SOAS University of London

Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures

BA East Asian Studies (2021 entry)

Select year of entry: 2022 2021

  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Employment


Overview and entry requirements

The BA East Asian Studies combines the study of both East Asian languages and East Asia-related subjects in various disciplines. Compared to the existing single-subject BA Chinese, BA Korean and BA Japanese degrees, there is a greater emphasis on gaining a broader understanding of East Asia as a region, across a wide range of disciplines. 

In addition to the disciplinary modules, you will be able to study a Chinese, Japanese or Korean language module each year too. The flexible structure of the degree allows you to study a different language each year or to progress through a sequence of levels in just one language. We can accommodate complete beginners or more experienced learners. Progression through a total of four levels is offered, whereas for those who exceed the highest level, language-based modules in literature and film, as well as a language-based dissertation, are available.

Note that the BA East Asian Studies does not include a year abroad.

See Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures

Why study East Asian Studies at SOAS

  • Ranked 8th in the UK in the 2021 Complete University Guide for East Asian Studies and UK Top 10 in 2021 QS World Universities Rankings
  • SOAS is home to the largest concentration of East Asian specialists in Europe
  • gain a broad understanding of East Asian culture covering subjects including history, popular culture, literature, society, history, and cinema
  • study either one East Asian language or several different languages as part of the degree
  • flexibly structure your programme using our central options modules to take advantage of the expertise of our other departments

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Start of programme: September

Mode of Attendance: Full-time


Entry requirements

  • Interview Policy: Candidates with ‘non-standard’ qualifications may be invited for interview.
A Levels:
35 (665 at HL)

View alternative entry requirements


Access to HE: Minimum of 30 Level 3 Credits at Distinction

Scottish Highers: AAABB

Scottish Advanced Highers: AAB

Irish LC: 340 points from 5 Higher level subjects at grade C1 or above

Advanced Placement: 4 4 5 (Two semesters - UCAS Group A) plus US HSGD with GPA 3.0

Euro Bacc: 80%

French Bacc: 14/20

German Abitur: 2.0

Italy DES: 80/100

Austria Mat: 2.0

Polish Mat: Overall 75% including 3 extended level subjects

Featured events

3 years




  • Year 1: students take 30 credits of East Asian history, 15 credits of academic writing, 30-60 credits of language, and 15 to 45 credits of popular culture.
  • Year 2: student continue with language learning, either on the same langauge as studied in Year 1 or on another East Asian language module at an approved level.  Modules on culture, history, literature are also available this year.
  • Year 3: student continue with language learning, either on the same langauge studies previously or on another East Asian language module at an approved level. Student will write an Independent Study Project in their final year. Further modules on culture, history, literature are also available this year.


Year 1

Year 1: Core Module
Module Code Credits Term
Reading and Writing East Asian Studies 155901439 15 Term 1


Year 1: Compulsory Module
Module Code Credits Term
East Asian Civilizations 155901464 30 Full Year


Language Modules

Sudents will take 30-60 credits of Language Modules form the list below.
Students may take the 60 credit language in year 1 only. This will enable them to transfer to the language programme and go on a year abroad.


Guided Options

Students will take 15-45 credits from the Year 1 Options list below

Year 2

Year 2: Compulsory Modules

Students will take the following compulsory modules

Module Code Credits Term
East Asian Imperialisms 155901481 15 Term 2
Myths, Legends and Folkways of East Asia 155901460 15 Term 1
Contemporary Chinese Society 155901478 15 Term 1
Contemporary Japanese Society 155901479 15 Term 1
Contemporary Korean Society 155901480 15 Term 1


Year 2: Language Modules

Students will take modules to the value of 30 credits from the Language List below


Year 2: Guided Option Module

Students will take a 15 credit module from either the Guided Options List A, Central Options or the Language lists below

Year 3

Year 3: Compulsory Modules

Students will take the following compulsory modules

Module Code Credits Term
History and Memory in East Asian Cultures 155903015 15 Term 2
Independent Study Project in East Asian Studies 155901483 30 Full Year


Year 3: Language Modules

Students will take modules to the value of 30 credits from the Language List below


Year 3: Guided Option Modules

Students will take 15 credit module from List B or language list below.  

Students must also take a further 30 credits from List B/Language List/central options list.

Year 1 Guided option modules
Module Code Credits Term
China in Ten Words: Key Concepts in Chinese Studies 155901461 15 Term 2
K-Culture 155901441 15 Term 2
Cool Japan: Manga, Anime, Sushi 155901416 15 Term 2
List A Guided option modules

Please note: Introduction to Pre-Modern Japanese; Classical and Literary Chinese 1; and Introduction to Hanja can only be taken with the relevant modern language component (and permission).

Module Code Credits Term
Fieldwork methods in language and culture 155901417 15 Term 2
Gender in East Asian Literature (UG) 155901482 15 Term 2
East Asian Cinema (UG) 155901475 15 Term 1
Introduction to Pre-Modern Japanese 155901484 15 Term 2
Classical and Literary Chinese 1 155901456 15 Term 2
Introduction to Hanja 155901442 15 Term 2
List B Guided option modules

(some modules below may have a language requirement)

Module Code Credits Term
Chinese Cinema (UG) 155901474 15 Term 2
Culture and Society of Taiwan 155903020 15 Term 1
New Taiwan Cinema and Beyond 155903011 15 Term 1
Literature, Politics and National Identity in Modern China 155903017 15 Term 1
Murderers, Outlaws, and Magistrates in Traditional Chinese Literature 155901459 15 Term 2
Japanese Cinema (UG) 155901476 15 Term 2
Self, City and Sexuality in Modern Japanese Literature 1868 to present day 155901426 15 Term 1
Writing from the Margins: Minority and "Outsider" Texts in Modern Japanese Literature 155901427 15 Term 2
Modernity, Nation and Identity in Japanese History (1853-1945) 155900882 15 Term 2
Korean Cinema (UG) 155901477 15 Term 1
Culture and Society in Traditional Korea 155901431 15 Term 1
Trajectories of Modernity in Korean Literature and Film 155901390 15 Term 1
Readings in Mixed Script Korean 155901443 15 Term 2
The Other Korea: North Korea since 1945 155901356 15 Term 2
Language Modules
Module Code Credits Term
Ch 100: Elementary Chinese 155901440 60 Full Year
Chinese 1 A 155906022 15 Term 1
Chinese 1 B 155906023 15 Term 2
Chinese 2 155900829 30 Full Year
Chinese 3 155901097 30 Full Year
Chinese 4 155901144 30 Full Year
Chinese 5 155901409 15 Term 1
Ch 200 Intermediate Chinese 155901467 30 Full Year
Chinese for Business 155903010 15 Term 2
Ch 401: Chinese-English Translation 155901469 15 Term 2
Japanese 1 A 155906026 15 Term 1
Japanese 2 155900875 30 Full Year
Japanese 3 155901345 30 Full Year
Japanese 4 155901346 30 Full Year
J401: Japanese-English Translation 155901471 15 Term 2
K100: Elementary Korean 155900842 60 Full Year
Korean 1 A 155906028 15 Term 1
Korean 1 B 155906029 15 Term 2
Korean 2 155901404 30 Full Year
Korean 3 155900843 30 Full Year
Korean 4 155901486 30 Full Year
K200 Intermediate Korean 155901472 30 Full Year
K400: Advanced Korean 155901473 15 Term 1
K401: Korean-English Translation 155901414 15 Term 2
Tibetan (Modern) 1 A 155906024 15 Term 1
Tibetan (Modern) 1 B 155906025 15 Term 2

Important notice

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 and Learning

Teaching & Learning

All full-time undergraduate programmes consist of 120 credits per year, in modules of 60, 30 or 15 credits. They are taught over 10 or 20 weeks. The programme structure shows which modules are taught over one term or the full year. It also shows which modules are compulsory and which are optional.

Contact hours

As a rough guide, 1 credit equals approximately 10 hours of work. Most of this will be independent study (see Approaches to teaching and learning at SOAS). 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.

More information is on the page for each module.

Year abroad

The BA East Asian Studies does not include a year abroad.

SOAS Library

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.



As a graduate who specialised in East Asia, you will have gained competency in language skills and intercultural awareness and understanding. Familiarity with the region will have been developed through a study of language in combination with literature, development studies, economics, geography, history, history of art and archaeology, law, linguistics, music, politics, social anthropology or religion.

Skills gained

Graduates leave SOAS not only with linguistic and cultural expertise, but also with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek in many professional and management careers, both in business and in the public sector. These include:

  • written and oral communication skills
  • attention to detail
  • analytical and problem-solving skills
  • ability to research, amass and order information from a variety of sources.


Graduates have gone on to work for a range of organisations including:

  • Allen and Overy LLP
  • BBC
  • China-Eu School of Law
  • ChinaContact Consulting
  • Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Dah Sing Financial Holdings Ltd
  • Embassy of Belgium
  • Foreign & Commonwealth Office
  • German Embassy Tokyo
  • Goldman Sachs International
  • Halo Associates (Asia) Ltd
  • Independent Power Corporation PLC
  • Oxford University Press
  • SiChuan WenJun Spirits Company
  • The International Herald Tribune
  • The University of Hong Kong
  • United Nations Population Fund
  • University of Cambridge
  • Washington State House of Representatives.


The types of roles that graduates have gone on to do are very wide and include:

  • Editor and Translator
  • Under Secretary
  • Director of Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Solicitor
  • Medical Secretary
  • Press Attache
  • Regional Chief of Photography
  • Project Manager
  • Economic Counsellor
  • Lecturer
  • Professional Translator
  • Director of Research for China
  • Social Worker
  • Head, Asia Programme
  • Photographer
  • Professorial Research AssociateSenior Lecturer in Chinese Archaeology
  • Energy Consultant
  • Independent Columnist and Reporter
  • Art Curator

Find out more on our Careers Service website.

A Student's Perspective

The best thing about my time here is that there has been a huge improvement in my language skills and I have become more aware of people from various backgrounds. 

Alice Yuen

Find out more