Programme Code: V100BA/H
Start of programme: September
Mode of Attendance: Full-time
From the Crusades to the modern Middle East; fourteenth-century indigenous warfare to twentieth-century Islam in South East Asia; the Mughal Empire to Gandhi; Atlantic slavery and Muslim societies in West Africa to modern China and Japan, History at SOAS offers its students a unique window on the world. Studying the BA History at SOAS will provide you with a sound foundation in the historical discipline, engaging in subject matters ranging from economics, religion, and culture to frontiers, cities, and gender from a global perspective rather than a euro-centric one. You will be able to develop your understanding of the fascinating, interlinked histories of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East and their significance in our world today.
Why study History at SOAS?
- our unrivalled focus on the study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East will help you cultivate a more critical understanding of the diversity of cultures and societies in the world today, the historical processes that have produced this diversity, and the importance of historical context in understanding past and present
- our academic staff are specialists in the history of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East
- the flexible structure of your programme allows you to use our Open Options modules to take advantage of the global expertise of one of our other departments, including the opportunity to learn a new language
- we are specialists in the delivery of languages. Your command of a language from SOAS will set you apart from graduates of other universities
Apply now via UCAS or visit SOAS at an upcoming Open Day.
Find out more about how to apply.
Visit our History department page to find out more.
Students take 120 credits per year composed of core and optional modules, which allows you to design your own intellectual journey while maintaining a strong grasp of the fundamentals of History. (Please note that 30 credits equal one unit in the table below)
In the first year, students take introductory modules only, moving on to intermediate level modules in the second year, and then to advanced modules in their final year.
How to structure your programme?
In choosing your modules, some students choose to focus mainly on one region (Africa, Near and Middle East, South, Southeast or East Asia) or topic (e.g. Islam, violence and warfare, gender, modernity). Others choose a broader approach, exploring various topics and regions. There are advantages to both approaches, though ideally you will develop an in-depth knowledge of regional histories but also be able to place these histories in comparative context.
Open option modules are modules from outside of this degree programme, typically language modules or non-history modules in other departments. Open option modules may constitute part of your credits, however can constitute no more than 30 credits per year and can only be taken if you have satisfied the History component of your programme.
Year 1 - You must choose four 100-level modules, including:
- H101 Approaching History (30 credits)
- H102 History of the World (30 credits)
- two further regional introductory History modules (100-level)
- OR one regional introductory History module (100-level) plus an approved open option
Year 2 - You must choose four 200-level modules, including:
- H201 Historical Research: Approaches, Methods, Design (30 credits)
- two modules (15 credits each) drawn from the intermediate thematic modules, including ‘Cities in History’; ‘Frontiers in History’; ‘Gender in History’; ‘Violence in History’
- two further regional introductory History modules (200-level)
- OR a regional module and an approved open option
Year 3 - You must choose four modules, including:
- a 'Special Subject' taught module (300-level)
- and a History dissertation, which is EITHER a 400-level Special Subject Long Essay linked to the 300-level taught course OR an Independent Study Project (H500)
- two 200-level modules
- OR one 200-level module and an approved open option
Compulsory Introductory Modules
Introductory History Modules (100-level)
Compulsory 2nd Year Module
Intermediate History Modules (200-level)
H21* 2nd Year Thematic Modules
H23* - H29* 2nd Year Modules
Advanced History Modules (300-level)
ISP and Special Subjects (400-level)
Teaching & Learning
Recommended Pre-Entry Reading:
- JR McNeill and WH McNeill, The Human Web: A Bird’s Eye View of World History (2003)
- John Darwin, After Tamerlane: The Rise and Fall of Global Empires (2007)
- CA Bayly, The Birth of the Modern World, 1780-1914 (2004)
- Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities (1991)
- John Iliffe, Africans: The History of a Continent (2007)
- Albert Hourani, A History of the Arab Peoples (1991)
- Barbara D and Thomas R Metcalf, A Concise History of India (2002)
- MC Ricklefs et al., A New History of Southeast Asia (2010)
- Charles Holcombe, A History of East Asia (2017)
- J Black and DM MacRaild, Studying History (2007)
Modules are taught through a combination of lectures and tutorials, usually one hour a week of each. Sometimes, one follows the other in a two-hour bloc. Sometimes, the tutorial is at a different time or on a different day than the lecture.
Tutorials are sessions in which students are expected to present reports and take a lead in discussions.
Depending on the size of the class, some intermediate and advanced level modules are less strictly divided between a formal lecture and a tutorial discussion, and instead, the topic is briefly introduced by the lecturer, followed by a seminar discussion. Advanced level modules, which are usually taught in one two-hour bloc, often take this format.
These are assessed through a combination of essays, oral presentations on selected readings or topics and a three-hour examination, taken in Term 3. Introductory modules are not open to second- and third-year History students.
These provide specialised study in particular themes and in the history of particular regions, building on the introductory courses. With the exception of the methodological core course (H201) that is entirely assessed through coursework, intermediate-level courses are assessed by a combination of coursework and exams, taken in Term 3. The weighting of assessment between essays and examination varies, with coursework essays counting for between 40 per cent and 60 per cent of the total mark. For the specifics of each module see the individual module unit listings.
Advanced-level modules, so called ‘special subjects,’ focus on the reading and use of original historical documents, so-called ‘primary sources’. The 300-level modules are in-depth explorations of a specific topic, taught in seminar-style. They are assessed in the same way as intermediate-level modules, i.e., a varying combination of essays and a final examination.
The History Dissertation
In their final year, all single-subject History students have to write a 10,000 word dissertation. This can either be:
- a 400-level module, i.e. a dissertation linked to a 300-level ‘special subject’ module, or
- a 500-level Independent Study Project (ISP), which provides an opportunity for students to conduct original historical research on their own initiative, to engage in in-depth analysis of a particular subject and to use a range of primary historical sources
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 undergraduate tuition fees can be found on the Registry's Undergraduate Tuition Fees page.
Fees for 2017/18 entrants. The fees below are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year.
|BA, BSc, LLB
|BA/BSc Language Year Abroad
Application Deadline: 2017-04-17 17:00
For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section
An undergraduate degree in History from SOAS will give you specialist knowledge of the history and broad cultural sensibilities of a region.
Skills gained include:
- expertise in historical subject matter, interpretation and methodology from different topical perspectives
- an in-depth understanding and appreciation of the history of Africa, Asia and the Near and Middle East
- competence to manage large quantities of information and the ability to select and organise information
- research methodologies
Find out more about History Graduate Destinations
Graduates have gone on to work for a range of organisations including:
- Blackstock PR
- British Council
- Ernst and Young
- International Society for Water Solutions (ISWS)
- Middle East Consultancy Services
- Oxford Policy Management
- Shed Productions Ltd (Independent UK television production company)
Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:
- Account Executive
- Business Development Manager
- Conference Producer
- Finance Researcher
- Freelance TV Researcher
- Public Relations and Policy Manager
- Production Editor
- Trainee Accountant
A Student's Perspective
It’s a global experience and, thankfully, everyone is included, no matter what their colour, religion, or ‘class’.