SOAS University of London

International Foundation Courses and English Language Studies

World History

This is a course for people who want to understand why the world is structured the way that it is. 

This course will provide insights into the events, people and cultures that have shaped the modern world.  The course examines the history of the world since the fifteenth century looking at the rise and fall of political and economic systems in this long period.  

The first term looks at the world up to 1763 studying the Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Ottoman, Safavid, Mughal, Spanish, Portuguese, French and British empires.  This term will observe the strength of the non-European systems and the overall weakness of Europe in comparison.  

The second term will consider and attempt to explain the rise of European (and US) power in the world and the last term focuses on our legacy from this imperial past.

Throughout the course we will examine the debates generated by historians as they attempt to explain these huge changes and students will be encouraged to think critically about the opinions offered by various thinkers.  This course provides an ideal introduction to the study of history and will encourage you to think about the world around


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules