Introduction to Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Year 1
Module code

Module overview

This module introduces students to the Social Science, Arts and Humanities disciplines taught in the School. Students develop an understanding of how each discipline approaches the study of major global issues such as migration, human rights, the environment and the nation-state. They consider how the disciplines relate to each other and gain an insight into the value of different disciplinary perspectives. Students are introduced to the key skills required for studying the different disciplines. The taster of each discipline that they receive helps inform their degree choice after the foundation year, while the module’s global focus provides a basis for later choices about regions and topics that students may wish to study in more detail. The different disciplines are organized into a series of broad thematic approaches focusing on History, Economics, Society, Politics and Culture.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:

  1. Describe the different Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities disciplines.
  2. Discuss how the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities approach the study of major global issues.
  3. Employ a wide range of academic skills and techniques appropriate for UG study in the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities.

Explain how the learning outcomes fit with the programme(s) for which the module will be available:

The knowledge and understanding delivered in the module and the skills to be developed have been determined with the programme aims in mind – including the overall aim of preparing students for UG study at SOAS. The introduction to the different disciplines and approaches will prepare students for the UG programme of their choosing and help inform their degree choice.


  • Lectures: 1 hour per week
  • Seminars: 2 hours per week

Scope and syllabus

  • What are the Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities?
  • Disciplinarity and interdisciplinarity
  • Studying global themes and issues through the Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities
  • History (HRP)
  • Economics (DEV)
  • Society (ANT)
  • Politics (POL)
  • Culture: Language (LCL, EAL), Music (ART), History of Art (ART), Religion and Philosophy (HRP)

Method of assessment

  • Essay (30%) – 1250 words
  • Portfolio (70%) – 3000 words


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules