Programme Code: V350 BA/HAr
Mode of Attendance: Full-time
This 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.
The 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. Students benefit from the unparalleled knowledge and enthusiasm of staff. As members of the School of Arts, they profit from the insights of scholars and students studying the Music, Film and Media of Asia, Africa and the Middle East in historical and contemporary contexts. They can also select from modules in other departments, taking advantage of SOAS’s unrivalled expertise in the languages, history, religions and cultures of Asia and Africa.
A degree from the Department of the History of Art and Archaeology provides students with expertise in the History of Art and/or Archaeology of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. 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 they 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.
Whether a student sits for the BA History of Art or the BA History of Art and Archaeology depends on the modules they select in their second and third years. See the ‘Structure’ tab for details. The BA History of Art and Archaeology can be combined with another subject to form a two-subject degree.
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.
Please note that a 15 credit module corresponds to a 0.5 unit (taught over one term) and a 30 credit module corresponds to a full unit (taught over both terms).
The structure and contents of modules reflect the importance given to conceptual and methodological clarity, and to the independent interests of students. Particular importance is given to the training of student’s visual memory through the study of visual images.
One purpose of the introductory year is to provide a basis for the student's selection of modules in the second and third years. In the first year, students must take six 15 credit compulsory Art and Archaeology modules, including four 15 credit modules introducing the arts of Asia and Africa, and a 15 credit core module introducing theoretical issues about how and why art and archaeology are studied and discussed. In addition, students must take a 30 credit fourth ‘open option’ module in another department.
In the first year, students are normally required to take modules to the value of 120 credits as follows:
- Theory in Art History and Archaeology (core)
- Great Works: Recordings, Objects, Films
- Themes in the Art and Archaeology of Africa
- Themes in the Art and Archaeology of East Asia
- Themes in the Art and Archaeology of the Near and Middle East
- Themes in the Art and Archaeology of South and South East Asia
- A 30 credit fourth ‘open option’ module (or two equivalent 15 credit modules) from another department.
Students who wish to take the BA History of Art and Archaeology must in their second and third years accumulate at least 120 credits from the modules designated as having
archaeological content (selected from the list of second and year modules listed below). Other modules can be selected from the History of Art programme.
Any student who passes at least 120 credit modules designated as having archaeological content will automatically be placed in the History of Art and Archaeology programme, while those who do not will be placed in the History of Art programme.
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 encouraged to write a 10,000 word Independent Study Project essay (on a subject of their choice) which counts as 30 credits.
Years 2 and 3
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
Teaching & Learning
All 1st year modules involve a weekly lecture and tutorial; in the 2nd and 3rd year, where student numbers may be lower, a seminar may replace the lecture.
For most modules, assessment involves course work and an unseen examination.
In the 1st year, course work entails short, concentrated pieces of work; in the 2nd and 3rd years, 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.
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 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.
Full details of undergraduate tuition fees can be found on the Registry's Undergraduate Tuition Fees page.
Fees for 2018/19 entrants. The fees below are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year.
|BA, BSc, LLB
|BA/BSc Language Year Abroad
Application Deadline: 2017-04-17 17:00
For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section
A BA in History of Art from SOAS gives graduates the essential skills needed to work in a range of arts related jobs such as galleries, museums, archives, conservation, publishing, arts administration, heritage management. Students also gain highly valued transferrable skills that can be applied to other types of professions. These skills include: research skills, written and oral communication skills, visual awareness and the ability to select and organise information.
Careers include employment in museums, galleries, conservation organisations, commercial galleries, auction houses and art journalism. Other areas include the heritage industry, specialist travel companies, NGOs with cultural programmes such as UNESCO, UNOP, ICOMOS and the World Monuments Fund. It also gives access to a range of jobs available for any humanities degree graduate such as teaching and the media.
For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.
A Student's Perspective
Katja Utz, University of Heidelberg
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.