SOAS University of London

History of Art and Archaeology

BA History of Art and ... (2022 entry)

Select year of entry: 2022 2021

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Overview and entry requirements

The BA History of Art (combined degree) 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 subsequent years 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

On this two-subject programme, the study of the History of Art is combined with another subject:

  • other disciplines: History, Languages and Cultures, Music, Social Anthropology
  • languages: Arabic, Chinese, East Asian Studies, Japanese, Korean

Some two-subject programmes are completed in three years while others take four years and include a year abroad.

Why study BA History of Art (combined degree) at SOAS

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. 

  • 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)
  • 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.
  • select from courses 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 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.

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Start of programme: September

Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time

Entry requirements

Featured events

3 or 4 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.


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


May be combined with:

+ 4-year degree with (compulsory) one year abroad

Key Information Set data

Click on a combined programme to load KIS data



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.

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
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
Modules from second subject

Students choose modules to the value of 60 credits from their second subject

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
Guided Options: Year 2

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

Modules from second subject

Students choose modules to the value of 60 credits from their second subject

Year 3 - Independent Study Project in History of Art
Guided Option: Year 3
Module Code Credits Term
Independent study project in History of Art 154900123 30 Full Year

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

Modules from second subject

Students choose modules to the value of 60 credits from their second subject

Year 3 - For students NOT completing an Independent Study Project in History of Art

Please note: Students must take an Independent Study Project, either in History of Art, or in their second subject.

Guided Options: Year 3

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

Modules from second subject

Students choose modules to the value of 60 credits from their second subject

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. Iin the 2nd and 3rd year, where student numbers may be lower, a seminar may replace the lecture.

For most modules, assessment involves coursework and an unseen examination.

Year 1: In the first year coursework entails short, concentrated pieces of work.

Year 2 and 3: coursework emphasis shifts to longer papers.

Year 4: In the final year students are required to complete an Independent Study Project on a subject of their choice, and are also encouraged to undertake projects, supervised by members of staff, in the form of an essay-based advanced.

Year abroad

A 4-year combined degree involves a year abroad

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

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.

Beatriz Cifuentes


Find out more