I began a PhD in African history at SOAS, having first completed the MA in Historical Research Methods. The Master’s was excellent preparation for the kind of sustained independent research required for a doctorate. The course deals both with the epistemology of history and the practicalities (and frustrations) of finding and using historical sources. This is particularly important because methodological innovation and non-traditional source materials have been so crucial in writing histories of Africa and Asia. The MA also allows you to direct your coursework towards your own research interests: I was able to start my PhD with a clear idea of what I wanted to do and with a real head start on the research itself.
For postgraduate students, the greatest attraction of SOAS is its research culture. There simply isn’t another institution with such a concentration of academic expertise on African and Asian history. Weekly regional seminars introduce you to brand new research by staff and visiting scholars: and, as a PhD student, it is here that you will present the fruits of your own research - not nearly as scary as it sounds.
At SOAS you are also part of a student body with an incredible diversity of academic interests. So rather than getting lost in the details of your own research, you can always keep the broader historical picture in mind and make connections between seemingly disparate parts of the world. If you are interested in a truly global history, then SOAS is the place to study.