The programme is designed for students with a keen interest in studying the remote as well as the more recent past of the countries, peoples, and cultures of Africa, Asia and the Middle East. It is also ideal for students who seek to understand the historical conditions of the contemporary world from a global perspective. While the course is open to students with backgrounds in a diverse range of disciplines in the Humanities and Social Sciences, the ideal applicant would have an UG degree in History or a relevant area studies programme, some knowledge of foreign, in particular Asian or African languages, and preferably relevant background in the region of specialism.
This is one of the few Master-level programmes in History focusing on the study of Asia, the Middle East and Africa in the UK. With its high concentration of expertise of these regions, SOAS can offer an unrivalled breadth of courses on their histories. Apart from the possibility of acquiring regional expertise, the programme also provides a sound training in the historical sciences more generally. Students who wish to study manifestations of particular issues in a variety of regions may opt for the broader MA History. Others may prefer to focus on the study of a single region and choose one of the available regional pathways. These are
- MA History: Africa
- MA History: Near and Middle East
- MA History: South Asia
- MA History: South East Asia
- MA History: East Asia
Students in this programme take four units of taught courses plus a 10,000 word dissertation with a detailed 2,500 word dissertation plan worth 10% of this mark. The proximity to the School of many archive depositories and records offices, including its own archival collection as well as the British Library, greatly enhances the potential for dissertation work. A broad range of courses is available in every single year (see 'Structure' tab for more details), though you may want to contact the programme convenor to ask about the availability of particular courses in a particular year. Those who wish to further develop their linguistic skills may choose from a range of African and Asian language courses.
In addition to their studies on the MA programme, students at SOAS have the opportunity to participate in the Regional History Seminars, as well as in a wide range of research seminars, lectures and conferences, which regularly take place in different departments and centres across the School and at other colleges of the University of London.
If you wish to continue your studies on the research level you may want to consider the MA in Historical Research Methods. To help with funding, there is a limited number of relevant scholarship opportunities available (see under 'How To Apply').
THE ON-LINE MODULE SIGN-UP SYSTEM GUIDES STUDENTS THROUGH THE AVAILABLE MODULES.
PLEASE NOTE THAT NOT ALL OPTIONAL MODULES ARE AVAILABLE EVERY YEAR.
Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings
Start of programme: September intake only
Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time
English language requirements: Those whose mother tongue is not English must take the English test run by the British Council (IELTS) and obtain a score acceptable to the School.
- Normally, an Upper Second Class Honours degree of a UK university, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard obtained after a course of study extending over not less than three years in a university (or educational institution of university rank), in History, or a related discipline in the Humanities or Social Sciences.
- Full-time: 12 months;
Part-time: 24 or 36 months
- UK/EU fees:
- Overseas fees:
Fees for 2020/21 entrants. This is a Band 1 fee. 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 Postgraduate Tuition Fees page
Degree programmes at SOAS - including this one - can include language courses in more than forty African and Asian languages. It is SOAS students’ command of an African or Asian language which sets SOAS apart from other universities.
Students must take 180 credits in total, comprised of 120 taught credits and a 60-credit dissertation (10,000 words with a detailed 2,500-word dissertation plan worth 10% of the mark for this module) as outlined below.
There are five regional pathways within the MA History: Africa, East Asia, Near and Middle East, South Asia and South East Asia.
If you have any questions about pathway requirements, please contact the programme convenor.
Students must complete a Dissertation (10,000 words) see list of Dissertation Module options below
Choose a module from List A below to the value of 30 credits
Choose a module from List A or B below to the value of 30 credits
Choose a module(s) from Postgraduate Open Options to the value of 30 credits
Choose a module(s) from List A or B below to the value of 30 credits
**NB: In order to meet the pathway requirement, students must have completed 30 taught credits plus the dissertation in the relevant area.
List of Modules (subject to availability)
Near and Middle East
South East Asia
Near and Middle East
South East Asia
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 & Learning
Lectures and Seminars
Teaching is generally by informal lectures and seminar discussions. At Masters level there is particular emphasis on seminar work where students may be expected to make full-scale presentations for units they take.
In addition to their studies on the MA programme, students at SOAS are able to participate in a wide range of research seminars, lectures and conferences that regularly take place in the School and in the University of London.
The 10,000-word Dissertation with a detailed 2,500 word dissertation plan worth 10% of this mark on an approved topic linked with one of the taught courses.
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 postgraduate tuition fees can be found on the Registry's Postgraduate Tuition Fees page.
This is a Band 1 tuition fee.
Fees for 2020/21 entrants. The fees below are per academic year. Fees go up each year, therefore, your tuition fee in your second & subsequent years of study will be higher. Our continuing students, on the same degree programme, are protected from annual increases higher than 5%.
||Part-time 2 Years
||Part-time 3 Years
||Part-time 4 Years
Intensive Language only
For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section
A postgraduate degree from the History department at SOAS provides its students with an understanding of the world, giving them specialised historical knowledge and understanding of cultural sensibilities of a region. Postgraduate students are equipped with the expertise to continue in research as well as the skills needed to enable them to find professional careers in the private and public sectors.
Postgraduate students leave SOAS with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek, including familiarity with methods of research; the competence to manage large quantities of information; the ability to select and organise information and analytical skills. A postgraduate degree is a valuable experience that provides students with a body of work and a diverse range of skills that they can use to market themselves with when they graduate.
Graduates have gone on to work for a range of organisations including:
- Afghan Aid
- Amnesty International
- Church of England
- Dar Al Hekma College
- Department For Transport
- Högskolan Dalarna
- Home Office - UKBA
- Hongik University, South Korea
- Dutch National Council for Culture
- Savannah Publications
- The Jewish Chronicle
- The Royal Institute of International Affairs
- World Youth Service Society Japan
Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:
- Community and Events Fundraiser
- Senior Learning and Impact Advisor
- International Director
- Head of Africa Department
- Senior Advocate
- Senior Information Management Officer
- Civil Servant
- Lecturer in History
- Associate Professor
- Account Manager
- Political Editor
- Manager and Research Fellow
For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.
A Student's Perspective
SOAS was exactly what I was looking for, there was so much diversity from the first day. SOAS opened my eyes to a completely different perspective.