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South Asia Department

MA in the Study of Contemporary Pakistan


Minimum Entry Requirements: Minimum upper second class honours or equivalent.

Start of programme: September intake only

Mode of Attendance: Full Time or Part Time

Do you want to enhance your understanding of the cultural, political and economic history of Pakistan? The MA in the Study of Contemporary Pakistan provides a comprehensive and critical approach to Pakistan: its complex and vibrant culture, politics, economics, law, religious history and current trends. SOAS hosts one of the biggest concentration of research and teaching staff who specialise on Pakistan related topics. You will have an opportunity to interact and work closely with them. The Programme of Study will introduce you to the latest research topics, methods and debates in the field. It will prepare you to critically assess the diverse complexities of one of the most reported on countries in the world.

Optional language training is available for those who aspire to a research degree.  

The degree is enhanced by the activities of a Research Centre dedicated to the Study of Pakistan. The Centre is part of the wider South Asian research cluster at SOAS.

Centre for the Study of Pakistan

Students are encouraged to join in the activities of the vibrant centre (http://www.soas.ac.uk/csp/), which runs fortnightly seminars and workshops, and an Annual Lecture.


The Centre for Pakistan supports MUSA, recently launched, a postgraduate research forum for the study of Muslim South Asia.


Several summer internships are currently available to run alongside the MA degree.  Please contact the convenors or the SOAS careers office for details.


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.

The programme will consist of three course units (1 core + 2 options) and a dissertation. 

The core course (Imagining Pakistan) will introduce the main topics, approaches and possible lines of enquiry for a cultural history of Pakistan from 1947 to the present. 

Students will choose two courses from a list of options that includes courses on modern Muslim thinkers and Contemporary Islamism in South Asia, Law and Society in South Asia, Urdu language, and Urdu literature in Pakistan.

Students will also write a 10,000 dissertation on the Study of Contemporary Pakistan, applying and developing the knowledge acquired in the core courses to an independent topic of research.

Core Course
Optional Courses
Department of the Languages and Cultures of South Asia
Department of Politics and International Studies
Department of History
Department of the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East
School of Law
Department of the Study of Religions
Department of Development Studies
Centre for Gender Studies
10,000 word Dissertation

Programme Specification


Teaching & Learning


The MA prepares students for a wide range of career destinations. Graduates will benefit from interdisciplinary cultural and linguistic training that is widely sought after in the business and public sector. It is suited for those seeking employment as management consultants, policy advisers in Government and the Civil Service, Think Tanks, Charities, NGOs, as well as journalism and media related openings, more broadly in the culture industry, or for those who aspire to a Research degree.

  • Standard Chartered - International Bank
  • Bestway – Food Wholesaler
  • Gallager Heath - Insurance Broker
  • Citizen’s Foundation – Education Support in Pakistan Charity

A Student's Perspective

The course touched different topics and it opened my mind to diversified South Asian cultures, social issues and literature...

Xiaoyu Zhang (China)