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South Asia Department

BA South Asian Studies Hindi Pathway


2016 Entry Requirements

  • A Levels: AAB - ABB
  • A Level language preferred
  • IB: 35 (6/6/5)
  • 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 Hindi Language Pathway through the BA South Asian Studies (4 years) and BA South Asian Studies and... (4 years) degrees.

Hindi is the official language of India and is spoken across the northern states from Rajasthan in the west to Bihar in the east, and from Himachal in the north to Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh towards the south. It is very closely related to Urdu, and somewhat less closely to neighbouring languages such as Punjabi, Gujarati, Bengali and Nepali with which it shares the inheritance of Sanskrit.

Hindi is the first language of several hundred million speakers, and the second language of many more; it has a rich modern literature, while its regional dialects such as Braj Bhasha and Awadhi are the historical vehicle for religious and court poetry of the medieval period.

The Hindi pathway is designed to give students a high level of competence in speaking, understanding, reading and writing Hindi, and a good knowledge of its cultural context. It assumes no previous knowledge of Hindi or its script, though we do prefer candidates to have some record of successful language-learning, for example an A-level qualification in a European language. Students with previous knowledge of Hindi will be accommodated in a higher level module.

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

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 modules.

Please see the Unistats data for the various combinations of this programme under the Combinations tab.


For full details of module 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 modules may run each year; students must seek advice from their undergraduate tutor before signing up for modules.

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

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

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

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

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

Two units in the other subject.

Year 2
Core Modules
Compulsory Module

Students should take modules to the value of 1 unit in the combinations given below

for BA South Asian Studies (4 years):

- a further module from List A or List C - AND a further module from List C OR an approved module 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 India, where they are expected to attend an intensive language module at an appointed institution and are required to sit local examinations.

Year 4
Core Modules
Compulsory Module

Students should take modules to the value of 1 unit in the combinations given below

for BA South Asian Studies (4 years):

Students can select a further language module from List A at intermediate or advanced level OR a course from List C OR an approved module in another department (open option) OR:

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

Two units in the other subject.

List of optional modules

For details of modules 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 on the Hindi Pathway will spend their third year at the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) in Jaipur, India.  More information on the Institute can be found at the America Institute of Indian Studies website. Students must pass their second year overall and their core language module to progress to the Year Abroad. modules run from September to April with students receiving approximately 18-20 hours of instruction per week, including one-to-one personal tutorials. Towards the end of the programme, students are required to complete an Independent Study Project of approximately 3,000-3,500 words in Hindi on a subject of their choice. This must be successfully completed to continue to Year 4.

Information on living costs can be found at AIIS' website on the 'Estimated Expenditure' tab.

Teaching & Learning

We have four levels of Hindi language modules, 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 Hindi from the very outset. Advanced modules are largely taught in Hindi medium. Language modules are assessed by a combination of written and oral examination. The Department's core module South Asian Culture is taken in the first year, and gives a solid introduction to the broader culture of the region.

The Hindi pathway is part of a four year degree, the third year (from September to March) being spent on a Year Abroad programme in India: students live with Hindi-speaking families and attend full-time Hindi-medium modules.

The degree offers a progression of modules 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.

Students are encouraged to take a module in Urdu; modules in other South Asian languages and subjects are also available.

Final-year options include an Independent Study Project, which gives the student an opportunity to use Hindi 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), 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.


As a student specialising in South Asia and Hindi, 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 teaching focuses not just on lectures, but small discussion groups as well as ready access to individual support and guidance. All within a world-class university, and the library is excellent.

Amanda Marmot