SOAS University of London

Department of the Languages and Cultures of Africa

BA African Studies and ...

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 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

  • Overview
  • Combinations
  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Fees and funding
  • Employment
  • Apply


Programme Code: (see May Be Combined With)

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 module units 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.


Key Information Set Data

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


May be combined with:

** Taught at King’s College London

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 4 module units each year. Over the three years they must take at least 5 units from one subject and at least 4 units from the other subject. The subject with the largest number of module units will be named first in the degree.

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

Students may take open option units in a joint degree as long as the required number of units 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 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. Note that list A includes both culture modules and language modules. Students who wish to concentrate on language may take more than one African language; please discuss with your Personal Tutor.

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) and Development Studies. 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. 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

Choose one from the following modules. Students must pass Culture in Africa, the first year language module or Language in Africa in order to progress.

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

A course unit at a suitable level in an African language.

Other Subject

Take 2 units in the second subject

Year 2
Core Module

One module from the following.

ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
African language literatures (oral and written) 155900677 1 Unit Full Year
Contemporary African literature 155900839 1 Unit Full Year
Compulsory Language Module 2

An African language unit following on from Language I

Other Subject

Choose 2 units from the second subject.

Year 3
Compulsory Module

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

Compulsory Module

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

Other Subject

Choose 2 units from the 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.

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
Contemporary African literature 155900839 1 Unit Full Year
Fictions of History 155901013 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
African language literatures (oral and written) 155900677 1 Unit Full Year
Religions of Africa: Foundation 158000119 0.5 Unit Term 2
Religion in Africa 155901151 1 Unit Full Year
Directed study of an African language 155900934 1 Unit Full Year
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:formal usage 155901291 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
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
Zulu 2 155900851 1 Unit Full Year
Theory and practice of Swahili translation 155901259 1 Unit Full Year
List of Optional Modules (Year 3)

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

ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Extended essay in African studies (a) 155900762 0.5 Unit Term 1
Extended essay in African studies (b) 155901188 0.5 Unit Term 2
Independent study project in African studies 155900763 1 Unit Full Year

Programme Specification


Teaching and Learning

Year abroad

Although not compulsory, spending time in Africa is encouraged

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.  

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

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