SOAS University of London

Department of History, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

BA History (2019 entry)

  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Employment


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



Students take 120 credits per year composed of Core, Compulsory and Optional modules.

Core modules: A core module is required for the degree programme, so must always be taken and passed before you move on to the next year of your programme.

Compulsory modules: A compulsory module is required for the degree programme, so must always be taken, and if necessary can be passed by re-taking it alongside the next year of your programme.

Optional modules: These are designed to help students design their own intellectual journey while maintaining a strong grasp of the fundamentals.

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.

When selecting 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 to range more broadly, exploring various topics and regions. There are advantages to both approaches, though ideally students will develop an in-depth knowledge of regional histories but also be able to place these histories in comparative context.

Year 1
Core Module
Compulsory Module
Module Code Credits Term
H102 World Histories - Global Encounters and Connectivities 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


an approved open option module(s) to the value of 30 credits:

Year 2
Core Module
Module Code Credits Term
H201 Historical Research: Approaches and Methods 154800300 15 Term 1
H200 Historical Research Project 154800319 15 Term 2
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
Module Code Credits Term
H400 Special Subject Dissertation 154800311 30 Full Year
H500 Dissertation in History 154800150 30 Full Year
List of Modules (subject to availability)
H1 Regional Introductions Modules
Module Code Credits Term
H110 Introduction to the History of Africa 154800228 15 Term 1
H120 The Confucian World 154800229 15 Term 1
H130 Introduction to the Early History of the Middle East 154800230 15 Term 1
H140 Introduction to the History of South Asia 154800231 15 Term 2
H150 Introduction to the History of Modern East and Southeast Asia 154800323 15 Term 2
H2 Thematic Modules
Module Code Credits Term
H211 Cities in History 154800301 15 Term 1
H212 Frontiers in History 154800302 15 Term 2
H213 Gender in History 154800303 15 Term 2
H214 Violence in History 154800304 15 Term 1
H2 Regional Modules

Modules running in alternate years: H296 (2020-21) and H297 (2021-22) H236 (2020-21) and H293 (2021-22) H235 (2020-21) and H234 (2021-22)

Module Code Credits Term
H234 Colonialism and Culture in Modern South Asia 154800264 15 Term 1
H236 State and Society in Mughal India 154800286 15 Term 2
H248 Nationalism and Revolution in the Modern Middle East, 1914-1979 154800227 15 Term 2
H270 Culture and Society in African History, 1900 to the present 154800244 15 Term 1
H278 Muslim Societies in Africa 154800284 15 Term 2
H280 Atlantic Slavery and its Legacies in West Africa 154800247 15 Term 2
H293 - Empire and Globalisation in the early modern Muslim world 154800313 15 Term 2
H294 - Race, Segregation, and Apartheid in Twentieth-century South Africa 154800317 15 Term 2
H295 - Southern Africa to 1910: colonial rule and social change 154800318 15 Term 1
H296 From Courtesans to Suffragettes: Women in Chinese History, 1600s-1910s 154800320 15 Term 1
H297 Democracy in China 154800281 15 Term 2
Module Code Credits Term
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
H382 Opium and Empires: Eastern Asia's Narcotic Trade and Culture in Global Context 154800294 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.


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

I really wanted to study History of Art and I knew that was my calling. After research, I found out that SOAS was a prestigious school with notable alumni and also that I could study History of Art and Law as a joint degree, which is perhaps the only school in the world that offers this at the BA level.

Guillaume Vandame

Find out more