SOAS University of London

History of Art and Archaeology

BA History of Art (2022 entry)

Select year of entry: 2022 2021

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Overview and entry requirements

The BA History of Art programme is an unrivalled opportunity to study the visual arts, architecture and material culture of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. In the first year, students are introduced to the art and archaeology of different regions. They also receive theoretical and methodological training to prepare them for the study of Asian and African art. In years two and three students broaden and deepen their knowledge and have the chance to specialise in particular regions or themes. An emphasis is placed on training students’ visual memory through the study of images. Students are also provided with a critical introduction to the creative and cultural industries.

See Department of the History of Art and Archeology

Combine History of Art with other subjects

The choice of modules selected in the second and third years will determine whether the student sits for the BA History of Art or the BA History of Art and Archaeology. The BA History of Art and Archaeology can be combined with another subject to form a two-subject degree.

  • Other disciplines: History, East Asian Studies, Music, Languages and Cultures, Social Anthropolgy, World Philosophies
  • Languages: Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Japanese

Why study History of Art at SOAS

  • SOAS is ranked 13th in the UK in the 2022 QS World University Rankings for Arts and Humanities
  • 94.4% overall student satisfaction (NSS 2021)
  • our Department of the History of Art and Archaeology contains some of the world’s leading experts in Asian and African art history and archaeology, whose ground-breaking research informs and is informed by their teaching.
  • our graduates work in arts, culture and heritage roles, including in galleries, museums, archives, conservation, publishing and arts administration.
  • the large portfolio of transferable skills students acquire enables them to forge careers in a range of other fields across the world. Many graduates decide to pursue postgraduate study in the History of Art and Archaeology or a related discipline.
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Study BA History of Art at SOAS

Programme Code: V350 BA/HAr

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Start of programme: September

Mode of Attendance: Full-time

Entry requirements

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3 years

Fees 2022/23

Fees for 2022/23 entrants per academic year

UK fees:
Overseas fees:

Please note that fees go up each year. Further details see 'Fees and funding' (tab on this page) or the Registry's undergraduate tuition fees page.




The structure of modules reflects the importance given to conceptual clarity, methodological rigour and the independent interests of students. Special emphasis is placed on the exploration of arts and artefacts as evidence in historical, religious and cultural studies of societies and cultures, and particular importance is given to enhancing students' visual analysis skills.

One purpose of the introductory year is to provide a basis for the student's selection of modules in the second and third years. The selection of modules in the third year is normally intended to develop the chosen specialisations of the second year. In addition, all third-year students are required to write an Independent Study Project essay (on a subject of their choice) which counts as 30 credits.

Occasionally the availability of optional modules changes as a result of staffing and other circumstances. Students who had signed up for such modules will be notified as soon as possible and given the opportunity to choose from available alternatives.


Year 1
Compulsory Modules: Year 1

Students will take the following compulsory modules:

Module Code Credits Term
Global Arts: connected histories (to 1800) 158100026 15 Term 1
Histories of Art: in/out of Asia and Africa 158100028 15 Term 1
Writing Across the Arts 158100012 15 Term 1
Theories of Art 158100032 15 Term 2
Global Arts: decentering modernity (1800 on) 158100027 15 Term 2
Guided Options: Year 1

Students take modules to the value of 45 credits from the list of Year 1 Guided option modules below, OR from the Language Open Option List.

Module Code Credits Term
Media and Technologies of Art 158100029 15 Term 1
Spaces of Art 158100031 15 Term 2
Building Heritage: architecture, cities, landscape 158100023 15 Term 2

Year 2
Compulsory Modules: Year 2

Students will take the following compulsory modules:

Module Code Credits Term
Theories of Art II 154900206 15 Term 1
Museums and Museology 154900178 15 Term 1
Curating Global Arts 158100004 15 Term 1
Decolonising the Arts 158100024 15 Term 2
Guided Options: Year 2

Students take modules to the value of 30 credits from either List A OR B.


Students take 30 credits from the Language Open Option List or the Non-Language Open Option List.

Year 3
Compulsory Module: Year 3

Students will take the following module.

Module Code Credits Term
Independent study project in History of Art 154900123 30 Full Year
Guided Options: Year 3

Students take modules to the value of 60 credits from either List A OR B.


Students take 30 credits from the Language Open Option List or the Non-Language Open Option List.

Guided Options

List A and List B will be offered in alternating years.

List A
Module Code Credits Term
Buddhist arts of South Asia, Southeast Asia and Tibet 158100022 15 Term 2
Arts of Premodern East Asia 158100017 15 Term 1
List B
Module Code Credits Term
Arts of the African Diaspora 154900203 15 Term 1
Art of the Islamic World: Objects in Context 158100015 15 Term 2
Place and Space in East Asian Art 158100020 15 Term 2
List A/B - 2nd years only
Module Code Credits Term
Fieldtrip 158100025 15 credits
List A/B - finalists only
Open Options (finalists only)
Module Code Credits Term

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

All first year modules involve a weekly lecture and tutorial. In the second and third year, where student numbers may be lower, a seminar may replace the lecture.

For most modules, assessment involves course work and an unseen examination.

Year 1: course work entails short, concentrated pieces of work.

Year 2 and 3: course work emphasis shifts to longer papers.

In the final year, students are normally required to complete an independent study project on a subject of their choice.


SOAS is exceptional in the regional expertise it offers with regard to languages and literatures, religious studies, history and anthropology. Students have access to an unrivalled range of art-historical and archaeological resources:

  • Main Library of the School
  • The Courtauld Institute
  • The Institute of Archaeology

Contact hours

All full-time undergraduate programmes consist of 120 credits per year, in modules of 30 or 15 credits. They are taught over 10 or 20 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 Arts, most undergraduate modules have a one- or two-hour lecture or seminar every week. Some, but not all, also have a 1-hour seminar or tutorial every week.

More information is on the page for each module.

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



Students in the School of Arts develop a ​​critical and theoretically informed approach to global arts and culture. In addition to an intercultural awareness and practical expertise, graduates gain a wide portfolio of transferable skills which are especially sought after in the creative and cultural industries.

Recent School of Arts graduates have been hired by:

  • Christie’s
  • Christine Park Gallery
  • Crisis
  • Design Museum
  • Hong Kong Museum Of Art
  • India Foundation For The Arts
  • Japanese Gallery
  • Museum of East Asian Art
  • Music in Detention
  • National Gallery
  • Pan Arts
  • People Projects Culture & Change
  • Roundhouse Trust
  • Somerset House Trust
  • Songlines Magazine
  • Sotheby's
  • South Asian Art UK
  • Stratford Circus Arts Centre
  • Taiwan Embassy
  • The Alliance for Global Education
  • The British Embassy
  • The National Museum Of Korea
  • The Royal Collection
  • Victoria and Albert Museum

Find out more about our Careers Service.

A Student's Perspective

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.

Yichien Tsai


Find out more