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Department of the History of Art and Archaeology

BA History of Art and Archaeology and...

Duration: 3 or 4 years


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Tania Tribe

Tania Tribe


2015 Entry Requirements

  • A Levels: ABB-BBB
  • IB: 33 (555 at HL)
  • 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.

Interview Policy: We welcome applications from mature candidates with relevant work experience. No particular background is expected for the programme, although for those wishing to specialise in East Asia, some knowledge of the languages of the region is an advantage.

All students take the core course Theory and Method in the study of Asian and African art in Year 1. Students on three-year degrees also take in Year 1 two of the four compulsory regional half unit courses, as do students taking four-year degree with Amharic, Arabic, Burmese, Hausa, Hebrew, Hindi, Indonesian, Korean, Swahili, Thai, Turkish or Vietnamese. Four year students for these languages will take two more Art and Archaeology units in Year 2 (and two more in Year 3 in the case of Amharic). The third year of four is spent undertaking compulsory language study abroad (except for Amharic).

Students taking Chinese, Japanese or Korean will take three language units in Year 1 and will spend the whole of Year 2 undertaking compulsory language study abroad. They will take at least two more Art and Archaeology units in each of Years 3 and 4.

In the final year, whether of three or four-year combination, students will normally take the Independent Study Project in art and archaeology.

Key Information Set Data

The information for BA, BSc, or LLB programmes refer to data taken from the single subject degrees offered at SOAS; however, due to the unique nature of our programmes many subjects have a separate set of data when they are studied alongside another discipline.  In order to get a full picture of their chosen subject(s) applicants are advised to look at both sets of information where these occur.


May be combined with

+ 4-year degree with (compulsory) one year abroad
++ 3 or 4-year degree with option of one year abroad
** Taught at King’s College London


The structure of courses reflects the importance given to conceptual and methodological clarity, and to independent interests of students. Particular importance is given to the training of the student’s visual memory through the study of slide images. Special emphasis is given to the exploration of arts and artefacts as evidence in historical, religious and cultural studies of societies and cultures.
Year 1:

Two-subject students are expected to take 2 survey courses (half-units), along with the course on theory and method, and 2 courses from their other subject.

Year 2:

Students can pursue courses of their interest, building towards a cumulative knowledge of their chosen subject/region. Two-subject degree students take 4 units in total, of which 2 must be from this department.

  • 2 Art/Archaeology option units
  • 2 units from other subject
Year 3:

The choice of courses is presumed to build upon those of the previous year. A variety of course combinations is possible: Two-subject degree students normally take 1 unit from the department’s option courses, along with the Independent Study Project.

  • 1 Art/Archaeology units
  • Independent Study Project
  • 2 units from other subject

Programme Specification

Teaching & Learning

Year abroad

A 4 year combined degree involves a year abroad

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 coursework and an unseen examination.

In the 1st year, coursework entails short, concentrated pieces of work; in the 2nd and 3rd years, coursework emphasis shifts to longer papers.

In the final year, students are required to complete an extended essay on a subject of their choice, and are also encouraged to undertake projects, supervised by members of staff, in the form of an essay-based advanced.

SOAS Library

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 degree from the department of History of Art & Archaeology provides students with a number of transferrable skills that can be applied to other types of professions.  These include: research skills; written and oral communication skills; visual awareness; and specialist subject knowledge of Asian and African art.  Former History of Art & Archaeology students have gone on to employment in a range of professional roles in business and public sectors, as well as continuing in the field of research either at SOAS or other institutions

Studying a combined honours degree gives students to blend a solid grounding in another discipline or subject area which enables them to place the knowledge they gain as part of their degree within a specific regional, cultural or disciplinary context.

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.

For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.

A Student's Perspective

When I heard about SOAS I immediately knew it was the school for me. An institution like SOAS is the ideal platform for students who want to learn a language and gain insight into a culture. It is also a leading school in Tibetan studies.

Beatriz Cifuentes