This programme is a unique opportunity to study the History of Art and/or Archaeology of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Students concentrate on architecture, sculpture, painting and the decorative arts and have the option of pursuing topics and approaches more archaeological in focus. They consider theoretical and methodological questions and are invited to question the relevance of the disciplinary distinction between History of Art and Archaeology to the study of the non-Western world. Courses cover a time period spanning from antiquity to present-day, contemporary art.
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 Masters 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 postgraduates progress to 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. Our Masters programmes are also an excellent foundation for MPhil/PhD research.
Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings
Start of programme: September intake only
Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time
- The normal qualification for admission to the MA programme is an upper second class honours degree. Other qualifications, however, may be acceptable and the Department welcomes mature students. Students taking the MA degree may or may not have previous experience of our subjects. While knowledge of a relevant Asian or African language is not a requirement, for some modules it is an advantage for admission (see individual module descriptions for details). It is possible to include an element of language training within the MA programme by taking an Asian or African language as one of the two ‘minor’ modules. This option may be particularly desirable for those intending to progress to the PhD, who do not already have the necessary language skills.
- One year (full-time). Two or three years (part-time, daytime only)
- UK/EU fees:
- Overseas fees:
Fees for 2020/21 entrants. This is a Band 1 fee. The fees are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. Further details can be found in the Fees and Funding tab on this page or in the Registry Postgraduate Tuition Fees page
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.
Students must complete 120 credits of MA taught modules in addition to the compulsory dissertation (60 credits).
Students may be allowed to study for the MA on a part-time basis.
- The part-time MA may be taken over two years, in which case the student takes two 30 credits modules (or equivalent 15 credits modules) in the first year, and two 30 credits modules (or equivalent 15 credits modules) and the dissertation in the second year.
- Alternatively, it can be taken over three years, in which case the student can distribute the 120 credits modules evenly in each of the three years. The dissertation can be written in year two or three, but it is strongly recommended that this be undertaken in the final year of the programme. It must be submitted in September of the year in which the student registers for it.
Choose modules to the value of 75 credits from list of Art & Archaeology options.
Choose modules to the value of 45 credits from options in other departments:
List of Art & Archaeology modules
Options in Other Departments
Study of Religions
China and Asia
Japan and Korea
Near & Middle East
South and South East Asia
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 & Learning
All Masters programmes consist of 180 credits, made up of taught modules of 30 or 15 credits, taught over 10 or 20 weeks, and a dissertation of 60 credits. 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, including reading and research, preparing coursework, revising for examinations and so on. 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. At SOAS, most postgraduate modules have a one hour lecture and a one hour seminar every week, but this does vary.
More information is on the page for each module.
Teaching consists of a combination of lectures and seminars. Classes are normally between two and three hours per week for each module. Teaching methods include lectures with discussion, seminars (at which students present papers) and museum visits. Students at all levels are expected to take an active part in class presentations. A particularly important element is the training of the student's visual memory.
In addition to their studies on the MA programme, students at SOAS can participate in a wide range of research seminars, lectures and conferences that regularly take place in the School and in the University of London.
For each of the three taught modules, the student will be expected to submit two or three pieces of written work usually around 3,000 to 4,500 words – for a total of 9,000 words per module. The emphasis is on developing essay skills during the session in preparation for the dissertation. In some modules the assessment is 100% on written work. On other modules, assessed course work forms 75% of the student’s final grade and an additional 25% is determined by slide quizzes, projects or other forms of assessment. The 10,000 word dissertation is submitted in September.
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 postgraduate tuition fees can be found on the Registry's Postgraduate Tuition Fees page.
This is a Band 1 tuition fee.
Fees for 2020/21 entrants. The fees below are per academic year. Fees go up each year, therefore, your tuition fee in your second & subsequent years of study will be higher. Our continuing students, on the same degree programme, are protected from annual increases higher than 5%.
||Part-time 2 Years
||Part-time 3 Years
||Part-time 4 Years
Intensive Language only
For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section