BA History of Art
Programme Code: V350 BA/HAr Duration: 3 years
2016 Entry Requirements
- A Levels: ABB-BBB
- IB: 33 (555 at HL)
- BTEC: DDM
- Access to HE: Minimum of 30 Level 3 Credits at Distinction
- Scottish Highers: AABBB
- Scottish Advanced Highers: ABB
- Irish LC: 320 points from 5 Higher level subjects at grade C1 or above
- Advanced Placement: 4 4 4 (Two semesters - UCAS Group A) plus US HSGD with GPA 3.0
- Euro Bacc: 80%
- French Bacc: 14/20
- German Abitur: 2.0
- Italy DES: 80/100
- Austria Mat: 2.0
- Polish Mat: Overall 75% including 3 extended level subjects
Minimum Entry Requirements: Mature students may be considered on the basis of alternative qualifications and experience.
This programme is an unrivalled opportunity to study the visual arts, architecture and material culture of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. In the first year, students are introduced to the art and archaeology of different regions. They also receive theoretical and methodological training to prepare them for the study of Asian and African art. In years two and three students broaden and deepen their knowledge and have the chance to specialise in particular regions or themes. An emphasis is placed on training students’ visual memory through the study of images. Students are also provided with a critical introduction to the creative and cultural industries.
The Department of the History of Art and Archaeology contains some of the world’s leading experts in Asian and African art history and archaeology, whose ground-breaking research informs and is informed by their teaching. Students benefit from the unparalleled knowledge and enthusiasm of staff. As members of the School of Arts, they profit from the insights of scholars and students studying the Music, Film and Media of Asia, Africa and the Middle East in historical and contemporary contexts. They can also select from courses in other departments, taking advantage of SOAS’s unrivalled expertise in the languages, history, religions and cultures of Asia and Africa.
A degree from the Department of the History of Art and Archaeology provides students with expertise in the History of Art and/or Archaeology of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Our graduates work in arts, culture and heritage roles, including in galleries, museums, archives, conservation, publishing and arts administration. The large portfolio of transferable skills they acquire enables them to forge careers in a range of other fields across the world. Many graduates decide to pursue postgraduate study in the History of Art and Archaeology or a related discipline.
Whether a student sits for the BA History of Art or the BA History of Art and Archaeology depends on the courses they select in their second and third years. See the ‘Structure’ tab for details. The BA History of Art and Archaeology can be combined with another subject to form a two-subject degree.
Degree programmes at SOAS - including this one - can include language courses in more than forty African and Asian languages. It is SOAS students’ command of an African or Asian language which sets SOAS apart from other universities.
The structure and contents of courses reflect the importance given to conceptual and methodological clarity, and to the independent interests of students. Particular importance is given to the training of student’s visual memory through the study of visual images.
One purpose of the introductory year is to provide a basis for the student's selection of courses in the second and third years. In the first year, students must take three compulsory first year Art and Archaeology course units, including four half-unit courses introducing the arts of Asia and Africa, and a core course unit introducing theoretical issues about how and why art and archaeology are studied and discussed. In addition, students must take a fourth ‘open option’ course unit in another department.
In the first year, students are normally required to take courses to the value of four course units as follows:
- Theory in Art History and Archaeology (core)
- Great Works: Recordings, Objects, Films (compulsory)
- Themes in the Art and Archaeology of Africa
- Themes in the Art and Archaeology of East Asia
- Themes in the Art and Archaeology of the Near and Middle East
- Themes in the Art and Archaeology of South and South East Asia
- A fourth ‘open option’ course unit (students are required to choose a fourth course unit from another department).
Students who wish to take the BA History of Art and Archaeology must in their second and third years accumulate at least four units from the courses designated as having archaeological content (selected from the list of second and year courses listed below). Other courses can be selected from the History of Art programme.
Any student who passes at least four units from the courses designated as having archaeological content will automatically be placed in the History of Art and Archaeology programme, while those who do not will be placed in the History of Art programme.
The selection of units in the third year is normally intended to develop the chosen specialisations of the second year. In addition, all third year students are encouraged to write a 10,000 word essay (on a subject of their choice) which counts as one unit.
- Theory in Art History and Archaeology - 154900190 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Great Works: recordings, objects, films - 158100003 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Themes in the Art and Archaeology of Africa - 154900155 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Themes in the Art and Archaeology of East Asia - 154900163 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Themes in the Art and Archaeology of South and Southeast Asia - 154900156 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Themes in the Art and Archaeology of the Near and Middle East - 154900101 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
Years 2 and 3
- African Art I: Context and Representation - 154900105 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- African Art II: West Africa & the Atlantic World; History, Historiography and the Visual Arts. - 154900124 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2016/2017
- African Art III: the Art and Architecture of North Eastern Africa - 154900132 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2016/2017
- Africans in the Americas: Identities and Representation - 154900166 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Art and Archaeology of Medieval China - 154900142 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Art and Archaeology of Ancient China - 154900143 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Art and Architecture of Medieval Islamic Turkey: the Slejuks and their Neighbours - 154900195 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Art and Architecture of Tibet - 154900192 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Art and Culture in Imperial China - 154900140 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Art and Culture in Modern China - 154900141 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2016/2017
- Art and empire in India 1300-1800 - 154900193 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Art and Material Culture of the Islamic World: 7th to 14th Centuries - 154900138 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2016/2017
- Arts, Culture and Commodification: Themes in the Global Creative and Cultural Industries - 158100001 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1 - Not Running 2016/2017
- Chinese Art and Modernity - 154900167 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2016/2017
- Chinese Contemporary Art - 154900174 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2016/2017
- Collecting and Collections - 154900189 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Contemporary Korean Arts in East Asia - 154900150 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Critical Readings in Arts and Cultures - 158100002 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Curating Global Arts - 158100004 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Early Indian Art - 154900184 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2016/2017
- Gandharan Art and its Heritage - 154900183 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2016/2017
- Gender, Art and Visual Culture: Explorations in the Representation of Southeast Asia - 154900181 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Global Cultures of Chinese Ceramics - 154900170 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2016/2017
- Hindu Art in Medieval India - 154900162 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1 - Not Running 2016/2017
- House and Tomb in the Muslim World - 154900186 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1 - Not Running 2016/2017
- Imag(in)ing Buddhas in South Asia (1) - 154900182 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1 - Not Running 2016/2017
- Imag(in)ing Buddhas in South Asia (2) - 158000191 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2016/2017
- Islamic Art and Architecture of Medieval Iran and Central Asia (10th-13th centuries) - 154900188 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2016/2017
- Islamic Art & Architecture of the Medieval Mediterranean (12th-15th centuries) - 154900179 (1.0 Unit)
- Islamic Urbanism: 7th - 14th century - 154900196 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Japanese Art - 154900110 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Mosaics, Manuscripts, and Wall Painting in Islamic Art - 154900134 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2016/2017
- Mosque and Palace in the Muslim World - 154900187 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2016/2017
- Museums and Museology - 154900178 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1 - Not Running 2016/2017
- Ottoman Art and Architecture (14th-17th centuries) - 154900185 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1 - Not Running 2016/2017
- Painting in Africa - 154900172 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1 - Not Running 2016/2017
- Paintings of Korea - 154900157 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2016/2017
- Representing China in Museums - 154900177 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2016/2017
- Royal Arts of Korea - 154900152 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1 - Not Running 2016/2017
- Southeast Asia in the Modern Imagination: Art, Visuality, Exchange - 154900194 (0.5 Unit) - Full Year
- The `Historical` Buddha: Explorations in Southeast Asian Arts - 154900180 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- The Visual Culture of Eighteenth-Century Japan - 154900120 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2016/2017
- Traditional Art and Modern South Asia - 154900161 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2016/2017
- Undoing Asia: Artistic Perspectives from the 20th and 21th Centuries - 154900191 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- War and Peace in the Eastern Mediterranean: Art and Architecure of Medieval Syria and Palestine - 154900197 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Independent Study Project in Archaeology - 154900169 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Independent study project in History of Art - 154900123 (1 Unit) - Full Year
Teaching & Learning
SOAS is exceptional in the regional expertise it offers with regard to languages and literatures, religious studies, history and anthropology. Students have access to an unrivalled range of art-historical and archaeological resources:
- Main Library of the School
- The Courtauld Institute
- The Institute of Archaeology
Teaching & Learning
All 1st year course units involve a weekly lecture and tutorial; in the 2nd and 3rd year, where student numbers may be lower, a seminar may replace the lecture.
For most course units, assessment involves course work and an unseen examination.
In the 1st year, course work entails short, concentrated pieces of work; in the 2nd and 3rd years, course work emphasis shifts to longer papers.
In the final year, students are normally required to complete an independent study project on a subject of their choice.
SOAS Library is one of the world's most important academic libraries for the study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, attracting scholars from all over the world. The Library houses over 1.2 million volumes, together with significant archival holdings, special collections and a growing network of electronic resources.
A BA in History of Art from SOAS gives graduates the essential skills needed to work in a range of arts related jobs such as galleries, museums, archives, conservation, publishing, arts administration, heritage management. Students also gain highly valued transferrable skills that can be applied to other types of professions. These skills include: research skills, written and oral communication skills, visual awareness and the ability to select and organise information.
Careers include employment in museums, galleries, conservation organisations, commercial galleries, auction houses and art journalism. Other areas include the heritage industry, specialist travel companies, NGOs with cultural programmes such as UNESCO, UNOP, ICOMOS and the World Monuments Fund. It also gives access to a range of jobs available for any humanities degree graduate such as teaching and the media.
For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.
How to apply
How to apply
- How to Apply
- UCAS website
- Request a prospectus
- Got a question - use our enquiry form (opens a new window)
- Funding options
- English language requirements
- Tuition Fees
- Admissions Contacts
Application Deadline: 2016-04-22 00:00
A Student's Perspective
I really wanted to study History of Art and I knew that was my calling. After research, I found out that SOAS was a prestigious school with notable alumni and also that I could study History of Art and Law as a joint degree, which is perhaps the only school in the world that offers this at the BA level.