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Department of the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East

BA Islamic Studies

Programme Code: T601 BA/IS Duration: 3 years


2016 Entry Requirements

  • A Levels: AAB - ABB
  • A Level language preferred
  • IB: 35 (6/6/5)
  • Access to HE: Minimum of 30 Level 3 Credits at Distinction
  • Scottish Highers: AAABB
  • Scottish Advanced Highers: AAB
  • Irish LC: 340 points from 5 Higher level subjects at grade C1 or above
  • Advanced Placement: 4 4 5 (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

Interview Policy: Candidates with "non-standard" qualifications may be invited for interview

Start of programme: This programme will be phased out from 2016-17. Applicants interested in this topic should apply to BA Arabic and Islamic Studies

Mode of Attendance: Full-time

The BA in Islamic Studies provides students with knowledge and understanding of the core textual tradition of Islam, and through this engages with religious, philosophical and wider intellectual discourses of Islam.  Texts will be studied in English translation, but students also receive some grounding in Arabic or another language widely used in Islamic societies.  Special modules in Qur'an Arabic, ranging from elementary to advanced levels, are also available.  Through optional modules, students will be able to access SOAS's unrivalled scholarship and teaching concerned with Islamic art, music, culture, history and politics.


Learn a language as part of this programme

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.

Students take four module units per year, consisting of thematic and language modules, as well as optional modules which allow students to develop specific interests.  In addition to a language module in Arabic in Year 1 (Elementary Qur'anic Arabic is recommended), students can choose language modules from a wide range of languages relevant to the study of Islam including Indonesian, Urdu, Bengali, Somali, Swahili and Hausa.

Core Module: this means this unit must be passed before progression to the following year.
Compulsory Module: this means this unit must be completed before progression to the following year.

Year 1
Core Module
Compulsory Module
Compulsory Language Module

Students choose an Arabic language unit at a suitable level. Qur'anic Arabic is recommended. See the language options list below.

Open Option

Choose a module from the list below or an open option.

Year 2
Core Module
Compulsory Module
Optional Module

Choose a module from the list below.

Open Option

Choose a module from the list below or an open option.

Year 3
Compulsory Modules
Optional Module

Choose a module from the list below.

Open Option

Choose a module from the list below or an open option.

Language Options
Near and Middle East
South Asia

A language unit in Urdu, Bengali or Tamil at a suitable level. A suitable course on Indian or Pakistan culture is also an option.


A language unit in Hausa, Somali, Swahili or Yoruba at a suitable level.

South East Asia

An Indonesian language unit at a suitable level or one of the courses from the following list. Note: There are prerequisites for Traditional Malay Literature: Adventure Romances in Text and Film AND Traditional Malay Literature: History, Politics And Religion In Texts And Film.

China and Inner Asia

A Chinese language unit taken at a suitable level.

Faculty of Arts and Humanities

Before selecting a module course, student's must first check that the module is at the correct level. They must also ensure that they meet any pre-requisites.

Study of Religions
Faculty of Law and Social Sciences

Before selecting a course, student's must first check that the course is at the correct level.


Students wishing to take Politics options have to take 153400001: Introduction to Political Study as an open option before taking any Politics options (it is a prerequisite for all Politics options).

Programme Specification


Teaching & Learning


As a student specialising in Islamic Studies, you will gain competency in language skills and intercultural awareness and understanding. Familiarity with the region will have been developed through a combination of the study of language, literature and culture (which can include literature, film, music, art and religion) of various parts of the Middle East.

Graduates leave SOAS not only with linguistic and cultural expertise, but also with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek in many professional and management careers in both business and the public sector. These include 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.

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

A Student's Perspective

I found my courses always challenging and intellectually stimulating, the lecturers first-rate and unceasing in their willingness to give their time and assistance, a library with a wonderful collection covering my research area.

Samuel Southgate