SOAS University of London

Centre for Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies (CCLPS)

MA Comparative Literature (Africa / Asia)

One calendar year (full-time). Two or three years (part-time, daytime only) We recommend that part-time students have between two-and-a-half and three days a week free to pursue their course of study.

Fees 2016/17

UK/EU fees:
Overseas fees:

This is a Band 1 fee. The fees are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. Further details can be found in the Fees and Funding tab on this page or in the Registry Postgraduate Tuition Fees page

2017 Entry requirements

  • Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent)

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Start of programme: September intake only

Mode of Attendance: Full Time or Part Time

The opportunity to move from the familiar Euro-American literary canons into the fresh but less well known worlds of African and Asian literature is what attracts most students to this popular MA.

At SOAS, students benefit from the unique expertise in this vast field possessed by the school’s faculty.

This expertise is available to students interested in studying these literatures through English - including both original English language literatures of Africa and Asia and literature written in African and Asian languages presented through English translations.

While exploring new horizons and breaking out of the Euro-centric space in which comparative literature has developed so far, the course covers the major theoretical contributions made by Western scholars.

In doing so, it constructs a unique multi-cultural domain for the study of literature and its location in culture and society.

A prior knowledge of an African or Asian language is not a requirement for admission to this degree.



All students are required to take the core course in their first year. Two other courses, one major, one minor, plus a dissertation of 10,000 words must also be completed.
Core Module
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Theory and techniques of Comparative Literature 15PCSC002 1 Unit Full Year
English Based Options
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Arabic Women's Writing: Theories and Practices 15PNMC411 1 Unit Full Year
Years of Radical change: South Korean cinema from the 'New Wave' to the new millenium 15PJKH009 0.5 Unit Term 1
Japanese Traditional Drama (Masters) 15PEAH013 0.5 Unit Term 1
Modern Japanese Literature (Masters) 15PEAH012 0.5 Unit Term 2
Modern Chinese Literature in Translation 15PCHC002 1 Unit Full Year
Modern Chinese Film and Theatre (MA) 15PCHH001 0.5 Unit Term 1
Modern Film from Taiwan and the Chinese Diaspora 15PCHH002 0.5 Unit Term 2
Traditional Chinese Literature in Translation 15PCHC004 1 Unit Full Year
Literatures in African languages 15PAFC124 1 Unit Full Year
Travelling Africa: Writing the Cape to Cairo 15PAFC139 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
The Story of African Film: Narrative Screen Media in Africa 15PAFH006 0.5 Unit Term 1
Aspects of African film and video 2 15PAFH007 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
Realism and Magical Realism in the Afrophone Novel (PG) 15PAFC146 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Literary Traditions and Culture of Korea (Masters) 15PJKH005 0.5 Unit Term 1
Trajectories of Modernity in 20th Century Korean Literature (Masters) 15PJKH006 0.5 Unit Term 2
Literatures of South Asia 15PSAC284 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
English Literatures of South East Asia 15PSEH013 0.5 Unit Term 1
Postcolonial Theory and Practice 15PCSC003 1 Unit Full Year
Post-crisis Thai Cinema (1997-2007) 15PSEH008 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
Under Western Eyes: European Writings on South East Asia (PG) 15PSEH017 0.5 Unit Term 2
War, Revolution and Independence in South East Asia Literatures in Translation (Masters) 15PSEH009 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
Genders and Sexualities in South East Asian Film 15PSEH011 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
Modern Arabic Literature and the West 15PNMC002 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Culture, Society and Politics in Classical Arabic Literature 15PNMC426 1 Unit Full Year
Japanese Transnational Cinema: From Kurosawa to Asia Extreme and Studio Ghibli 15PJKH007 0.5 Unit Term 1
Japanese Post-War Film Genres and the Avant-Garde 15PJKH008 0.5 Unit Term 2
Indian Cinema: Its History and Social Context 15PSAH001 0.5 Unit Term 1
Indian Cinema: Key Issues 15PSAH002 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
Research Methods In Translation Studies 15PLIH046 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
Translating Cultures 15PJKC029 1 Unit Full Year
Turkey:Continuity and Change 15PNMC377 1 Unit Full Year
Language Based Options:
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Readings in Korean Literature (Masters) 15PJKC016 1 Unit Full Year
Social and Political Trends in 19th Century Turkish Literature 15PNMC373 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Selected Topics in 20th Century Turkish Literature 15PNMC374 1 Unit Full Year
Social and Political Dimensions of Modern Arabic Literature 15PNMC347 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Modern Palestinian Literature (PG) 15PNMC379 1 Unit Full Year
Sanskrit Literature 15PSAC003 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Directed Readings in the Literature of a Modern South Asian Language 15PSAC016 1 Unit Full Year
Directed Readings in a South East Asian Language 15PSEH016 0.5 Unit Term 1
Literature & Colonialism in North India 155901295 0.5 Unit Term 1
Narratives of Mobility in Contemporary Hindi Literature (Masters) 15PSAH006 0.5 Unit Term 2
Identity and Language in Hebrew Literature 15PNMC412 1 Unit Full Year

Programme Specification


Teaching and Learning

Year abroad


Teaching & Learning

The taught part of the programme consists of core lectures introducing basic concepts, theory and methodology; and additional seminars that extend the core material into other areas. At Masters level there is particular emphasis on seminar work where students may be expected to make full-scale presentations for units they take.

A 10,000-word dissertation written over the summer offers students the opportunity to develop original research in an area of special interest.

Learning Resources

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.

Fees and funding

Tuition Fees

Full details of postgraduate tuition fees can be found on the Registry's Postgraduate Tuition Fees page.

This is a Band 1 tuition fee.

The fees below are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. 

Full-timePart-time 2 YearsPart-time 3 Years
£7,985 £17,215 £3,993 £8,608 £2,662 £5,738
Felix Non- Indian Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2016-02-12 00:00

Felix Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2016-01-29 17:00

Santander Taught Master’s Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2016-02-24 17:00

Sasakawa Postgraduate Studentship

Application Deadline: 2016-02-22 17:00

The Prospect Burma - Hla Pe Memorial Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2016-02-24 17:00

For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section


A postgraduate degree in Comparative Literature (Africa/Asia) provides students with competency in language skills and intercultural awareness and understanding.  Familiarity with the selected region will have been developed through a combination of the study of it's literature and exploration of contemporary literary theories. Some graduates leave SOAS to pursue careers directly related to their study area, while others have made use of the intellectual training for involvement in analysing and solving many of the problems that contemporary societies now face.  

Postgraduate students gain linguistic and cultural expertise enabling them to continue in the field of research or to seek professional and management careers in the business, public and charity sectors. They leave SOAS with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek, including written and oral communication skills; attention to detail; analytical and problem solving skills; and the ability to research, amass and order information from a variety of sources.  A postgraduate degree is a valuable experience that provides students with a body of work and a diverse range of skills that they can use to market themselves with when they graduate.

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

A Student's Perspective

This course has challenged me to question my preconceived notions of binaries and absolutes, allowing me to develop a more nuanced interpretation of different literary traditions

Sheena Yingling Kang


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