SOAS University of London

Department of History, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

BA History (2019 entry)

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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.

Programme Code: V100BA/H

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Start of programme: September

Mode of Attendance: Full-time

Entry requirements

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

Fees 2020/21

UK/EU fees:
Overseas fees:

Fees for 2020/21 entrants. The fees are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. Further details can be found in the Fees and Funding tab on this page or in the Registry Undergraduate Tuition Fees page



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)

And either:

  • 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’

And either:

  • 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)

And either:

  • two 200-level modules
  • OR one 200-level module and an approved open option
Year 1
Core Module
Module Code Credits Term
H101 Approaching History 154800292 30 Full Year
Compulsory Module
Module Code Credits Term
H102 World histories: the view from Africa and Asia 154800293 30 Full Year
Compulsory Module

Choose from List H1 Regional Introduction module below to the value of 30 credits


Choose from List H1 Regional Introduction module below to the value of 30 credits

Year 2
Core Module
Module Code Credits Term
H201 Historical Research: Approaches and Methods 154800300 15 Term 1
Compulsory Module

Choose from List H2 Thematic Modules below to the value of 30 credits


Choose from List H2 Regional Module below to the value of 30 credits


Choose from List H2 Regional Module below to the value of 30 credits

Open Options

Choose related Language or Non-Language open option modules to the value of 30 credits

Year 3

Choose from List H3 module below to the value of 30 credits

Core Module

Choose from List H4 (long essay) module linked to the chosen H3 module to the value of 30 credits


Choose from List H5 ISP module below to the value of 30


Choose from List H2 Regional Module below to the value of 30 credits


Choose from List H2 Regional Module below to the value of 30 credits

Open Options

Choose related Language or Non-Language open option modules to the value of 30 credits

List of Modules (subject to availability)
H1 Regional Introductions Modules
Module Code Credits Term
H110 Introduction to the History of Africa 154800228 15 Full Year
H120 The Confucian World 154800229 15 Full Year
H130 Introduction to the Early History of the Middle East 154800230 15 Full Year
H140 Introduction to the History of South Asia 154800231 15 Full Year
H150 Introduction to the History of South East Asia 154800232 30 Full Year
H2 Thematic Modules
Module Code Credits Term
H211 Cities in History 154800301 15 Term 2
H212 Frontiers in History 154800302 15 Term 2
H213 Gender in History 154800303 15 Term 1
H214 Violence in History 154800304 15 Term 1
H2 Regional Modules
Module Code Credits Term
H234 Colonialism and Culture in Modern South Asia 154800264 15 Full Year
H236 State and Society in Mughal India 154800286 15 Term 2
H241 Crusades, Conquest and Coexistence in the Middle East, 1050-1291 154800254 15 Full Year
H246 Cities of Paradise and Empire 154800211 30 Full Year
H247 Medieval Iran: Nomads, Settlers and Dynasts 154800222 30 Full Year
H248 Nationalism and Revolution in the Modern Middle East, 1914-1979 154800227 15 Term 2
H354 Indigenous Warfare & Society In Early Mod S.east Asia, 1300-1830 154800240 1.0
H270 Culture and Society in African History, 1900 to the present 154800244 15 Term 1
H278 Muslim Societies in Africa 154800284 15 Full Year
H280 Atlantic Slavery and its Legacies in West Africa 154800247 15 Term 2
H297 Mao's China, 1890s-1970s 154800281 15 Term 2
Module Code Credits Term
H334 The Mongols and the Islamic World (I) 154800290 30 Full Year
H335 Gandhi and Gandhism 154800103 30 Full Year
H337 Histories of Partition: India and Pakistan 1947 (I) 154800282 30 Full Year
H343 Reform, Resistance and Revolution: the Ottoman Empire 1876-1909 (I) 154800197 30 Full Year
H348 Rulers, Rebels and Scholars in Early Islam (I) 154800277 30 Full Year
H379 Asante, the Gold Coast and the British, 1807-1935 (I) 154800217 30 Full Year
H4 Dissertation or H5 ISP
Module Code Credits Term
H500 Independent Study Project in History 154800150 30 Full Year

Programme Specification

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

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.

Introductory modules

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.

Intermediate-level modules

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

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

Learning Resources

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.

Fees and funding


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
  • Bonhams
  • British Council
  • Ernst and Young
  • HSBC
  • 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
  • Copywriter
  • Finance Researcher
  • Freelance TV Researcher
  • Public Relations and Policy Manager
  • Production Editor
  • Trainee Accountant

A Student's Perspective

Studying history at SOAS has made me realise how connected the world really is and how important it is to study ‘the other side of the world’.

Amrit Kaur Lohia


Find out more

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    By email:
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