the "War On Terror": the United States and South East Asia - 15PHIC059 (1 Unit) - Full Year
    • Histories of Ethnicity and Conflict in South East Asia I - Making States and Building Nations - 15PHIH011 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
    • Histories of Ethnicity and Conflict in South East Asia II - Non-National Perspectives - 15PHIH012 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
    • Research Methods in History With Special Reference to Asia and Africa - 15PHIC033 (1 Unit) - Full Year
    LIST B: Courses in other departments
    • Oriental religions in European academia and imagination, 1815-1945 - 15PSRC168 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2012/2013
    • Media Production Skills - 15PANH050 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
    • African Missionaries - 15PSRH043 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
    • Painting and Architecture in Christian NE Africa: 2nd - 17th Centuries - 15PARC012 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2012/2013
    • Preaching Prayer and Politics: Independent Christians in Southern Africa - 15PSRH042 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
    • International politics of Africa - 15PPOC009 (1 Unit) - Full Year
    • Government and politics in Africa - 15PPOC205 (1 Unit) - Full Year
    • State & society in Asia & Africa - 15PPOC008 (1 Unit) - Full Year
    • Culture and Society of East Africa - 15PANC084 (1 Unit) - Full Year
    • Culture and Society of West Africa - 15PANC083 (1 Unit) - Full Year
    Near and Middle East
    • Ottoman Architecture in Istanbul: 15th-19th Century - 15PARH045 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1 - Not Running 2012/2013
    • Comparative politics of the Middle East - 15PPOC026 (1 Unit) - Full Year
    • Culture and Society of the Near & Middle East - 15PANC097 (1 Unit) - Full Year
    • Modern Trends in Islam - 15PNMC228 (1 Unit) - Full Year
    • Reading Classical Arabic Historians: Themes and Trends in Islamic Historiography - 15PNMC378 (1 Unit) - Full Year
    • Israel, the Arab World and the Palestinians - 15PNMC038 (1 Unit) - Full Year
    Central Asia South Asia
    • Contemporary Islamism in South Asia: Readings in Sayyid Abu al-A'la Mawdudi - 15PSRC170 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2012/2013
    • History and Doctrines of Indian Buddhism - 15PSRC059 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2012/2013
    • The Indian Temple - 15PARC034 (1 Unit) - Full Year
    • Pakistan: History, Culture, Islam - 15PSAC288 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2012/2013
    • Modern Bengal: the Evolution of Bengali Culture and Society from 1690 to the Present Day (MA) - 15PSAC289 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2012/2013
    • Government and politics of modern South Asia - 15PPOC003 (1 Unit) - Full Year
    • Culture and Society of South Asia - 15PANC087 (1 Unit) - Full Year
    • Literature & Colonialism in North India (Masters) - 15PSAH005 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
    East Asia
    • Topics in Modern Korean History - 15PEAC059 (1 Unit) - Full Year
    • Topics in the History of Traditional Korea - 15PEAC053 (1 Unit) - Full Year
    • State and society in the Chinese political process - 15PPOC012 (1 Unit) - Full Year
    • Culture and Society of China - 15PANC089 (1 Unit) - Full Year
    • Culture and Society of Japan - 15PANC086 (1 Unit) - Full Year
    • Locating China I: China and other Worldviews before 'Westernization' - 15PSRH025 (0.5 Unit) - Not Running 2012/13
    • Locating China II: Missionaries and Misfits in the British Construction of China - 15PSRH026 (0.5 Unit) - Not Running 2012/13
    South East Asia
    • Jawi and the Malay Manuscript Tradition (Masters) - 15PSEH006 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1 - Not Running 2012/2013
    • Government and politics of modern South East Asia - 15PPOC247 (1 Unit) - Full Year
    • Culture and Society of South East Asia - 15PANC088 (1 Unit) - Full Year
    • Pre-Modern historical Texts of Java, Bali and the Malay World in English Translation (Masters) - 15PSEH007 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1 - Not Running 2012/2013
    LIST C: Language courses, minor only

    Please contact the Faculty of Languages and Cultures for more information. Note that all applicants must be able to demonstrate some prior competence in learning languages, and for certain languages other restrictions apply.

    LIST D: Intercollegiate Courses

    Because of different MA structures in other Colleges, these courses have a variety of weightings, some of which are different from those at SOAS. Students may not take courses that are lighter in weight than their SOAS equivalent. They may take courses that are heavier, provided that they appreciate that there may be a greater work load involved. The programme convenor for the MA can give further advice. The weight of the courses is shown in ECTS points (European Credit Transfer Scheme). A SOAS full unit course is 22.5 ECTS points, and a half unit course is 11.25 ECTS.

    Normally, an Upper Second Class Honours degree of a UK university, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard obtained after a course of study extending over not less than three years in a university (or educational institution of university rank), in History, or a related discipline in the Humanities or Social Sciences.English language requirementsIn order to ensure that SOAS students have a sufficient standard of English to study effectively, we require overseas students to submit evidence, during the application process, of their current level of proficiency.Score for Unconditional EntryIELTS: Overall 7+ with at least 7 in all sub scoresTOEFL: iBT105+ with at least 25 in all sub scoresPearson Test of English - Academic: Score of 75 or above with at least 70 in all sub scores English Language Requirements IELTS band: 7 TOEFL iBT® test: 105 IMPORTANT NOTE: Since April 2014 the ETS tests (including TOEFL and TOEIC) are no longer accepted for Tier 4 visa applications to the United Kingdom. The university might still accept these tests to admit you to the university, but if you require a Tier 4 visa to enter the UK and begin your degree programme, these tests will not be sufficient to obtain your Visa. The IELTS test is most widely accepted by universities and is also accepted for Tier 4 visas to the UK- learn more.

    Scholarships and Bursaries

    There are some scholarships and bursaries available for postgraduate students. These are very competitive and early application is advised.

    • The Ahmad Mustafa Abu-Hakima Bursary (programme must include studying the history of the modern Arab world)
    • AKS Postgraduate Bursary (in Korean Studies)
    • Bernard Buckman Scholarship (MA Chinese Studies, for UK/EU fee paying students)
    • The Canon Collins Scholarships at SOAS. There are two scholarships available available in 2013-14 for study at SOAS. These scholarships are for Masters study in any subject field. Open a national of and resident in one of the following countries:
      Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe. The application process normally opens in December and closes in February, for study commencing in September the following year. Please go to the Canon Collins website and click "Apply for A Scholarship" and then "Canon Collins Scholarship for Masters Study in the UK" for further information on how to apply.
    • Commonwealth Shared Scholarship (for students from African Commonwealth countries)
    • D.G.Hall Scholarship (Taught Masters programmes at SOAS, for applicants holding a Burma/Myanmar passport)
    • Felix Scholarships (for Indian students)
    • Ferguson Scholarships (for African nationals from an African Country)
    • HSBC SOAS Scholarships (MA Sinology & MA Chinese Literature, for UK/EU fee paying students)
    • Kamran Djam Scholarships (MA Iranian Studies)
    • Professor Stuart Wilson Scholarship (MA South East Asian Studies)
    • Standard Chartered Scholarships (for a range of full-time Taught Masters programmes. The programmes relate to Asia, Africa, and the Middle East/NorthAfrica)
    • Tibawi Trust Awards (for Palestinian students currently enrolled in a programme at SOAS)
    • SOAS Master's Scholarships - Faculty of Arts & Humanities - (for any full-time taught masters programme in the Faculty of Arts & Humanities)
    • SOAS Master's Scholarships - Faculty of Language & Cultures (for the full-time MA Gender Studies, MA Postcolonial Studies, MA Linguistics, MA Applied Linguistics & Language Pedagogy, MA Language, Documentation and Description, MA Translation Theory and Practice (Asian and African Languages)
    • SOAS Master's Scholarships- Faculty of Law and Social Sciences (for any full-time master's programmes in the Department of Development Studies, Economics, Law, Politics & International Studies and Financial & Management Studies)
    • Tallow Chandlers and M. W Beer scholarship (MA) (MA Anthropology of Food, for UK/EU fee paying students)
    • William Ross Murray Scholarship (LLM, for students from a developing country)
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