SOAS University of London

Department of the Languages and Cultures of Africa

BA African Studies

3 years

Fees 2017/18

UK/EU fees:
Overseas fees:

Fees for 2017/18 entrants. The fees are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. Further details can be found in the Fees and Funding tab on this page or in the Registry Undergraduate Tuition Fees page

2017 Entry requirements

  • No preliminary knowledge of the subject or the language is required, although we do look for ability to learn a language (e.g. language at A-level or equivalent).
  • 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

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Programme Code: T500 BA/AfSt

Mode of Attendance: Full-time

This 3-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 course units in the related cultural fields of Literature, Art, Performance and Religion-Philosophy.

The languages normally available are Amharic, Hausa, Somali, Swahili, Yoruba 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.


Key Information Set 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 4 module units each year.

Students must pass at least three module units in order to proceed to the following year, including any core modules.

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 from Language II, if they wish, after consultation with their Personal Tutor and/or the Undergraduate Tutor.

Students must take a module for the year for which it is intended. Occasionally exceptions can be made in consultation with the Undergraduate Tutor and the approval of the Associate Dean.

Degree title

If a student passes Language in Africa and 4 module units in one language then the language may optionally be named in the degree title, e.g. African Studies (Swahili). This option is available for Swahili, Hausa and Somali only. One of the four modules may be an Independent Study Project in which the language is used to a large extent. If this is important to you, please discuss it with your Personal Tutor at the end of year 1 or the beginning of year 2 of your degree.

Year 1
Core Module

Students must pass Culture in Africa and either the first year language module unit or Language in Africa in order to proceed.

ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Culture in Africa 155900838 1 Unit Full Year
Compulsory Module
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Language in Africa 155900867 1 Unit Full Year
Compulsory Language Module 1

A module unit at a suitable level in an African language

Open Option

Choose an open option module at an appropriate level.

Year 2
Core Module

Choose ONE of the following modules.

ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
African language literatures (oral and written) 155900677 1 Unit Full Year
Contemporary African literature 155900839 1 Unit Full Year
Complusory Module

An African language unit following on from language taken in Year 1 or module(s) to the value of one unit from the list of options.

Compulsory Optional Module

Choose modules to the value of one unit from the list of options.

Open Option

Choose a module from the list of optional units or from the list of open options to the value of one unit.

Year 3
Compulsory Module
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Perspectives on African experience 155900933 1 Unit Full Year
Compulsory Module

A Language 3 or module(s) to the value of one unit from the list of options.

Compulsory Module

Module(s) to the value of one unit from the list of options.

Open Option

Choose a module from the list of optional units or from the list of open options to the value of one unit.

List of Optional Modules

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

ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Filmmaking and Curatorial Practices in the Age of Festivalization 155902002 0.5 Unit Term 2
Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity in Africa: Past and Present 158000185 0.5 Unit Term 1 Not Running 2016/2017
Islamic Reform Movements in Modern Africa 158000190 0.5 Unit Term 1
African Philosophy 155901397 0.5 Unit Term 1
Afrophone Philosophies 155901398 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
South African Film and Visual Culture: Before and During Apartheid 155902001 0.5 Unit Term 1
South African Film and Visual Culture 1994-2014 155902003 0.5 Unit Term 2
Realism and Magical Realism in the Afrophone Novel 155902000 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Fictions of History 155901013 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Southern Spaces 152900102 0.5 Unit Term 2
The structure of Bantu languages 155902004 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
Theory and practice of Swahili translation 155901259 1 Unit Full Year
Religions of Africa: Foundation 158000119 0.5 Unit Term 2
Religion in Africa 155901151 1 Unit Full Year
Extended essay in African studies (a) 155900762 0.5 Unit Term 1
Extended essay in African studies (b) 155901188 0.5 Unit Term 2
Black British Urban Studies: Culture and Representation 151230001 0.5 Unit Term 1
Britain and slavery 151230005 0.5 Unit Term 1
Music in Africa 155800022 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
The World of Cuban Music 155800058 0.5 Unit Term 1
African Art I: Context and Representation 154900105 1 Unit Full Year
African Art II: West Africa & the Atlantic World; History, Historiography and the Visual Arts. 154900124 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
African Art III: the Art and Architecture of North Eastern Africa 154900132 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Religion, Power and Society in Modern Africa 158000005 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Africans in the Americas: Identities and Representation 154900166 0.5 Unit Term 1
Amharic 1 155900832 1 Unit Full Year
Amharic 2 155900378 1 Unit Full Year
Hausa 1 155900834 1 Unit Full Year
Hausa 2(a) intermediate 155900324 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Hausa 2(b) survey of hausa literature 155900818 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Hausa 3(a) advanced 155900327 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Hausa 3 (b) selected texts 155900603 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Somali 1 155900831 1 Unit Full Year
Somali 2 155900811 1 Unit Full Year
Advanced somali: literature and culture 155901292 1 Unit Full Year
Swahili 1 155900985 1 Unit Full Year
Swahili 2a intermediate 155900986 1 Unit Full Year
Swahili 2b - introduction to Swahili literature 155900987 1 Unit Full Year
Swahili 3 155900635 1 Unit Full Year
Swahili 4 155900636 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Yoruba 1 155900833 1 Unit Full Year
Yoruba 2 155900935 1 Unit Full Year
Zulu 1 155900840 1 Unit Full Year
List of Optional Modules (Year 3)

Students in Year 3 can also select from the modules below.

ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Independent study project in African studies 155900763 1 Unit Full Year
Directed study of an African language 155900934 1 Unit Full Year

Programme Specification


Teaching and Learning

Teaching & Learning

Teaching is normally provided by lecture or seminar and students are required to attend such classes. Most courses 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.

Fees and funding

Tuition Fees

Full details of undergraduate tuition fees can be found on the Registry's Undergraduate Tuition Fees page.

Fees for 2017/18 entrants. The fees below are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. 

BA, BSc, LLB £9,250 £16,575
BA/BSc Language Year Abroad £1,387.50 £8,288
Undergraduate Research Awards

Application Deadline: 2017-04-17 17:00

For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section


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.

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

Amnesty International
British Army
Future Roots
Hanover Primary School
Hill and Knowlton
Institute of Education
Oakfield school
Bayer CropScience
Save the Children
Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:
Television Executive Producer
Operations Manager Sub-Saharan Africa
Film Maker
Fundraising and Administration Coordinator
Class Teacher
PR Consultant
Student Support Officer
Teaching Assistant
Tourism and identity in Reunion Island
Artist/ PR

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


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