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MA Arts of Asia and Africa

Overview

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Minimum Entry Requirements: The normal qualification for admission to the MA programme is an upper second class honours degree. Other qualifications, however, may be acceptable and the School of Arts welcomes mature students. Students taking the MA degree may or may not have previous experience of our subjects. While knowledge of a relevant Asian or African language is not a requirement, for some courses it is an advantage for admission (see individual course descriptions for details). It is possible to include an element of language training within the MA programme by taking an Asian or African language as one of the two ‘minor’ courses. This option may be particularly desirable for those intending to progress to the PhD, who do not already have the necessary language skills.

Start of programme: September intake only

Mode of Attendance: Full Time or Part Time

Introduction

This programme draws upon the strength of the School of Arts as a centre for the study of the art, music and media of Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and their global diasporas. Students select courses from across the school, developing a cross-discipline understanding of the arts, broadly conceived. They have the option of specialising in a particular interdisciplinary field, such as popular music and film in the Middle East; art, archaeology and music of the Silk Road; or music, media and development in Africa.

The School of Arts is a unique concentration of experts in the art, music and media of the non-Western world, unsurpassed in scale and reach by any other institution worldwide. Students benefit from the unparalleled knowledge and enthusiasm of staff whose work combines disciplinary rigour and innovative interdisciplinary exchange. Teaching is consistently informed by and contributes to the research of members of staff. Students can select from courses in other departments, taking advantage of SOAS’s unrivalled expertise in the languages, history, religions and cultures of Asia and Africa.

The MA Arts of Asia and Africa provides students with linguistic and cultural expertise, and a large portfolio of transferable skills. Postgraduates progress to work in arts, culture and heritage roles, including employment in museums, galleries and the creative and cultural industries. The transferable skills that they acquire enable them to forge careers in a range of other fields across the world. The programme is also an excellent foundation for MPhil/PhD research.

Structure

Students must take one course from at least two of the constituent parts of the School of Arts - History of Art and Archaeology, Media and Music - and will write a supervised dissertation on a relevant topic.

Students may be allowed to study for the MA on a part-time basis. The part-time MA may be taken over two years, in which case the student takes two taught courses in the first year, and one taught course and the dissertation in the second. Alternatively, it can be taken over three years, in which case the student takes one taught course in each year. The dissertation can be written in any year, but it is strongly recommended that it be undertaken in the final year of the programme. It must be submitted in September of the year in which the student registers for it.

The following is a complete list of courses in the programme, not all of which are offered in any single year.

Teaching & Learning

Teaching & Learning

Teaching

Teaching consists of a combination of lectures and seminars. Classes are normally between two and three hours per week for each course. Teaching methods include lectures with discussion and seminars at which students present papers. Students are expected to take an active part in class presentations. 

In addition to their studies on the MA programme, students at SOAS can participate in a wide range of research seminars, lectures and conferences that regularly take place in the School of Arts, SOAS and the University of London.

Assessment

Assessment is by course work and there are no exams, although certain courses may include an unseen element. For example, History of Art and Archaeology courses often have a ‘slide test’ (i.e. visual analysis of images presented under exam conditions), held in class time. For a half unit, the assessment norm is one essay of up to 5,000 words. Students will write a supervised dissertation on a relevant topic

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.

Destinations

The MA Arts of Asia and Africa provides students with linguistic and cultural expertise, and a large portfolio of transferable skills. Postgraduates progress to work in arts, culture and heritage roles, including employment in museums, galleries and the creative and cultural industries. The transferable skills that they acquire enable them to forge careers in a range of other fields across the world. The programme is also an excellent foundation for MPhil/PhD research.

A Student's Perspective

The insight provided, knowledge delivered and understanding transmitted during lectures, seminars and conferences at SOAS is impressive and requires real personal involvement in the topics.

Xavier Fournier