The SOAS MA programme in Taiwan Studies is the first postgraduate degree focussing on contemporary Taiwan in the English speaking world. It provides an unrivalled programme of advanced interdisciplinary courses on Taiwan’s politics, society and culture, film, rights and law, and languages. SOAS is the world’s leading centre for the study of Taiwan. Each year its Centre of Taiwan Studies runs a very vibrant series of academic events, film screenings, concerts and conferences that are designed to create a unique environment for the study of Taiwan.
Why study Taiwan?
Taiwan occupies a critical geo-strategic position in the Asia-Pacific Region and the development of its relationship with Mainland China, as well as the countries of North East and South East Asia is already an important shaping influence on economic and political developments throughout the region. Analysis of the development experience of contemporary Taiwan serves to highlight a unique, but transferable model of economic growth, social transformation and political modernisation.
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Centre of Taiwan Studies at SOAS University of London
Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings
Start of programme: September intake only
Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time
- We will consider all applications with 2:ii (or international equivalent) or higher. In addition to degree classification we take into account other elements of the application including supporting statement and references.
- One calendar year (full-time)
Two or three years (part-time daytime only)
Introducing MA in Taiwan Studies
The SOAS MA in Taiwan Studies is the only postgraduate degree with a focus on Taiwan in any European or American university. Reader in Comparative Politics, Dr Dafydd Fell, explains why SOAS is recognised as the world’s leading institution for Taiwan Studies.
What does the course involve?
The SOAS MA programme in Taiwan Studies is the first postgraduate degree focusing on contemporary Taiwan in the English-speaking world. It provides an unrivalled programme of advanced interdisciplinary courses on Taiwan’s politics, society and culture, film, rights and law, and languages.
Over the year, students will learn about Taiwan through the lens of a range of academic disciplines and theoretical approaches. They will then develop their own dissertation research project on a specific aspect of Taiwan that they find especially interesting.
What makes this course popular?
SOAS has the widest range of postgraduate courses focused on Taiwan and these are generally courses not available at any other university.
SOAS has more Taiwan specialists than any other European or American university. The teaching team includes some of the world’s leading Taiwan Studies scholars and this means that there is a close link between their research and teaching. In our end of year surveys, students always comment on how passionate the teaching team is.
SOAS is the world’s leading centre for the study of Taiwan. Its Centre of Taiwan Studies runs a very vibrant series of academic events, film screenings, and conferences that are designed to create a unique environment for the study of Taiwan. Each year the Centre hosts at least 50 academic events, many of which are closely related to the courses. This means that over the year students will meet many of the leading figures in the field of Taiwan Studies.
Students are also encouraged to join conferences to present their own research such as the European Association of Taiwan Studies or the SOAS Taiwan Studies Summer School. Students often comment on how this experience helped them to develop their dissertation research.
What facilities are available?
SOAS has one of the best library collections on Taiwan of any European or American university. For instance, in conjunction with the National Central Library in Taiwan it has established the Taiwan Resource Centre for Chinese Studies. This includes not only a wide selection of Chinese language books related to the Taiwan courses but also an extensive collection of Taiwanese films and documentaries. The Taiwan collections in the SOAS Archives are another unique feature.
One of the things that makes SOAS unique is the range of language courses available. In addition to Chinese and Japanese language classes, the students can take a year-long course in Hokkien (Taiwanese). SOAS is the only university in Europe or America to offer such a course!
How does the course prepare students for employment?
The MA Taiwan Studies aims to show students how to understand Taiwan from a range of academic disciplines. The SOAS programme provides students with a portfolio of widely transferable skills, which employers seek, including analytical and critical skills; the ability to gather, assess and interpret data; a high level of cultural awareness; and problem-solving. We particularly focus on developing students’ communication skills over the year. Former students have often told me how valuable the experience of giving first class presentations and later public research talks was in their subsequent careers.
What do graduates go on to do?
Graduates from MA Taiwan Studies have gone on to work in a range of careers. One of the most common trends has been that students get inspired by their dissertation research to go on to do PhDs with a focus on Taiwan. Others have gone on to work in the media, civil service or in think-tanks. A large proportion of our graduates has gone on to work or study in East Asia, especially in Taiwan.
What qualities are you looking for in prospective students?
We are looking for students with a passion for studying Taiwan. Because our programme includes courses from a range of disciplines, so students on the programme tend to come from diverse academic backgrounds. When writing your support statement, I want to know how you became interested in Taiwan? What books about Taiwan have you enjoyed? What kind of topics might you look at in your dissertation research? We want to teach students that are as enthusiastic as we are about our topic.
Students take 180 credits, 60 of which are a dissertation and a 120 from taught modules. Students should follow the programme structure set out below.
Students complete a dissertation on their chosen major.
All students will take modules to the value of 30 credits from List B or open option if approved by programme convenor
List of modules (subject to availability)
Anthropology and Sociology
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
- Students will learn how to assess data and evidence critically from manuscripts and digital sources, solve problems of conflicting sources and conflicting interpretations, locate materials, use research sources(particularly research library catalogues)and other relevant traditional sources.
- Student will be knowledgeable in Aspects of Taiwan’s history, economics, political, education and legal systems, literature, visual and popular culture , and anthropology.
Intellectual (thinking) Skills
- Students should become precise and cautious and critical in their assessment of evidence.
- Students should question interpretations, however authoritative, and reassess evidence for themselves.
- Apply language learning skills to new situations to work out meanings in new oral or written texts.
Subject-based Practical skills
The programme aims to help students with the following practical skills:
- Communicate effectively in writing.
- Retrieve, sift and select information from a variety of sources.
- Present seminar papers.
- Listen and discuss ideas introduced during seminars.
- To work effectively within time restraints.
- Practice research techniques in a variety of specialized research libraries and institutes.
The programme will encourage students to:
- Write good essays and dissertations.
- Structure and communicate ideas effectively both orally and in writing.
- Understand unconventional ideas.
- Study a variety of written and digital materials, in libraries and research institutes of a kind they will not have used as undergraduates.
- Present (non-assessed) material orally.
A postgraduate degree in Taiwan studies from SOAS equips students with essential skills such as competency in language skills and intercultural awareness and understanding. Familiarity with the region will have been developed through a combination of the study of language, literature, history, cinema, politics, economics or law.
Postgraduate students gain linguistic and cultural expertise enabling them to continue in the field of research or to seek professional and management careers in business, public and charity sectors. They leave SOAS with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek, including written and oral communication skills; attention to detail; analytical and problem solving skills; and the ability to research, amass and order information from a variety of sources.
A postgraduate degree is a valuable experience that provides students with a body of work and a diverse range of skills that they can use to market themselves with when they graduate.
For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.
A Student's Perspective
When I first arrived in London, I didn’t know many people but SOAS soon felt like home. As the campus itself is quite small, students develop a strong sense of community, as if they were all part of a large eccentric family. Also, given the nature of our studies, people here are extremely diverse, friendly and open-minded. You can tell that everyone is really passionate and enthusiastic about what they do. It’s very contagious and inspirational.