SOAS University of London

Department of History

MA in Historical Research Methods

Full-time: 12 months; Part-time: 24 or 36 months

Fees 2017/18

UK/EU fees:
Overseas fees:

Fees for 2017/18 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

2017 Entry requirements

  • Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent); relevant background in the region of specialism

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Start of programme: September intake only

Mode of Attendance: Full Time or Part Time

The MA in Historical Research Methods is designed to train students in research skills to the level prescribed by the research training guidelines favoured by UK Research Councils. It is intended for students with a good first degree in history, or who possess a taught Masters degree in history. Most students would be expected to progress to a research degree in history at the end of the degree, but it is also possible to take it as a stand-alone programme.
Students must complete a programme in research training and submit a dissertation on an approved topic which is connected to the core course of this programme (Sources and Research Design in Historical Research). As part of this course candidates must also submit a number of research related assignments which, taken together with the dissertation, are equivalent to approximately 30,000 words.




Learn a language as part of this programme

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.

Core Course

Sources and Research Design in Historical Research (1.0 unit)
This course provides one-to-one training in research design and in the use of sources for a specific region under the guidance of the MA dissertation supervisor. It is assessed by 2 essays (10,000 words in total). The first is normally on source-based problems and the second on research design which is linked to the dissertation topic.

Structure of the Programme

This degree programme consists of four elements, including a 10,000-word dissertation:

  1. Sources and Research Design in Historical Research (Core course, 1.0 unit)
  2. Research Methods in History with reference to Asia and Africa (1.0 unit)
  3. Dissertation (1.0 unit)
  4. a minor course or courses (equivalent to 1.0 unit) chosen from the Minor Course Options list and/or a language course from the Faculty of Languages and Cultures.

Please note that not all the courses listed here will be available every year, and some new courses are likely to be added. 

For any queries, please contact the convener of the History MA Programme, who will also be pleased to provide more detailed information on individual courses. 

Minor Course Options

ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Environmental History of Asia 15PHIH023 0.5 Unit Term 2
The Making of the Contemporary World 15PHIH035 0.5 Unit Term 1
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Colonialism and Christian Missions in Africa: Readings from the Archives 15PSRH043 0.5 Unit Term 1
Colonial Conquest and Social Change in Southern Africa 15PHIH002 0.5 Unit Term 1 Not Running 2016/2017
Culture and Society of East Africa 15PANH063 0.5 Unit Term 1
Culture and Society of West Africa 15PANH068 0.5 Unit Term 2
Government and politics in Africa 15PPOC205 1 Unit Full Year
Historical Perspectives on Gender in Africa 15PHIH029 0.5 Unit Term 1
International politics of Africa 15PPOC009 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Preaching, Prayer and Politics: Independent Christians in Southern Africa 15PSRH042 0.5 unit Unit
State & society in Asia & Africa 15PPOC008 1 Unit Full Year
Slavery in West Africa in the 19th and 20th Centuries 15PHIH028 0.5 Unit Term 2
Social and Cultural Transformations in Southern Africa Since 1945 15PHIH003 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
Near and Middle East
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Culture and Society of Near and Middle East 15PANH067 0.5 Unit Term 2
Encountering the Other: the Middle East during the Crusading Period 15PHIH037 0.5 Unit Term 1 Not Running 2016/2017
Israel, the Arab World and the Palestinians 15PNMC038 1 Unit Full Year
Modern Trends in Islam 15PNMC228 1 Unit Full Year
Outsiders in Medieval Middle Eastern Societies: Minorities, Social Outcasts and Foreigners 15PHIH006 0.5 Unit Term 2
Reading Classical Arabic Historians: Themes and Trends in Islamic Historiography 15PNMC378 1 Unit Full Year
The End of Empire in the Middle East & the Balkans 15PHIC004 1 Unit Full Year
South Asia
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Contemporary Islamism in South Asia: Readings in Sayyid Abu al-A'la Mawdudi 15PSRC170 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Culture and Society of South Asia 15PANH064 0.5 Unit Term 1
Government and politics of modern South Asia 15PPOC003 1 Unit Full Year
History and Doctrines of Indian Buddhism 15PSRC059 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Literature & Colonialism in North India (Masters) 15PSAH005 0.5 Unit Term 1
Pakistan: History, Culture, Islam 15PSAC288 1 unit Unit - Not Running 2016/17
The Body and the Making of Colonial Difference in British India 15PHIH033 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
The Indian Temple 15PARC034 1 Unit Full Year
East Asia
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Modern Bengal: the Evolution of Bengali Culture and Society from 1690 to the Present Day (MA) 15PSAC289 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Japanese Modernity I 15PHIH013 0.5 Unit Term 1
Japanese Modernity II 15PHIH014 0.5 Unit Term 2
Knowledge and Power in Early Modern China 15PHIH024 0.5 Unit Term 1
Nationhood and Competing Identities in Modern China 15PHIH022 0.5 Unit Term 2
Culture and Society of China 15PANH062 0.5 Unit Term 2
State and society in the Chinese political process 15PPOC012 1 Unit Full Year
Culture and Society of Japan 15PANH065 0.5 Unit Term 1
Topics in Modern Korean History 15PEAC059 1 Unit Full Year
Topics in the History of Traditional Korea 15PEAC053 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
South East Asia
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Asian Wars : World War II and the End of Empire, 1942-1960 15 PHI H038 0.5 unit Unit
Jawi and the Malay Manuscript Tradition (Masters) 15PSEH006 0.5 Unit Term 2
Histories of Ethnicity and Conflict in South East Asia 1 - Making States and Building Nations 15PHIH011 0.5 Unit Term 1
Histories of Ethnicity and Conflict in South East Asia 2 - Non-National Perspectives 15PHIH012 0.5 Unit Term 2


Important information for 2017/18 applicants

For the 2017 academic year, SOAS has introduced a new academic framework for all of our postgraduate taught courses. The new model will mean that taught programmes are now made up of four units each worth 30 credits – our current structure is based on three units – plus dissertation. This approach is in line with PG programmes in most other universities.

In practice this means that there will be additional choice of modules for students taking PG taught programmes in 2017. The modules set out here represent the options available in the programme in 2016. In most cases, our 2017 programmes will contain these options plus additional modules – broadening the range of what is available on your programme.

Programme Specification


Teaching and Learning

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 on an approved topic linked with one of the taught courses.

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

Tuition Fees

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 2017/18 entrants. The fees below are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. 

Full-timePart-time 2 YearsPart-time 3 Years
£8,785 £18,075 £4,393 £9,038 £2,928 £6,025
Felix Non- Indian Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2017-01-31 17:00

Felix Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2017-01-31 17:00

John Loiello AFSOAS FISH Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2017-02-22 17:00

SOAS Master's Scholarships - Faculty of Arts & Humanities

Application Deadline: 2017-02-22 17:00

Sasakawa Postgraduate Studentship

Application Deadline: 2017-02-22 17:00

The Ahmad Mustafa Abu-Hakima Bursary

Application Deadline: 2017-02-22 17:00

The Prospect Burma Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2017-02-22 17:00

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


A postgraduate degree in Historical Research Methods from 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.

For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.

A Student's Perspective

For postgraduate students, the greatest attraction of SOAS is its research culture. There simply isn’t another institution with such a concentration of academic expertise on African and Asian history.

Jack Lord


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