SOAS University of London

African Languages, Cultures and Literatures Section

BA African Studies (3 Year) (2019 entry)

Select year of entry: 2019

  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Employment


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 modules 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.

Programme Code: T500 BA/AfSt

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Start of programme: September

Mode of Attendance: Full-time

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

Featured events

3 years



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.

Students must pass 90 credits 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 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). 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. If this is important to you, please discuss it with your Programme Convenor at the end of year 1 or the beginning of year 2 of your degree.

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

Choose a language from list of level 1 options in an African language

  • Language Open Option Modules
Open Options

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

  • Language Open Option Modules
  • Non-Language Open Option Modules
Year 2

Students must pass the intermediate language module in order to take an advanced language module in Year 3

Compulsory Language

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

  • Language Open Option Modules

Choose modules to the value of '30 credits' from the 'List of Optional Modules' below


Choose modules to the value of '90 credits' from the 'List of Optional Modules' below

Year 3
Compulsory Module
Module Code Credits Term
Perspectives on African experience 155900933 15 Term 1

Choose a language from list of level 3 options in an African language

  • Language Open Option Modules

Choose a module(s) from List of Modules below to the value of 30 credits


Choose a module(s) from List of Modules below to the value of 30 credits


Choose a module(s) from List of Modules below to the value of 30 credits

Open Options

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

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

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 1 A 155906044 15 Term 1
Swahili 1 B 155906045 15 Term 2
Swahili 2a Intermediate 155900986 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
African Philosophy 155901397 15 Term 1
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

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.

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

The Travelling Africa course took me on a journey across the African continent from Cape Town to Cairo, via Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sudan and everywhere in between.

Milo Gough

Find out more