MSc Asian Politics
Duration: One calendar year (full-time); Two or three years (part-time, daytime only)
Minimum Entry Requirements: The qualification for entry is normally a first or upper-second class honours degree (or equivalent) in Politics or International Relations, or a related social science discipline. Applicants without such a background may be considered for admission depending on their academic training and undergraduate performance.
Start of programme: September intake onlyContaining 60 percent of the world’s population, Asia is the setting for many of the most important political issues in the world today. These issues include the rise of China and India, economic dynamism of the Asian-Pacific area, regional integration (ASEAN, SAARC, Shanghai Cooperation Organization), security hotspots (Korean Peninsula, Taiwan Straits, India-Pakistan, the ‘global war on terror’), democratic transition and consolidation, the survival of non-democratic regimes, and identity conflicts of ethnicity, religion and language. To understand these and other political processes, this MSc programme draws upon the concepts and methods of the sub-disciplines of comparative politics (political sociology and political economy) and international relations. The evidence from Asia will also reveal the relevance and limitations of the concepts and methods derived from North American/European settings and suggest ways in which they may be modified. The expertise available in the Department enables students to concentrate on one of the sub-regions of Asia, (East Asia. South Asia, Southeast Asia and Central Asia) should they choose to do so. Alternatively, they may follow a more comparative approach by selecting a mixture of units covering different sub-regions.
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 taught courses to the value of 3 full units + dissertation:
1. ONE unit from A (compulsory);
2-3. TWO units from B, C or D;
4. Dissertation on some aspect of Asian Politics (compulsory).
Nb. Students on this programme may only take ONE China-focused unit: 15PPOC012, 15PPOC018 OR 15PPOC252
A. ONE of the following Regional Politics Courses:
- Government and politics of modern South Asia - 15PPOC003 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Government and politics of modern South East Asia - 15PPOC247 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- State and Society in Central Asia and the Caucasus - 15PPOH022 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Geopolitics and Security in Central Asia and the Caucasus - 15PPOH023 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Northeast Asian politics: Japan, Korea and Taiwan - 15PPOC253 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- State and society in the Chinese political process - 15PPOC012 (1 Unit) - Full Year
B. ONE or TWO of the following Regional Politics Courses:
- China and international politics - 15PPOC018 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Taiwan's politics and cross-strait relations - 15PPOC252 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- International politics of East Asia - 15PPOC251 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Japan Unravelled - 15PPOH033 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running
- The Indian Ocean in World Politics - 15PPOH032 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
C. ONE of the following Disciplinary Politics Courses:
- State and development in Asia and Africa - 15PPOC017 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- State & society in Asia & Africa - 15PPOC008 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Queer Politics in Asia, Africa and the Middle East - 15PPOH020 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Comparative International Political Thought - 15PPOH021 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Geopolitics: Space and Power - Not Running 2014/15 - 15PPOH025 (0.5 Unit) - Not Running 2015/16
- Political Thought on the Just Rebellion - 15PPOH030 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Islamic/Democratic Political Thought - 15PPOC255 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- International Political Economy - 15PPOH031 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Approaches to Comparative Political Thought - 15PPOH028 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Introduction to Quantitative Methods in Social Research - 15PPOH035 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
D. ONE of the following Courses focussed on Asia in a Cognate Discipline:
- Modern Chinese Law and Institutions - 15PLAC139 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Culture and Conflict in the Himalaya - 15PSAC291 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- The economic development of South East Asia - 15PECC004 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2015/2016
- Economic problems and policies in modern China - 15PECC035 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2015/2016
- Islam in South Asia - 15PHIC042 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2015/2016
- Japanese Modernity I - 15PHIH013 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Japanese Modernity II - 15PHIH014 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Colonialism and Nationalism in South Asia - 15PHIC071 (1 Unit) - Full Year
(Students wishing to take 15PHIH013 must also take 15PHIH014)
Language courses: students should chose the language they wish to take from the list below. They should then make contact with the relevant Course Convenor during welcome week who will assess which level of course would be appropriate, and will advise re. changing course enrolments if necessary.
- Elementary Spoken Cantonese (PG) - 15PCHC006 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Elementary spoken Hokkien (Minnanyu, Taiwanese) (PG) - 15PCHC007 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Special Course in Chinese 1 (PG) - 15PCHC008 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Intensive Elementary Tibetan (PG) - 15PCHC018 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Basic Japanese 1 (PG) - 15PJKC008 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Elementary Korean (PG) - 15PJKC015 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2015/2016
- Bengali Language 1 (PG) - 15PSAC303 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Hindi Language 1 (PG) - 15PSAC295 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Nepali Language 1 (PG) - 15PSAC298 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Sinhala Language 1 (PG) - 15PSAC310 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2015/2016
- Tamil Language 1 (PG) - 15PSAC311 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2015/2016
- Urdu Language 1 (PG) - 15PSAC300 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Burmese Language 1 (PG) - 15PSEC039 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Indonesian Language 1 (PG) - 15PSEC032 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Khmer (Cambodian) Language 1 (PG) - 15PSEC043 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Thai Language 1 (PG) - 15PSEC040 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Vietnamese Language 1 (PG) - 15PSEC036 (1 Unit) - Full Year
This would focus on some aspect of Asian Politics.
- Dissertation in Political Studies - 15PPOC999 (1 Unit) - Full Year
Teaching & Learning
Teaching & Learning
Courses are taught by a combination of methods, principally lectures, tutorial classes, seminars and supervised individual study projects.
The MSc programme consists of three taught courses (corresponding to three examination papers) and a dissertation.
Most courses involve a 50-minute lecture as a key component with linked tutorial classes.
At Masters level there is particular emphasis on seminar work. Students make full-scale presentations for each unit that they take, and are expected to write papers that often require significant independent work.
A quarter of the work for the degree is given over to the writing of an adequately researched 10,000-word dissertation. Students are encouraged to take up topics which relate the study of a particular region to a body of theory.
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.
How to apply
How to apply
- How to Apply
- Online Application
- 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: 2015-03-20 17:00
Application Deadline: 2015-02-27 17:00
Application Deadline: 2015-05-01 17:00
A Student's Perspective
Tamara Bah, American University, Washington
Before I came to SOAS, I knew that my grade would depend on either one or two large assignments and I was apprehensive about that—almost scared, however I am glad as I got to learn a lot about myself as a student. I became more independent academically and got to see what I can really accomplished without teachers “coddling” me along the way. Extremely refreshing!