[skip to content]

Department of Politics and International Studies

MSc Asian Politics

Duration: One calendar year (full-time); Two or three years (part-time, daytime only)

Overview

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 only

Containing 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.

Structure

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 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:
B. ONE or TWO of the following Regional Politics Courses:
C. ONE of the following Disciplinary Politics Courses:
D. ONE of the following Courses focussed on Asia in a Cognate Discipline:
(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.
E. Dissertation:

This would focus on some aspect of Asian Politics.

Programme Specification

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.

Lectures

Most courses involve a 50-minute lecture as a key component with linked tutorial classes.

Seminars

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.

Dissertation

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.

Learning Resources

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 Student's Perspective

It is truly an international place where you meet people from all around the world, practice foreign languages and broaden your knowledge and perspective on life.

Inger Lise Ellingsen, University of Oslo