SOAS University of London

Department of History

BA History and ...

3 or 4 years

Fees 2017/18

UK/EU fees:
Overseas fees:

Fees for 2017/18 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

2017 Entry requirements

  • Subjects Preferred: No
A Levels:
33 (5/5/5)

View alternative entry requirements


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

Scottish Highers: AABBB

Scottish Advanced Highers: ABB

Irish LC: 320 points from 5 Higher level subjects at grade C1 or above

Advanced Placement: 4 4 4 (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

  • Overview
  • Combinations
  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Fees and funding
  • Employment
  • Apply


Mode of Attendance: Full-time

The two-subject history degree provides a high standard of training in history as an academic discipline and develops in students an in-depth understanding and appreciation of the history of Africa and Asia and combines it with the study of another discipline or language (see the combinations tab for details).

The BA History modules offer students different approaches to historical subject matter, interpretation and methodology—from the different perspectives of, for instance, economic history or the history of religion and culture. Undergraduate courses also follow a principle of progression.

The SOAS History Department is one of only a handful of universities to achieve the highest 5* rating in the 2001 government assessment of research in UK universities and unique in its expertise in African and Asian history.

Key Information Set Data

The information for BA, BSc, or LLB programmes refer to data taken from the single subject degrees offered at SOAS; however, due to the unique nature of our programmes many subjects have a separate set of data when they are studied alongside another discipline.  In order to get a full picture of their chosen subject(s) applicants are advised to look at both sets of information where these occur.


Key Information Set Data

Please see the Unistats data for the various combinations of this programme under the Combinations tab.


May be combined with:

+ 4-year degree with (compulsory) one year abroad
++ 3 or 4-year degree with option of one year abroad
** Taught at King’s College London

Key Information Set data

Click on a combined programme to load KIS data


General Structure

The learning outcome of this degree is cumulative in terms of knowledge, and the modules aim at enabling students with cognitive skills essential to the understanding of the subject.  This is reflected in the levels of the modules. In the first year, students take introductory modules only, moving on to intermediate level modules in the second year, and then to advanced modules (and perhaps another intermediate module or two) in their final year.

In choosing their modules, some students choose to focus mainly on one region (Africa, Near and Middle East, Southeast or East Asia) or theme (Islam, modernisation and modernity). But others choose to range more broadly, exploring various themes and parts of the world. There are advantages to both approaches, developing an in-depth knowledge of one particular region but also being able to place its history in comparative context.

The maximum number of history modules a three-year joint-degree student may take is eight, and the minimum number is four. However, for a well-balanced degree students are advised to choose between five and seven history modules.

Some language degrees (including joint-degrees in history and a language) are taught over the usual three years. Others are taught over four years, including a year abroad. In the case of the latter, the minimum number of history modules that must be taken is the same as that for a three-year degree, i.e. four modules. During the year abroad for language training, no history modules are required.

Year 1: Students take two of a number of introductory modules. These include H101 Approaching History (compulsory core module), plus EITHER H102 History of the World OR one of the modules designed to introduce the student to the history of a specific region:: Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, East Asia, and South East Asia

The exception here is that in some language degrees, students are required to take three modules in that language in the first year. In those cases, students taking a joint degree in history and a language will take just one history module, which must be the core module H101 Approaching History..

Year 2: Normally, students will take two history modules at intermediate level, a Group Study Project is also an option.

Year 3: Depending on the number of history modules taken in the second year, students will take between one and four modules at advanced and intermediate levels. A 400-level dissertation module may be taken in conjunction with a 300-level module to form a Special Subject although for joint degree students the Special Subject is not compulsory. Students also have the option of doing an Independent Study Project (ISP: 10,000-word essay on an approved topic).

Typical Programme Detail

Year 1
  • H101 Approaching History – core​ and compulsory​
  • 1 ​u​nit​ drawn from​ ​the other introductory module​s​ (​H102-H150)
  • 2 units from the other subject
Year 2
  • H201 Historical Research: Approach​es​, Methods, Design - core​ and compulsory
  • 1 ​unit drawn from the other intermediate thematic or regional modules (​H2​1* - H29*)
  • 2 units from the other subject
Year 3
  • 1 ​unit chosen from the H3**​ ​taught modules ('special subjects') -​ ​core​ and compulsory
  • 1 Unit ​drawn from EITHER the intermediate regional modules (H23* - H29*), OR the H4** module ('long essay') linked to the H3** module​, OR the H5** Independent Study Project
  • 2 units from the other subject.

Course Groupings

Introductory History (100-level)
Compulsory Introductory Modules
Module Code Unit value Term Availability
H101 Approaching History 154800292 1 UnitFull Year
H102 - The History of the World 154800293 1 UnitFull Year
H110 Introduction to the History of Africa 154800228 1 UnitFull Year
H120 Introduction to the History of East Asia 154800229 1 UnitFull Year
H130 Introduction to the History of the Near and Middle East 154800230 1 UnitFull Year
H140 Introduction to the History of South Asia 154800231 1 UnitFull Year
H150 Introduction to the History of South East Asia 154800232 1 UnitFull Year
H200 Group Study Project in History 154800202 1 UnitFull Year Not Running 2017/2018
Compulsory 2nd Year Module
Module Code Unit value Term Availability
H201 Historical Research: Approaches, Methods, Design 154800300 1 UnitFull Year
Intermediate History Modules (200-level)
Module Code Unit value Term Availability
H211 Cities in History 154800301 0.5 UnitsTerm 2
H212 Frontiers in History 154800302 0.5 UnitsTerm 2
H213 Gender in History 154800303 0.5 UnitsTerm 1
H214 Violence in History 154800304 0.5 UnitsTerm 1
H234 Culture and Identity in Modern South Asia 1800-2000 154800264 1 UnitFull Year
H236 State and Society in Mughal India 154800286 1 UnitFull Year
H246 Cities of Paradise and Empire 154800211 1 UnitFull Year Not Running 2017/2018
H247 Medieval Iran: Nomads, Settlers and Dynasts 154800222 1 UnitFull Year
H248 The Making of the Modern Middle East 154800227 1 UnitFull Year
H253 Islam in Southeast Asia, 1760s-1960s 154800212 1 UnitFull Year Not Running 2017/2018
H335 Gandhi and Gandhism 154800103 1 UnitFull Year Not Running 2017/2018
H241 The Middle East in the Period of the Crusades, 1050-1291 154800254 1 UnitFull Year Not Running 2017/2018
H254 Indigenous Warfare & Society in Early Modern Southeast Asia, 1300-1830 154800240 1 UnitFull Year Not Running 2017/2018
H270 Society and Culture in Twentieth-Century Africa 154800244 1 UnitFull Year
H275 Race, Class and Culture in the History of Southern Africa 154800221 1 UnitFull Year
H278 Muslim Societies in West Africa 154800284 1 UnitFull Year
H280 Atlantic Slavery and Its Legacies: Western Africa Ca 1500-2000 154800247 1 UnitFull Year
H283 Modern Japan 154800233 1 UnitFull Year
H297 Modern China 154800281 1 UnitFull Year
Islamic Reform Movements in Modern Africa 158000190 0.5 UnitsTerm 1 Not Running 2017/2018
Advanced History Modules (300-level)
Module Code Unit value Term Availability
H382 Opium and Empires: Eastern Asia's Narcotic Trade and Culture in Global Context 154800294 1 UnitFull Year Not Running 2017/2018
H398 - The Vietnam War and Asia I 154800295 1 UnitFull Year
H333 Urban Modern Eastern Asia (I) 154800288 1 UnitFull Year Not Running 2017/2018
H343 Reform, Resistance and Revolution: the Ottoman Empire 1876-1909 (I) 154800197 1 UnitFull Year
H337 Histories of Partition: India and Pakistan 1947 (I) 154800282 1 UnitFull Year
H348 Rulers, Rebels and Scholars in Early Islam (I) 154800277 1 UnitFull Year
H353 The Creation of Modern Burma 1852-C.1941 (I) 154800252 1 UnitFull Year Not Running 2017/2018
H334 The Mongols and the Islamic World (I) 154800290 1 UnitFull Year
H378 Violence, Identity & Politics in Modern East and Northeast Africa (I) 154800262 1 UnitFull Year
H379 Asante, the Gold Coast and the British, 1807-1935 (I) 154800217 1 UnitFull Year Not Running 2017/2018
ISP and Special Subjects (400-level)
Module Code Unit value Term Availability
H500 Independent Study Project (Asian and African History) 154800150 1 UnitFull Year
H498 - The Vietnam War and Asia II 154800296 1 UnitFull Year
H435 Gandhi And Gandhiism II
H437 Histories of Partition: India and Pakistan 1947 (II) 154800283 1 UnitFull Year
H443 Reform, Resistance and Revolution: the Ottoman Empire 1876-1909 (II) 154800198 1 UnitFull Year
H434 The Mongols and the Islamic World (II) 154800291 1 UnitFull Year
H448 Rulers, Rebels and Scholars in Early Islam (II) 154800280 1 UnitFull Year
H453 The Creation of Modern Burma 1852-C.1941 (II) 154800253 1 UnitFull Year Not Running 2017/2018
H478 Violence, Identity & Politics in Modern East and Northeast Africa (II) 154800263 1 UnitFull Year
H479 Asante, the Gold Coast and the British, 1807-1935 (II) 154800218 1 UnitFull Year Not Running 2017/2018
H482 Opium & Empires: China's Narcotic Trade and Culture in Global Context (II) 154800193 1 UnitFull Year Not Running 2017/2018
H433 Urban Modern Eastern Asia (II) 154800289 1 UnitFull Year Not Running 2017/2018


Teaching and Learning

Teaching & Learning

Most 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. 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; instead, the topic of the day may briefly be 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. Whatever the exact balance, students are expected to prepare for tutorials, to present reports on specific readings and to take the lead in discussions.

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.


Introductory modules

Introductory modules (or 100-level modules) are taken in the first year only. The foundation stone of a history degree is Approaching History (its designated course number is H101, by which it is commonly known). For all first-year single-subject history students, H101 is a compulsory core course. That means that is must be passed in order to proceed to the second year. H101 is optional for joint-degree students: if taken, it acts as their core module (i.e., it must be passed to proceed); if not, then either one of the two regional introductory modules is the core (i.e., at least one must be passed to proceed).

The other five introductory modules are defined regionally. They survey extended historical periods and broad geographical/cultural areas and are intended to introduce students to the main processes of historical development in the five regions covered by the department: Africa, the Near and Middle East, South Asia, East Asia and Southeast Asia. Introductory modules provide a foundation to the regional ‘pathways’ around which history degrees are structured and aim to develop the fundamental knowledge and skills necessary to proceed to more specialised modules in subsequent years of study.

All introductory modules are assessed through a combination of essays, oral presentations on selected readings or topics and a three-hour examination, taken in Term 3. Introductory courses are not open to second- and third-year history students.

Intermediate level modules

Intermediate level modules (200 level) provide specialised study in the history of particular regions, building on the introductory modules. With the exception of the Group Study Project (see below), they are assessed by: (a) two or three essays, and (b) a three-hour examination, taken in Term 3. For intermediate modules the weighting of assessment between essays and examination varies, with coursework essays counting for between 25 per cent and 60 per cent of the total mark. For the specifics of each course see the individual module unit listings. Group Study Projects are assessed on the basis of three written reports (see below).

Group Study Project

The Group Study Project can be taken by second-year students only. Like the ISP, its aim is to allow students to work independently, to formulate a specific research agenda, and to conduct in-depth analysis of a particular historical theme or issue. Also like the ISP, it is not formally linked to a taught module, but may well arise from a topic that has been encountered in an introductory module taken during the first year.

The main difference is that the Group Study Project is undertaken by groups of two, three or four students working together. Its focus is therefore on collaboration and intellectual interaction; on the sharing out of research tasks and on the discussion and synthesis of findings. It may, but does not necessarily, involve the use of primary sources; rather, its focus should be on a particular issue, problem or argument in the historical literature, that is, on a so-called ‘historiographical debate’. It is assessed by three pieces of written work, the first two produced by each member of the group individually and the third produced collectively by the group: (a) a preliminary annotated bibliography relating to a particular aspect of the research topic; (b) an essay on that aspect; (c) a final, jointly-authored essay.

In common with the ISP, students wishing to do a Group Study Project need to have formed their group, to have figured out what topic they wish to investigate and to have secured the agreement of a lecturer to supervise the project by the end of enrolment week. The supervisor will hold a preliminary meeting to explain submission dates, the keeping of minutes of subsequent meetings and other details early in Term One.

Group Study Projects can be particularly stimulating and fulfilling. If you think you might like to do one in your second year, then keep an eye out for potential topics and discuss them with fellow students during your first-year introductory modules.

Advanced level modules

Advanced level modules (300 and 400 level) aim to introduce students to the reading and use of original historical documents, so-called ‘primary sources’. The 300 level modules are taught modules, assessed in the same way as intermediate level modules, i.e., a varying combination of essays and a final examination. For each 300 level module there is an attached 400 level module, for which there are no additional classes and which involves the writing of a 10,000-word dissertation on a topic arising from the content of the 300 level module. There is no final examination for 400 level modules; assessment is on the basis of the dissertation alone.

Together the two modules form a Special Subject, which must be taken by all single-subject history students. Joint-degree history students may also take the full double-unit Special Subject, although this is not compulsory.

400- level dissertations, however, can only be taken in the final year. Students must take their double-unit Special Subject together in their final year. 

The aim of the Special Subject dissertation is to enable students to formulate their own research topic, to explore that topic in much greater depth than the normal coursework essay allows, and to identify, collect and mobilize a combination of secondary and primary historical sources. The research and writing of dissertations spans the first and second terms of the academic year. Students are expected to choose and develop their topic in consultation with their course teacher during Term One and to research and write the dissertation during Term Two and the following break. Dissertations should be approximately 10,000 words in length, including notes but excluding bibliography.

Independent Study Project

The Independent Study Project (ISP) can be taken by final-year students only. Like the Special Subject dissertation, its aim is to provide an opportunity for students to conduct original historical research on their own initiative, to engage in in-depth analysis of particular subjects and to use a range of primary historical sources. It too involves no formal classes and is assessed by a single 10,000-word dissertation (including notes but excluding bibliography). The main difference between the Special Subject dissertation and the ISP is that the latter is not linked with a 300-level taught module (although the topic may well arise out of a course the student has taken previously). It stands alone, thereby allowing students to write on regions, themes or topics not covered by the selection of 300-level modules.

Note too that, unlike the Special Subject dissertation, students wishing to take the ISP need to have formulated a viable topic by the outset of Term One and to have secured the agreement of a lecturer within the History Department to supervise the project. They must complete an ISP proposal form, available from the faculty office, which must be signed by the supervisor and returned to the office during enrolment week. Any student having problems identifying a supervisor should contact the ISP convenor and their personal tutor who will assist you in doing so. The ISP convenor will also hold a preliminary meeting with all students enrolled for the ISP early in Term One. Following that, students will meet regularly with their supervisors throughout Terms One and Two.

Students are permitted to take both a 400-level dissertation and do an ISP in their final year. The research and writing of two, concurrent 10,000-word dissertations, however, involves careful time-management and a high degree of self-discipline. It should not be undertaken lightly – and certainly not as a way of avoiding taught modules and their examinations. Students wishing to enrol for both a Special Subject and an ISP dissertation must get the approval of the undergraduate tutor during enrolment week.

Open Option courses

A ‘open option’ is a module from another SOAS department, or from another college of the University of London which is not a history module. For joint degree students, it is a module from a department which is neither of the two they are enrolled in. A maximum of one open option module per year (i.e. three overall) may be taken by single-subject history students, and a maximum of two overall by joint-degree students.

Pre Entry Reading

  • JR McNeill and WH McNeill, The Human Web: A Bird’s Eye View of World History
  • John Darwin, After Tamerlane: The Rise and Fall of Global Empires
  • CA Bayly, The Birth of the Modern World, 1780-1914
  • Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities
  • John Iliffe, Africans: The History of a Continent
  • Albert Hourani, A History of the Arab Peoples
  • Barbara D and Thomas R Metcalf, A Concise History of India
  • MC Ricklefs et al., A New History of Southeast Asia
  • Charles Holcombe, A History of East Asia
  • J Black and DM MacRaild, Studying History

Fees and funding

Tuition Fees

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. 

Programme Full-Time
BA, BSc, LLB £9,250 £16,575
BA/BSc Language Year Abroad £1,350 £8,288
Undergraduate Research Awards

Application Deadline: 2017-04-17 17:00

For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section


With specialised knowledge of the history and broad cultural sensibilities of a region, SOAS History graduates have found employment in a variety of sectors. As a History graduate you are likely to have developed valuable transferable skills, including familiarity with methods of research, the competence to manage large quantities of information and the ability to select and organise information.

Studying a combined honours degree gives students to blend a solid grounding in another discipline or subject area which enables them to place the knowledge they gain as part of their degree within a specific regional, cultural or disciplinary context.

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

Audit Commission
Bank of America
Campaign Against Climate Change
China Media Centre
Citizens UK
HelpAge International
House of Lords
International Fund Investmennt
Tesla Motors
The Publicist Group
Transnational Crisis Project
TSL Education
UCL Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:
Principal Auditor
Risk Analyst
Script Writer
Community Organiser
Regional Director
Programme Officer, Africa and Asia
PhD Student
International Account Manager
Afghanistan/ Pakistan Analyst
Communications Executive
Risk Manager
Chief of Emergencies
For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website

A Student's Perspective

It’s a global experience and, thankfully, everyone is included, no matter what their colour, religion, or ‘class’.

Mysa Kafil-Hussain


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