SOAS University of London

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Introduction to the Department of History of Art and Archaeology

Facts and figures

7th
in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide rankings for Art History 2022

Teaching

  • 94% overall satisfaction from students according to the National Student Survey 2021 for History of Art
  • 95% of students said that staff are good at explaining things and made the subjects interesting (NSS 2021)
  • 100% of students found the course intellectually stimulating (NSS 2021)

Research

The Department of History of Art and Archaeology has been ranked 1st in the UK for its research environment - as well as 6th place overall - in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021, with 60% of its research rated 4* (world-leading).

Alumni and student stories

  • "MA Curating Cultures provides the theory related to curating and also the actual experience in curating an exhibition."

    I am currently working as a research assistant at the National Palace Museum. My main tasks include coordinating loan exhibitions and collaborative research projects as well as assisting with the exhibition arrangements.

  • "The connections I made at SOAS have been invaluable in furthering my education and career."

    In my first year, I was exposed to many foreign cultures such as South Asian, Islamic, and African arts and architecture which I had no knowledge of before.

  • "My years at SOAS doing MA History of Art and Archaeology have been most memorable, inspiring, and challenging."

    I particularly enjoyed the variety of classes offered and also being able to meet colleagues from diverse backgrounds.

  • "The subjects that I learned at SOAS are directly beneficial for my work."

    My research and the information of former looters allowed us to claim back a significant number of illegal trafficked Cambodian cultural artefacts.

  • "I chose SOAS because of their regional expertise and openness to interdisciplinary research."

    Studying at SOAS was an opportunity to refine my interests and methodologies in the study, care and handling of Asian material religion.

  • "SOAS encouraged me to apply interdisciplinary approaches to my research."

    I was able to meet students and scholars from all over the world researching different aspects of arts and cultures.

  • "SOAS seemed to me like the most natural step after completing my degree."

    What was particularly appealing was the prospect of learning a language to a professional capacity and using that to complement and deepen my understanding of the areas of art and culture.

  • "SOAS has enabled me to embrace research and teaching practices."

    SOAS offers excellent resources and expertise to support a rigorous cross-disciplinary approach to doing original research on museology in Southeast Asia.

  • "The most enjoyable and enriching experiences at SOAS were the object-handing sessions at the museums."

    This excellent programme focusses on objects of visual art and architecture from the arts and cultures in my specialist region of Southeast Asia.

  • "SOAS gives me the chance to study the research of Indian art, Chinese art and South East Asian art."

    Studying for a Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art at SOAS University of London made a big impact on my academic life and my career.

  • "The experiences of SOAS will transform your life."

    SOAS offers Asian related courses with the world’s leading professors.

  • "SOAS is one of the best universities to study art history in Europe."

    Experiences at SOAS have helped me in so many ways in my career.

  • "I work as a relic conservation specialist in charge of exhibits at the My Son Heritage Gallery."

    Studying courses at SOAS has given me a lot of knowledge, methods and skills, which help in my professional work.

  • "SOAS has helped me to accomplish a big step forward in my current career."

    I chose SOAS because of its wide range of expertise and accessibility to interdisciplinary research.

  • "SOAS has helped to broaden my knowledge and experiences."

    Students of MA Contemporary Art and Art Theory of Asia and Africa will enjoy a mix of courses on museum studies and Southeast Asian art and archaeology.

  • "SOAS has a long tradition of training future academics, linguists and leaders for the fields of Oriental, African and Middle Eastern cultures."

    SOAS has a long tradition of training future academics, linguists and leaders for the fields of Oriental, African and Middle Eastern cultures. The specialization, particularly in the areas of art, archaeology and language connected to these cultures is in my opinion almost unchallenged in the academic world

  • "When I heard about SOAS I immediately knew it was the school for me."

    When I heard about SOAS I immediately knew it was the school for me. An institution like SOAS is the ideal platform for students who want to learn a language and gain insight into a culture. It is also a leading school in Tibetan studies.

  • "The insight provided, knowledge delivered and understanding transmitted during lectures, seminars and conferences at SOAS is impressive and requires real personal involvement in the topics."

    The insight provided, knowledge delivered and understanding transmitted during lectures, seminars and conferences at SOAS is impressive and requires real personal involvement in the topics.

  • "Studying Islamic Art History at SOAS has been one of the most engrossing, pleasurable and rewarding pursuits I have undertaken."

    Studying Islamic Art History at SOAS has been one of the most engrossing, pleasurable and rewarding pursuits I have undertaken.The SOAS academics I encountered are exemplary. Their scholarship, first hand experiences and enthralling anecdotes brought their subjects to life. Within this rich and rigorous environment, also supported by access to other SOAS departments and the numerous co-curricular resources available in London, it is inevitable that students strive for excellence.

  • "SOAS is a vibrant place filled with diversity."

    With the guidance of an eminent team of professors, and the support of the various resources SOAS has to offer, my time here has indeed been very productive, academically and professionally.

  • "The UK and especially London is a great place to study. SOAS in particular offers a warm and hearty atmosphere with the opportunity to study at a renowned university and get to know people from everywhere in the world."

    The public transport in London is just great as it is easy to get around and also to get to other cities in the UK. The beautiful cities Cambridge and Oxford are basically around the corner and definitely worth visiting and many other nice British cities and places are also easy to get to from London.

  • "My initial impression of SOAS was that it was extraordinarily different. I used to describe it as the ‘United Nations’ to friends and family, because of its diversity."

    I really wanted to study History of Art and I knew that was my calling. After research, I found out that SOAS was a prestigious school with notable alumni and also that I could study History of Art and Law as a joint degree, which is perhaps the only school in the world that offers this at the BA level.

Read more alumni and student stories