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South Asia Department

BA South Asian Studies Bengali Pathway

Overview

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2015 Entry Requirements

  • A Levels: AAB
  • A Level language preferred
  • IB: 35 (6/6/5)
  • BTEC: DDM
  • 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

Mode of Attendance: Full Time

This page describes and outlines the Bengali Language Pathway through the BA South Asian Studies (4 years) and BA South Asian Studies and... (4 years) degrees.

Bengali is not only the official language of Bangladesh, but is also one of India's major languages, spoken chiefly in the state of Bengal, as well as being a significant minority language in the UK.

The Bengali pathway is designed to give students a high level of competence in speaking, understanding, reading and writing Bengali, and a good knowledge of its cultural context. It caters to students with varying degrees of knowledge of Bengali and allows students to enter the degree with no knowledge of Bengali at all, with GCSE-level knowledge, or with A-level knowledge.  By the end of the degree, however, all students will have had a similar training. Although at beginners’ level we assume no previous knowledge of Bengali or its script, we do prefer candidates to have some record of successful language learning, for example an A-level qualification in a European language.

Students must take courses to the value of 4 units in each year of their degree.  If a student passes 4 course units in one Pathway Language then the language will be named in the degree title, i.e. BA South Asian Studies (Bengali).  Text, Directed Readings and literature courses, and an Independent Study Project in which the language is used to a large extent all count as language courses.

Students must discuss this with their undergraduate tutor at the end of year 1 or the beginning of year 2.  The specialism will be added at the award stage only, when the degree has been completed, and will not feature during application or enrolment.  As such, students should refer to the BA South Asian Studies (4 years) full and half degree pages for full and definitive outlines, structures, and lists of available courses.

Structure

For full details of course listings (Lists A, B, or C as referred to below) see the lists under "Structure" on the BA South Asian Studies (4 years) or BA South Asian Studies and... (4 years) programme pages, as appropriate.

Not all courses may run each year; students must seek advice from their undergraduate tutor before signing up for courses.

This structure indicates the expected progression for a student who begins their programme of Bengali language study without prior knowledge of the language (ab initio).  Students who arrive with some prior knowledge of Bengali will follow a modified structure, to be worked out on an individual basis.

Students may not take more than one language course at the elementary level in any given year.  Passing of the intermediate level language course (or its equivalent) in Bengali is a prerequisite for admission to the Year Abroad.

Year 1
Core Courses
for BA South Asian Studies (4 years):

- an introductory course (or half courses to the value of one unit) from List B OR a further course from List A - AND another introductory course (or half courses to the value of one unit) from List B OR an approved course in another department ("open option")

for BA South Asian Studies and... (4 years):

Two units in the other subject.

Year 2
Core Courses
Compulsory Courses
for BA South Asian Studies (4 years):

- a further course from List A or List C - AND a further course from List C OR an approved course in another department ("open option")

for BA South Asian Studies and... (4 years):

Two units in the other subject.

Year 3

Students will spend the whole academic year in Bangladesh or Bengal, where they are expected to attend an intensive language course at an appointed institution and are required to sit local examinations.

Year 4
Core Courses
Compulsory Courses
for BA South Asian Studies (4 years):

- a further language course from List A at intermediate or advanced level OR a course from List C OR an approved course in another department (open option); AND

for BA South Asian Studies and... (4 years):

Two units in the other subject.

List of optional courses

For details of courses on Lists A, B and C, refer to the "Structure" section of the BA South Asian Studies (4 years) full or half degrees, as appropriate.

Teaching & Learning

Year abroad

Students will spend the whole academic year in Bangladesh, where they are expected to attend an intensive language course at an appointed institution and are required to sit local examinations.

Teaching & Learning

We have three levels of language courses, and most of the language teaching is done in small classes and is thoroughly interactive, with students being encouraged to use their growing knowledge of Bengali from the very outset; advanced courses are largely taught in Bengali medium. Language courses are assessed by a combination of written and oral examination. The Department's core course South Asian Culture is taken in the first year, and gives a solid introduction to the broader culture of the region.

The Bengali pathway is part of a four year degree, the third year (from September to March) being spent on a Year Abroad programme in a Bengali-speaking area.

The degree offers a progression of courses in the language itself, concentrating on communication skills and using a wide range of source materials including news broadcasts, recordings, video, the internet, and much else besides.

Final-year options include an Independent Study Project, which gives the student an opportunity to use Bengali sources 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 or Bangladesh), leading to the writing of a 10,000-word dissertation under tutorial supervision; the ISP may form a bridge to link the two halves of this two-subject degree.

Destinations

As a student specialising in South Asia and Bengali, 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

The most lucrative resource has been the SOAS library which has an excellent South Asia collection. Also, the central London location of SOAS means I never really go far for anything!

Akhil Katyal