SOAS University of London

African Languages, Cultures and Literatures Section

BA African Studies and ... (4 year) (2019 entry)

Select year of entry: 2019

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  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Employment


This 4-year degree focuses on the languages and cultures of sub-Saharan Africa. It includes the study of an African language and a wide choice of modules in the related cultural fields of Literature, Art, Performance and Religion-Philosophy. The languages normally available are Amharic, Hausa, Somali, Swahili, Yorùbá and Zulu.

The range of expertise in SOAS, not only in the Africa Department, but also with regard to languages and literatures of other regions is unique in UK institutions. Along with proven excellence in other disciplines, such as religious studies, anthropology, art and archaeology, and history, this offers students an unparalleled range of options in choosing their second subject of study.

Students taking the two-subject degree take a combination of units from African Studies and from their other subject.

Programme Code: (see May Be Combined With)

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Start of programme: September

Mode of Attendance: Full-time

Entry requirements

  • No preliminary knowledge of the subject or an African language is required.
  • Interview Policy: Applicants with non-standard qualifications may be invited for interview.
A Levels:
35 (665 at HL)

View alternative entry requirements


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

Featured events

4 years


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


May be combined with:

Key Information Set data

Click on a combined programme to load KIS data


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 must take modules to the value of 120 credits each year. Over the three years spent on campus they must take at least 150 credits from one subject and at least 120 credits from the other subject. The subject with the largest number of module credits will be named first in the degree.

Students must pass at least 90 credits in order to proceed to the following year, including any core modules.

Students may take open option modules to the value of 30 credits per year in a joint degree as long as the required number of credits for each of the named subjects is passed at the end of the degree.

Students who fail Language I are not required to continue with Language II in the second year. Students attaining 40-50% in Language I may be exempted, if they wish, from Language II after consultation with their Programme Convenor.

Degree title

If a student passes Language in Africa and 120 credits in one language, then the language may optionally be named in the degree title, e.g. African Studies (Swahili) and Development Studies. This option is available for Swahili, Hausa and Somali only. 30 credits may be an Independent Study Project in which the language is used to a large extent. Please discuss with your Programme Convenor at the end of year 1 or the beginning of year 2 of your degree.

Year 1

Choose ONE from the following modules

Module Code Credits Term
Language, Identity and Society in Africa 155900867 15 Term 1
Culture in Africa 155900838 15 Full Year
Core Modules

Students will take both of the following two modules:

Module Code Credits Term
Swahili 1 A 155906044 15 Term 1
Swahili 1 B 155906045 15 Term 2


Second Subject
60 credits from second subject
Year 2
Core Module

Students will take the following module:

Module Code Credits Term
Swahili 2a Intermediate 155900986 30 Full Year
Compulsory Language

Choose a language from list of level 2 options in an African language

  • Language Open Option Modules


Open Option

Choose related Language or Non-Language open option modules to the value of 30 credits

  • Language Open Option Modules
  • Non-Language Open Option Modules


Choose related Language or Non-Language open option modules to the value of 30 credits

  • Language Open Option Modules
  • Non-Language Open Option Modules


Second Subject

60 credits from second subject

Year 3 - Year Abroad

Students will study for one year at one of the partner institutions Kenyatta University, Nairobi or State University of Zanzibar. This will be 120 credits.

Students who don't wish to study abroad can do the BA African Studies and ... (3 Year) programme.

Year 4
Compulsory Module

All students must take the following module: 


Choose modules to the value of 30 credits from the list below


Second Subject

60 credits from second subject

List of Optional Modules

Before selecting a module, student's must first check that the course is at the correct level. They must also ensure that they meet any pre-requisites.

Module Code Credits Term
Amharic 1 A 155906036 15 Term 1
Amharic 1 B 155906037 15 Term 2
Amharic 2 155900378 30 Full Year
Hausa 1 A 155906040 15 Term 1
Hausa 1 B 155906041 15 Term 2
Hausa 2(a) intermediate 155900324 30 Full Year
Hausa II(b) Survey Of Hausa Literature 155900818 30
Somali 1 A 155906034 15 Term 1
Somali 1 B 155906035 15 Term 2
Somali 2 155900811 30 Full Year
Swahili 3 155900635 30 Full Year
Yoruba 1 A 155906038 15 Term 1
Yoruba 1 B 155906039 15 Term 2
Yoruba 2 155900935 30 Full Year
Zulu 1 A 155906042 15 Term 1
Zulu 1 B 155906043 15 Term 2
Zulu 2 155900851 30 Full Year
Philosophy and Decolonisation 155901398 15 Term 2
Black Urban Studies 151230001 15 Term 1
Contemporary African literature 155900839 15 Term 2
Film Festivals and Film Curating 155902002 15 Term 1
The structure of Bantu languages 155902004 15 Term 2
Religion in Africa 155901151 30 Full Year
Extended essay in African studies (a) 155900762 15 Term 1
Extended essay in African studies (b) 155901188 15 Term 2
The World of Cuban Music 155800058 15 Term 1
African language literatures (oral and written) 155900677 30 Full Year
Realism and Magical Realism in the African Novel 155902005 15 Term 1
Sci-fi and Afrofuturism in the African Novel 155902006 15 Term 2
Southern Spaces 152900102 15 Term 1
Fictions of History 155901013 30 Full Year
Independent study project in African studies 155900763 30 Full Year
Directed study of an African language 155900934 30 Full Year

Programme Specification

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. If you are a current student you can find structure information on the previous year link at the top of the page or through your Department. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.

Teaching and Learning

Year abroad

The third year will be spent studying in Kenyatta University, Nairobi or State Univeristy of Zanzibar.

Teaching & Learning

Contact Hours

All full-time undergraduate programmes consist of 120 credits per year, taught in modules of 30 credits (taught over 20 weeks) or 15 credits (taught over 10 weeks). The programme structure shows which modules are compulsory and which optional.

As a rough guide, 1 credit equals approximately 10 hours of work. Most of this will be independent study (see Approaches to teaching and learning at SOAS). It will also include class time, which may include lectures, seminars and other classes. Some subjects, such as learning a language, have more class time than others.

In the School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics, undergraduate modules take various forms. Modules may be taught through 1 or 2 hours of lectures a week, and some may have an additional 1-2 hours of weekly seminars. Languages classes may be 4-5 hours per week in the first and second year, typically less at higher levels.

More information is on the page for each module.

Teaching is normally provided by lecture or seminar and students are required to attend such classes. Most modules involve a 50-minute lecture as a key component with linked tutorial classes.

SOAS Library

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.


As a student specialising in the continent of Africa, 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 Africa.  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.  

Choosing to study a joint degree programme will increase the breadth of your knowledge, and will develop additional skills with which to further your studies of the African continent, or to make comparative study with other areas.  African Studies may be combined with a huge range of other disciplines.  For more information on the extra skills you will gain from your second subject, please see the relevant departmental page.  

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

Bishop Grosseteste University College Lincoln
Embassy of Sweden in Khartoum
German Development Cooperation (GIZ)
London Centre Social Impact
Marie Stopes International
Oxford University
Amnesty International
Pearson PLC
Plan International
Samsung Securities Co. Ltd
Save the Children
St John's Way Medical Centre
University of London
World Vision International

Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:
Project Manager
Monitoring & Evaluation Officer
Project Support Worker
Programme Assistant
MA Student
Diversity Communications Officer
Engagement skills training Coordinator
Teacher of English
Events Officer
Advocacy Officer

Others have found work in:

  • Education
  • Government
  • Media
  • Publishing
  • UN Agencies

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

A Student's Perspective

Being at SOAS is a privilege I have greatly appreciated academically as well as socially. It really is a gem that surfaces unheard voices and unseen faces

Nuren Sherali Parpia

Find out more