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The Alphawood Scholarships at SOAS

Deadline: 18 December 2014
Borobudur, Java, Indonesia ©Pia Conti

The Alphawood Scholarships are part of the £15 million Southeast Asian Art Academic Programme at SOAS, University of London, which has been funded by Alphawood Foundation, Chicago. The aim of the academic programme is to advance the understanding and preservation of Buddhist and Hindu art in Southeast Asia through study and research, and to build and support a network of organisations and individuals in the Southeast Asian region who share and support this vision.

It is intended that the greatest impact of the scholarship programme will be felt in the Southeast Asian region. The scholarships panel will therefore look to make awards to students who intend to support the aims of the programme through teaching, further study or any other relevant activity in the region. The cohort of Alphawood Scholarship students will use their learning, skills and talents in galleries, museums, heritage organisations, universities, government departments and other institutions in the Southeast Asia region, particularly in the countries of Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar/Burma, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam where Buddhist and Hindu art is prevalent. Over the five years of the scholarship programme students and alumni will make a significant and positive impact on the understanding and preservation of art and architecture in the region.

The Alphawood Scholarship will cover tuition fees in full, and a generous maintenance allowance towards the costs of living and studying in central London, as well as flights to and from the UK at the start and end of  the course. Visa costs will also be covered. The maintenance allowance will be provided in line with the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) guidelines for London (Doctoral) and will be calculated pro-rata for programmes of less than a year. It is expected to cover the cost of accommodation.

The purpose of the scholarships programme is capacity building therefore support will be available to successful candidates who require extra English language or academic preparation courses at SOAS before they start their course. Requirements will be assessed on an individual basis after the scholarships have been awarded and will be based on the candidates existing English language abilities.

1. Candidate Eligibility Criteria                             

To be eligible for these scholarships you should:

  • Normally be resident in one of the following countries: Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar/Burma, Singapore, Thailand or Vietnam. Applications will be considered from candidates who are not normally resident in these countries as long as you can show your intention and capacity to return or relocate to the region to pursue teaching or further study or otherwise intend to make a positive impact in the Southeast Asian region.
  • Demonstrate your interest in Southeast Asian art, particularly Buddhist or Hindu art, and your intention to pursue teaching, further study or otherwise make a positive impact on the preservation or advancement of Southeast Asian art in the region after your studies at SOAS. When applying for your course please include evidence of this in your personal statement.
  • MA applicants only: write your dissertation on a theme connected with Southeast Asian art. When applying for your course please include evidence of this in your personal statement.

To be considered for the scholarship you must have received an offer for your course before the scholarships are awarded in March 2015.

2. Eligible Course of Study 

Alphawood Scholarships are available for a range of taught courses and research courses at SOAS.

Postgraduate Taught Courses

Scholarships will be available for students of the following programmes within the School of Arts:

Postgraduate Certificates and Diplomas:

  • Postgraduate Asian Art Course Certificate (all modules are eligible, however please note that the SEA module runs every other year and does not run in 2016).
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art (a combination of three modules from the Diploma, must include the Southeast Asian art module).

Modules start September 2015, January 2016 and April 2016. Each module is assessed by two essays and an exam. Applicants must have a BA or BSc to be eligible and can already hold an MA.

Taught Master’s (MA) Programmes:

  • MA Arts of Asia and Africa
  • MA Contemporary Art and Art Theory of Asia and Africa
  • MA History of Art and/or Archaeology
  • MA Religious Arts of Asia

In addition, the scholarships are open to those taking the following MA programmes where the major course relates to Southeast Asian art:

  • MA South East Asian Studies
  • MA Pacific Asian Studies

The MA is made up of 3 taught course units and a compulsory one unit dissertation. The 3 units may be made up any combination of full units or half units. Each course is assessed by written work and presentations. There are no exams. The dissertation of 10,000 words will be submitted in September 2016. Students must have a BA or BSc and in many cases a previous MA is desirable.

Postgraduate Research

The scholarships are open to full-time MPhil/PhD applicants whose thesis topic focuses on Southeast Asian art.

For applicants considering possible MPhil/PhD study taking an MA at SOAS is very strongly recommended to adjust to the UK system and develop a strong proposal that may form the basis of the MPhil/PhD application the following year.

3. English Language Requirements

Please note that successful candidates will be asked to provide approved English Language test results (IELTS or Pearson) to demonstrate that they hold the minimum UK Borders Agency requirement to obtain a Tier 4 (General) Student visa.

Successful candidates may be offered support to ensure that they reach the minimum English language requirements set by SOAS to study at Postgraduate level. These are the Presessional English language courses and the English Language for Academic Study course (ELAS), both are held at IFCELS Department at SOAS (International Foundation Courses and English Language Studies). The minimum English language level to join a programme at IFCELS is IELTS 4.5 (with 4.5 in writing) or PTE 41 (with 41 in writing).

The candidates requirements will be assessed on an individual basis after the scholarships have been awarded and will be based on the candidates existing English language abilities.

4. Candidate Assessment

Candidates will be assessed:

  • By a Selection Panel comprising four academic members of staff.
  • On academic merit and promise. Financial need may also be taken into consideration.
  • On past experience in the field of Southeast Asian art, as well as the candidate’s intention to make a significant impact on the preservation and advancement of the field.

Academic references, transcripts and statements, and other relevant information in your application will be considered to assess the above criteria.

5. Scholarship Application Deadline

You must submit a complete online application to your course and then submit an application to the scholarship. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.

Both applications must be received no later than 18th December 2015 at 1pm (UK local time).

6. Scholarship Application Process

There are 2 steps to the application process.

STEP 1 Apply for your course:

STEP 2 Apply for an Alphawood Scholarship:

Once you have submitted an application for your course you can apply for the Alphawood Scholarship via this link to the on-line scholarship application.

7. Notification of Results

Successful candidates will be notified in February 2016. If you have not heard from us by the 27th February 2016 you should assume that your application was unsuccessful.  

Successful candidates will be asked to provide evidence of their English language test results by 20th April 2016.

For enquiries about the Alphawood Scholarship application process please contact:

Email: scholarships@soas.ac.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7074 5094/5091

For more information about the Southeast Asian Art Academic Programme please contact:

Email: simone.green@soas.ac.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7898 4025