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South Asia Department

MA South Asian Area Studies

Duration: One calendar year (full-time); Two or three years (part-time, daytime only)

Overview

Minimum Entry Requirements: Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent)

Start of programme: September intake only

The MA in South Asian Studies provides exceptional opportunities for advanced study of one of the world’s most diverse and important regions.

Students can choose to concentrate on pre-modern or modern South Asia and can acquire a basic knowledge of one of the area’s languages.

The degree provides a wide-ranging interdisciplinary analysis of the South Asian countries – India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka. Disciplines available include Politics, Economics,Anthropology, Law and History.

The programme attracts students from a variety of backgrounds. While some wish to broaden their previous studies or experience of South Asia, others approach the course without having a South Asian element to their first degree, but with a desire to focus their previous training on the region.

Structure

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 take three taught courses, one of which is considered a major, and complete a 10,000-word dissertation related to the major.

Some disciplines, such as Politics, Economics or Social Anthropology, require an appropriate qualification (such as part of a first degree) if any of their courses are to be taken as the major subject.

All courses are subject to availability

Anthropology (minor only)
Art and Archaeology
Cinema
Culture
History
Language [one language option as minor only]
Law
Literature
Music
Politics
Study of Religions

Programme Specification

Teaching & Learning

Teaching & Learning

Lectures and Seminars

For most courses there is one 2-hour class each week. This may be an informal lecture followed by a discussion or student presentation. At Masters level there is particular emphasis on seminar work where students may be expected to make full-scale presentations for units they take.

Dissertation

The 10,000-word dissertation on an approved topic linked with one of the taught courses.

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

A postgraduate degree in South Asian studies from SOAS provides its students with 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, history, cinema, politics, economics or law.

Postgraduate students are equipped with linguistic and cultural expertise enabling them to continue in the field of research, along with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek in many professional and management careers in business, public or charity sectors. 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. 

An MA in South Asian Area Studies can open many doors. Those remaining in London will be able to take advantage of the numerous international bodies here, and those with specialist areas of knowledge (finance, law, art) will find relevant opportunities. Many students may choose to pursue a career in South Asia to put their skills into practice. Research degrees are also possibilities for graduates with high grades.

Among a variety of professions, career paths may include: Academia; Commerce; Community; Finance; Government; NGOs; Media; Politics; and UN Agencies.

Graduates have gone on to work for a range of organisations including:

Access to Justice Asia
BBC World Service
Cambridge Archaeological Unit
EMMA Media
Environmental Defense Fund
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
Foremarke Exhibitions Ltd
Harvard University
Meyado Private Wealth Management
Mohurgong & Gulma Tea Estates
Momoyama Gakuin University
Neon Tree Media
SOAS, University of London
University of Edinburgh

Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:

Interpreter and Translator
Consulting Associate
Senior Major Gifts Officer
Trade Commissioner
Digital designer
Human Resources Director
Professor of Comparative Religion & Indian Studies
Librarian
Chaplain
Senior Investment Advisor
Script Writer and Coordinator
Humanitarian and CSR photographer
Professor of Musicology
Head of Humanities
Research Fellow
Lecturer in South Asian History

For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.

A Student's Perspective

I will remember great and long-lasting discussions, helpful and open-minded people and teachers who have time for their students.

Franziska Korn