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

Fees: £5,150 per module


Asian Art Diploma Image

This postgraduate programme offers a unique opportunity to study the arts of Asia and the Islamic world with lectures by leading scholars in the field.

The course will provide an object-based learning experience through direct access to the reserved collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) and the British Museum.

The lecture programme is supported by field trips to museums, galleries and private collections. The course is designed to train museum curators or serious collectors. It will also prepare students for work in a variety of professions in the art and the museum world and provides a pathway to the master’s degree for those with no background in the subject.

Museums and curators in Asia, and museums specialising in non-Western collections elsewhere, will find it an attractive, object-focused training opportunity for enhancing curatorial skills in the study, display and cataloguing of art objects in a fully-resourced academic environment.

Students can choose one or more in combination of the three-month modules on offer annually, which are listed below. Those who successfully complete a single module will be awarded a certificate. Students successfully completing any three of the modules below will be awarded a SOAS (University of London) accredited Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art.

The modules offered are:

  • Indian Art Module ONLINE (runs annually) 5 October -23 December 2020
  • Chinese Art Module (runs annually) 11 January - 4 April 2021
  • Japanese & Korean Art Module 26 April - 18 July 2021
  • Buddhist Art Module 26 April - 18 July 2021
  • Indian Art Module (runs annually) 4 October -22 December 2021
  • Chinese Art Module (runs annually) 10 January - 3 April 2022
  • Islamic Art Module 25 April -17 July 2022
  • Southeast Asian Art Module 25 April -17 July 2022


  • To develop a sound visual method for analysing and documenting works of art;
  • To develop visual skills through the direct examination of objects;
  • To develop research skills using primary and secondary sources;
  • To develop writing and communication skills: to formulate and structure an academic viewpoint and to use visual analysis to support and document this argument;
  • To develop in students an understanding of certain museum skills such as the cataloguing of objects; the selection of objects for an exhibition, and putting material objects in their cultural context.


Issues and themes dealt with in weekly lectures are developed further through frequent visits to museum collections, revision sessions and seminars. Lectures are given by museum curators, university lecturers and international experts and are (generally from 10:00 to 15:30) on three and a half days a week. The weekly review sessions with course tutors involve revision, slide tests and seminars. Students have regular access to the study of objects in the reserve collections at the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) and guided visits to other museums. Field trips and formal and informal tutorials are also part of the programme.

Contact us

Course Director - Dr Malcolm McNeill
Diploma Manager - Patrick Monger


Phone: +44 (0)20 7898 4445/4451