SOAS University of London

History of Art and Archaeology

Postgraduate Diploma or Certificate in Asian Art

Minimum Entry Requirements: Normally BA degree or equivalent. Other qualifications (e.g., published work, relevant professional experience) may be acceptable. Non-standard applications are considered on their merits, and applicants may be asked to submit written work for appraisal and/or attend an interview. No knowledge of the arts of Asia necessary, but serious interest in the area desirable.

Start of programme: September, January or April

Six, three-month-long full-time modules, any number or combination of which can be taken. The Postgraduate Diploma is awarded to any student who successfully completes three selected modules within a period of four years. The Certificate is awarded for each singular module.

Mode of Attendance: Full-time


Asian Art Diploma Image

The Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art at SOAS University of London offers a programme renowned for its excellence. The course provides object-based study through lectures and contributions from a wide range of leading scholars, curators, and art market professionals.

We have a formal association with the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum, which means we offer exceptional access to the collections and curatorial expertise of both institutions.

The Postgraduate Diploma will appeal to all those with a serious interest in Asian Art, regardless of your personal, professional or academic background. It is also a proven pathway to further postgraduate study in Asian Art and careers in museums, the art world and academia.

The Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art offers six full-time modules, which are listed below, each 12 weeks in length. Students can take any number or combination of modules and you can begin the programme in October, January or April. Those who successfully complete a single module will be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate. Students successfully completing any three of the modules within a four year period will be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art.

In 2021/22 all our full-time modules will be fully available online, so you can study with us from anywhere in the world. Those able to travel to London will be able to join selected sessions in person, where circumstances allow. We also plan to host a series of co-curricular events, including in-person visits to the V&A and British Museum, subject to current safety measures.

For more information please see our 2021/22 Prospectus or our website:

The modules offered are:

Indian Art (annually) 4 October – 22 December 2021
Chinese Art (annually) 10 January – 3 April 2022
Islamic Art (biennially) 25 April – 17 July 2022
Southeast Asian Art (biennially) 25 April – 17 July 2022
Buddhist Art (biennially) April – July 2023
Japanese & Korean Art (biennially) April – July 2023

Aims and objectives

• To develop visual skills through the direct examination of objects
• To put material objects in their cultural context
• To develop research skills using primary and secondary sources
• To develop a sound visual method for analysing and documenting works of art
• To develop writing and communication skills: to formulate and structure an academic viewpoint and to use visual analysis to support and document this argument


• Live, online lectures given by SOAS academic staff, leading national and international scholars, museum curators, and art market professionals, generally taking place between 11.00 and 15.30 (UK time) Monday through Thursday.
• Exclusive contributions from the British Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum
• A series of asynchronous online lectures exploring critical thinking and methodology
• Recommended weekly readings, all accessible online
• Weekly review sessions
• Weekly one-to-one tutorials with your module convenors


In 2021/22 we are offering two scholarships for the October start date.

  • The Heather Elgood Scholarship – This scholarship covers full tuition fees for the Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art and an allowance to cover living costs during term time.
  • The Denise Acford Access Scholarship – This part-fee scholarship covers half the tuition fees for three modules (the full Postgraduate Diploma) to be taken consecutively in the 2021/22 academic year.

These scholarships are competitive and awarded on a combination of academic merit and financial need. For more information regarding the eligibility criteria, application process and deadlines, please visit the pages at the above links.


The fee for the 2021/22 academic year is £5,150 per module. To secure their place on the course, candidates must pay a deposit of £500 when accepting their offer of a place on the programme. Deposits are non-refundable. The remaining fee balance is payable four weeks before the start of each module.

The fee for the 2022/23 academic year is £5,350 per module.

Alumni Discount

A 10% reduction in tuition fees is available to all students who have an Undergraduate degree in any subject from SOAS, but no higher qualification. (Please note that you cannot receive the SOAS Alumni discount if you have already received another discount / scholarship from the University.)

Contact us

Programme Director - Dr Malcolm McNeill
Programme Manager - Mr Patrick Monger


Phone: +44 (0)20 7898 4445