MA Intensive South Asian Studies
Duration: Two Years Full Time
Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings
Start of programme: September
Mode of Attendance: Full Time
The two-year MA Intensive South Asian Studies offers comprehensive language-based training across a wide range of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences.
Students on the programme take four taught courses at SOAS during their first year, of which a course at an appropriate level in Bengali, Hindi, Nepali or Urdu and the course ‘The Politics of Culture in Contemporary South Asia’ are core. In addition to the two core courses, students must choose courses to the value of 90 credits from the list of options advertised for the MA South Asian Area Studies. The disciplines available include Anthropology, Art and Archaeology, Cinema, Cultural and Regional Studies, Economics, History, Law, Literature, Music, Politics, and Study of Religions.
In their second year, students will undertake an extended period of study attached to a university or research institute in India, Pakistan or Nepal (the location depending on their choice of language), where they will further develop their language proficiency and conduct research for an extended dissertation. The second half of the second year will be taken up with the writing of the dissertation under close supervision back in London.
The programme is aimed at students pursuing careers in the academic world, business, government and the media that require a skill set which encompasses disciplinary rigour, comprehensive area knowledge and cultural and linguistic fluencies. No prior knowledge of a South Asian language is required but applicants should provide evidence of their language-learning ability. The language element of the training will be tailored to meet the needs of students with existing language skills.
UK and EU students applying for admission to this programme may also apply for a HEFCE Scholarship. One-year (£20,000) and two-year (£40,000) scholarships will be available, covering fees at the Home/EU level plus a contribution to maintenance costs. These awards are funded by the HEFCE Postgraduate Support Scheme. To be eligible to apply, applicants must:
- have a first class or 2:1 honours degree from a UK university or equivalent
- also apply for admission to this programme
- qualify for Home/EU fees status and be ordinarily resident in the UK or EU.
The assessment of your application for a scholarship will be based on the information provided in your scholarship application and in your on-line application for admission to the MA programme. Selectors will be looking at your degree results and also at academic references, your personal statement and other relevant information. Financial need may also be considered.
Students take The Politics of Culture in Contemporary South Asia - 15PSAC314 and a course in Bengali, Hindi, Nepali or Urdu in their first year, plus courses to the value of two full units (90 credits) from the list given below. These courses should be chosen in close consultation with the programme convenor.
Students spend the first half of their second year studying at one of our partner institutions in South Asia, before returning to work on their 20,000-word dissertation.
All courses are subject to availability
Anthropology (minor only)
- Culture and Society of South Asia - 15PANC087 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- African and Asian Diasporas in the Modern World - 15PANH010 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
Art and Archaeology
- The Indian Temple - 15PARC034 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2014/2015
- Indian Cinema: Its History and Social Context - 15PSAH001 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Indian Cinema: Key Issues - 15PSAH002 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- South Asian Cinema and the Diaspora (MA) - 15PSAH009 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1 - Not Running 2014/2015
- Modern Bengal: the Evolution of Bengali Culture and Society from 1690 to the Present Day (MA) - 15PSAC289 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Contemporary Punjab: Society and Culture across Borders - 15PAIC001 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Culture and Conflict in the Himalaya - 15PSAC291 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- The Politics of Culture in Contemporary South Asia - 15PSAC314 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Islam in South Asia - 15PHIC042 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- History of Environment and Globalisation in Asia and Africa - 15PHIH023 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2014/2015
- Gender, law and the family in the history of modern South Asia - 15PHIH030 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1 - Not Running 2014/2015
- Colonialism and Nationalism in South Asia - 15PHIC071 (1 Unit) - Full Year
Language [one language option as minor only]
- Bengali Language 1 (Postgraduate) - 15PSAC303 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Bengali Language 2 (Postgraduate) - 15PSAC304 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Hindi Language 1 (Postgraduate) - 15PSAC295 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Hindi Language 2 (Postgraduate) - 15PSAC296 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Hindi Language 3 (Postgraduate) - 15PSAC297 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Hindi Language 4 (Postgraduate) - 15PSAC308 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Readings in Contemporary Hindi (Postgraduate) - 15PSAC305 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Nepali Language 1 (Postgraduate) - 15PSAC298 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Nepali Language 2 (Postgraduate) - 15PSAC299 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Urdu Language 1 (Postgraduate) - 15PSAC300 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Urdu Language 2 (Postgraduate) - 15PSAC301 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Urdu Literacy (Postgraduate) - 15PSAC302 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Law and society in South Asia (MA/LLM) - 15PLAC129 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Law, Multiculturalism and Intercultural Human Rights (MA/LLM) - 15PLAC109 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2014/2015
- Vedic Prose and Poetry (PG) - 15PSAC318 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Literatures of South Asia - 15PSAC284 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2014/2015
- Postcolonial Theory and Practice - 15PCSC003 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Theory and techniques of Comparative Literature - 15PCSC002 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Sanskrit Literature - 15PSAC003 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2014/2015
- Directed Readings in the Literature of a Modern South Asian Language - 15PSAC016 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Sanskrit Texts from the Hindu Tradition - 15PSAC014 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2014/2015
- Literature & Colonialism in North India (Masters) - 15PSAH005 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Narratives of Mobility in Contemporary Hindi Literature (Masters) - 15PSAH006 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Indian Classical Music - 15PMUC027 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2014/2015
- Raga: concept and practice (Postgraduate) - 15PMUH020 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Music in South Asian Culture (Masters) - 15PMUC005 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2014/2015
- Sacred Sound in South Asia - 15PMUH021 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Government and politics of modern South Asia - 15PPOC003 (1 Unit) - Full Year
Study of Religions
- Religions and Development - 15PSRH049 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Modern Muslim Thinkers from South Asia - 15PSRC169 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- History and Doctrines of Indian Buddhism - 15PSRC059 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Religious and Philosophical Ideas of Ancient and Medieval India - 15PSRC049 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2014/2015
- Classical Hindu Texts in Translation: Epics and Puranas - 15PSRC167 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2014/2015
- Buddhism in Tibet - 15PSRH008 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- The Buddhist Conquest of Central Asia - 15PSRH009 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2014/2015
- Jainism: History, Doctrine and the Contemporary World - 15PSRC024 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Buddhist Rituals - 15PSRH012 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1 - Not Running 2014/2015
- Pali: Intermediate Level - 15PSRC053 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2014/2015
- Oriental religions in European academia and imagination, 1815-1945 - 15PSRC168 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2014/2015
- Features of Buddhist Monasticism - 15PSRH014 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2014/2015
- Contemporary Islamism in South Asia: Readings in Sayyid Abu al-A'la Mawdudi - 15PSRC170 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2014/2015
- Buddhist Meditation in India and Tibet - 15PSRC172 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- The Origins and Development of Yoga in Ancient India - 15PSRC173 (1 Unit) - Full Year
Teaching & Learning
Teaching & Learning
Lectures and Seminars
Most courses require students to attend two or three hours of classes each week. This time will be spent in lectures, seminars, tutorial discussions and student presentations: the exact mixture of activities varies somewhat from course to course. At Masters level there is a particular emphasis on students’ contributions and presentations, and students are also expected to read extensively and prepare for each class in advance.
Language courses typically involve more hours of contact time, especially at elementary level, and regular homework.
The assessment on most courses consists of two or three coursework essay assignments and an unseen written examination, sat in April or May. However, some courses are assessed purely on the basis of coursework, including essays and reaction papers.
A 20,000-word dissertation will be written by each student on this programme after his/her return from South Asia, for submission in September of the second year. The dissertation will be on an approved topic linked with one of the taught courses.
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. The South Asia collection consists of approximately 88,000 volumes in English and other European languages and about 70,000 volumes in South Asian languages.
A Student's Perspective
Alexis Berko, Wesleyan University
One of my fondest memories of SOAS is the International Students Welcome ceremony where I met a few of my friends. Freshers’ Week overall was pretty fun and my classes are incredibly involving and interesting.