SOAS University of London

South Asia Department

BA South Asian Studies (3 years)

3 years

Fees 2017/18

UK/EU fees:
Overseas fees:

Fees for 2017/18 entrants. The fees are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. Further details can be found in the Fees and Funding tab on this page or in the Registry Undergraduate Tuition Fees page

2017 Entry requirements

  • Languages at SOAS are taught ab initio, and no prior knowledge is required. A foreign language at A-level or equivalent is preferred but not essential.
  • Subjects Preferred: No
  • Interview Policy: Candidates with ‘non-standard’ qualifications are often invited for interview, though many applications are assessed on the basis of the UCAS forms alone.
A Levels:
A Level language desirable but not essential
35 (6/6/5)

View alternative entry requirements


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

Featured events

  • Overview
  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Fees and funding
  • Employment
  • Apply


Programme Code: T300 BA/SAS

Start of programme: September

Mode of Attendance: Full-time

The department offers the broadest range of teaching in the UK and Europe on the languages, literatures and cultures of the principal countries of South Asia: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal. The degree is centred on language study, but includes a wide range of options which allow the student to study South Asia through several different disciplines including social anthropology, art and archaeology, cinema, economics, geography, history, law, literature, music, politics and religion. The breadth of the School’s expertise on South Asia makes BA South Asian Studies unique in the UK university system.

BA South Asian Studies is a 3-year degree, and four modules are taken each year. The first year features the core module South Asian Culture, a modular module which introduces aspects of the languages and cultures of the subcontinent. This is taken alongside an introductory language module in Bengali, Hindi, Nepali, Sanskrit, or Urdu, which is also core, which in turn leads to further units in the same language and its literature in Years 2 and 3. (Gujarati, Pali, Sinhala and Tamil are also available, but in a more limited range of modules.) Not all language modules are available every year, and all modules are subject to quorum; current availability can be checked by contacting the South Asia Department. Further modules relevant to South Asia are selected from options taught in other departments. Given the range of modules available, the Department is careful to offer appropriate advice to each student in making his or her selection, in order to ensure an overall coherence of coverage.

Introductory language modules taught in Year 1 assume no previous knowledge of the chosen language or its script: they start completely from scratch. Modules in modern languages concentrate on all four linguistic skills – understanding, speaking, reading and writing; classes are small and interactive, with students being encouraged to use the language actively from the outset. Many of our introductory language modules have been written especially for our needs by members of the Department staff; and Intermediate and advanced language modules feature a wide range of ‘real world’ teaching and study materials. The formal teaching is complemented by the frequent open lectures, seminars and cultural events on South Asian themes that are held regularly in SOAS.

Final-year options include an Independent Study Project, which gives the student an opportunity to pursue a subject of personal interest (in language, literature, politics, culture, religion, the arts and media, or any other aspect of contemporary or historical India), leading to the writing of a 10,000-word dissertation under tutorial supervision.

BA South Asian Studies (3 years) can be taken as a single-subject degree, or as a two-subject degree in combination with African Studies, Development Studies, Economics, Geography, History, History of Art/Archaeology, Law, Linguistics, Music, Politics, Social Anthropology, or Study of Religions. The two-subject degree must include at least five units in South Asian Studies over the three years.

Students with a specific interest in Bengali, Hindi, Nepali, Sanskrit or Urdu may like to consider, as an alternative to 3 year programme, the 4 year full or half degree featuring these languages as a named pathway; these degrees have a more specific focus on the respective language itself and include a year abroad in South Asia.


Key Information Set Data


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 must take four module units per year, and have considerable flexibility in constructing their own programme of study. Students can choose non-language units from a range of approved South-Asia related modules from subject areas which include anthropology, art and archaeology, economics, film, geography, history, law, literature, music, politics and religion.

NB: not all modules are available every year - please check to see which modules are on offer.

Core modules must be passed in order to proceed to the following year of study.

NB: The structure for this module has changed for new students enrolling in (or after) the 2012/13 academic year.

Structure for students who enrolled in 2011/12 or before

Please see the PDF document if you enrolled in 2011/12 or earlier BA South Asian Studies (3 years) Structure (pdf; 11kb)

Structure for students who enrol in 2012/13 or after

Year 1
Core Module
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
South Asian Culture 155900812 1 Unit Full Year
Language 1 Module

Choose a language module from List A at an appropriate level. Usually Bengali/Hindi/Nepali/Sanskrit/Urdu 1 unless student has prior language knowledge.

Optional Module

Choose module to the value of 1 unit from List A or B.

Open Option

Choose modules to the value of 1 unit from List B or an Open Option.

Year 2
Core Module

Choose 1 unit from the following modules

ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
South Asian Literature in English 155900927 1 Unit Full Year
Cinema and Society in South Asia: History and Social Context 155906000 0.5 Unit Term 1
Cinema and Society in South Asia: Key Issues 155906001 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
Optional Module

Choose a language module at an appropriate level from List A or modules to the value of 1 unit from List C.

Optional Module

Choose a module from List A or List C.

Open Option

Choose a module from List C or an Open Option module.

Year 3
Optional Module

Students are encouraged to undertake the following ISP

ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Independent Study Project in South Asian Studies 155900955 1 Unit Full Year
Optional Module

Choose a module at an intermediate or advanced level from List A or a module from List C.

Optional Module

Choose a module from List C.

Open Option

Choose a module from List C or an Open Option module.

List A: South Asian Language Modules

The list below indicates the pathway along which students can progress as they do their South Asian language modules. Students may not take more than one language module at elementary level in any given year.

Elementary Level
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Bengali Language 1 155900491 1 Unit Full Year
Hindi Language 1 155900501 1 Unit Full Year
Nepali Language I 155900535 1 Unit Full Year
Sanskrit Language 1 155901303 1 Unit Full Year
Urdu Language 1 155900512 1 Unit Full Year
Basic Pali 158000200 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Introduction to Prakrit 155901323 0.5 Unit Term 1
Elementary Written Persian 155901053 1 Unit Full Year
Intermediate Level
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Bengali Language 2 155900492 1 Unit Full Year
Hindi Language 2 155901183 1 Unit Full Year
Nepali Language 2 155900609 1 Unit Full Year
Sanskrit Language 2 155901304 1 Unit Full Year
Urdu Language 2 155900513 1 Unit Full Year
Urdu Literacy 155901247 1 Unit Full Year
Intermediate Pali 158000124 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Readings in Prakrit 155901324 0.5 Unit Term 2
Readings in Contemporary Hindi 155901185 1 Unit Full Year
Advanced Level
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Directed Readings in a South Asian Literature or Culture (Bengali) 155901298 0.5 Unit Term 1 Not Running 2016/2017
Hindi Language 3 155901269 1 Unit Full Year
Hindi Language 4 155901384 1 Unit Full Year
Literature & Colonialism in North India 155901295 0.5 Unit Term 1
Narratives of Mobility in Contemporary Hindi Literature 155901296 0.5 Unit Term 2
Directed Readings in a South Asian Literature or Culture (Hindi) 155901299 0.5 Unit Term 1 Not Running 2016/2017
Nepali Language 3 155901283 1 Unit Full Year
Directed Readings in South Asian Literature or Culture (Nepali) 155901300 0.5 Unit Term 1 Not Running 2016/2017
Sanskrit Texts on Yoga 155901408 1 Unit Full Year
Classical Sanskrit Court Literature I 155900860 1 Unit Full Year
Selected Texts from the Sanskrit Epic 155900787 1 Unit Full Year
Vedic Sanskrit 158000128 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Directed Readings in Sanskrit 155901302 0.5 Unit Term 1 Not Running 2016/2017
Directed Readings in a South Asian Literature or Culture (Urdu) 155901301 0.5 Unit Term 1
List B: Introductory Module on Aspects of South Asian History and Culture
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Buddhism: Foundation 158000110 0.5 Unit Term 1
Hinduism: Foundation 158000118 0.5 Unit Term 2
Introduction to Jainism 158000053 1 Unit Full Year
H140 Introduction to the History of South Asia 154800231 1 Unit Full Year
Themes in the Art and Archaeology of South and Southeast Asia 154900156 0.5 Unit Term 1
List C: Non-Language Based South Asian and South Asian-Related Modules

Some modules require successful attendance of a relevant introductory module; students are advised to check the relevant module descriptions for prerequisites and consult the relevant module tutor before selecting units.

Centre for Film Studies
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Queer Cinema in Asia 155907000 0.5 Unit Term 2
Department of the Languages and Cultures of South Asia
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Imagining Pakistan: literature, nation, gender 155901391 1 Unit Full Year
Society, Culture and Politics in Nepal 155901305 1 Unit Full Year
South Asian Literature in English 155900927 1 Unit Full Year
Extended Essay in South Asian Studies 155901101 0.5 Unit Term 1
School of Law
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Law and Society in South Asia 155200032 1 Unit Full Year
Law, Multiculturalism and Rights 155200064 1 Unit
Department of Politics and International Studies
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Government and politics of South Asia 153400020 1 Unit Full Year
Department of History
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
H235 Gandhi and Gandhiism 154800103 1 Unit Full Year
H234 Culture and Identity in Modern South Asia 1800-2000 154800264 1 Unit Full Year
H337 Histories of Partition: India and Pakistan 1947 (I) 154800282 1 Unit Full Year
H434 Religion, State And Society In Mughal North India I 154800238 1.0 Unit - Not Running 2016/17
Department of Art and Archaeology
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Traditional Art and Modern South Asia 154900161 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
Hindu Art in Medieval India 154900162 0.5 Unit Term 1 Not Running 2016/2017
Department of the Study of Religions
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Religious Philosophies of Ancient and Medieval India 158000123 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Textual Sources of Classical Hinduism 158000023 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Department of Economics
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Economic development of South Asia 153400011 1 Unit Full Year

Programme Specification


Teaching and Learning

Year abroad


Teaching & Learning

Teaching and Assessment

Language teaching is mostly in small tutorial groups; tapes and language laboratory facilities are available for formal teaching and self-study. Non-language units are taught by lecture and seminar. Language classes are examined by written and oral examination; non-language classes are examined by essays and written examination.

Special Features

SOAS library, the national library for Asian and African materials, is one of the world’s major collections of information in the field of South Asian studies.

Pre Entry Reading

  • G.A. Zograph The Languages of South Asia: a guide London 1981
  • C. Shackle, ed., South Asian Languages: a handbook London 1985
  • The Cambridge Encyclopedia of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives, Cambridge 1989

Fees and funding

Tuition Fees

Full details of undergraduate tuition fees can be found on the Registry's Undergraduate Tuition Fees page.

Fees for 2017/18 entrants. The fees below are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. 

BA, BSc, LLB £9,250 £16,575
BA/BSc Language Year Abroad £1,387.50 £8,288
Undergraduate Research Awards

Application Deadline: 2017-04-17 00:00

For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section


As a student specialising in South Asia, 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 South Asia.

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 have had the chance to read the most up to date, often controversial and revealing perspectives on South Asia, presented by leading academics who will often actually be members of the South Asia Department Faculty itself. My choice to study at SOAS was the best decision I ever made; being a student here is an exciting and unique experience.

Mikaela Parrack


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