SOAS University of London

Department of History, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

MA in Historical Research Methods

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

Fees 2018/19

UK/EU fees:
Overseas fees:

Fees for 2018/19 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

2018 Entry requirements

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

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  • Overview
  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Fees and funding
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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).




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.

FROM 2017-18

Select the equivalent of FIVE Modules comprising full (1.0) and half (0.5) Modules including the Dissertation

Students must take 180 credits comprised of 120 taught credits (including core and option modules) and a 60 credit dissertation.

Core Courses

Debating Pasts, Crafting Histories
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 to the value of 5.0 units, including a 10,000-word dissertation with a detailed 2,500 word dissertation plan worth 10% of this mark:

  1. Sources and Research Design in Historical Research (Core course, 1.0 unit)
  2. Debating Pasts, Crafting Histories (1.0 unit)
  3. Dissertation (1.0 unit)
  4. a minor course or courses (equivalent to 2.0 unit) chosen from the Minor Course Options list and/or a language course from the Faculty of Languages and Cultures

Students can take this programme part-time over 2 or 3 years. Students usually complete their core modules in Year 1, and their option modules and dissertation in subsequent years


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

Module Code Credits Term Availability
Environmental History of Asia 15PHIH023 15 Term 2 Not Running 2017/2018
The Making of the Contemporary World 15PHIH035 15 Term 1 Not Running 2017/2018
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Colonialism and Christian Missions in Africa: Readings from the Archives 15PSRH043 15 Term 2
Colonial Conquest and Social Change in Southern Africa 15PHIH002 15 Term 1
Culture and Society of East Africa 15PANH063 15 Term 1
Culture and Society of West Africa 15PANH068 15 Term 2
Government and politics in Africa 15PPOC205 30 Full Year
Historical Perspectives on Gender in Africa 15PHIH029 15 Term 1
International Politics of Africa 15PPOC009 30 Full Year Not Running 2017/2018
State & society in Asia & Africa 15PPOC008 30 Full Year
Slavery in West Africa in the 19th and 20th Centuries 15PHIH028 15 Term 2
Social and Cultural Transformations in Southern Africa Since 1945 15PHIH003 15 Term 2 Not Running 2017/2018
Near and Middle East
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Culture and Society of Near and Middle East 15PANH067 15 Term 2
Encountering the Other: the Middle East during the Crusading Period 15PHIH037 15 Term 1 Not Running 2017/2018
Israel and the Palestinians 15PNMC038 30 Full Year
Modern Trends in Islam 15PNMC228 30 Full Year
Outsiders in Medieval Middle Eastern Societies: Minorities, Social Outcasts and Foreigners 15PHIH006 15 Term 2 Not Running 2017/2018
Reading Classical Arabic Historians: Themes and Trends in Islamic Historiography 15PNMC378 30 Full Year
South Asia
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Contemporary Islamism in South Asia: Readings in Sayyid Abu al-A'la Mawdudi 15PSRC170 30 Full Year Not Running 2017/2018
Culture and Society of South Asia 15PANH064 15 Term 1
Government and politics of modern South Asia 15PPOC003 30 Full Year
History and Doctrines of Indian Buddhism 15PSRC059 30 Full Year Not Running 2017/2018
Literature & Colonialism in North India (Masters) 15PSAH005 15 Term 1 Not Running 2017/2018
Pakistan: History, Culture, Islam 15PSAC288 - Not Running 2017/18
The Body and the Making of Colonial Difference in British India 15PHIH033 15 Term 2 Not Running 2017/2018
The Indian Temple 15PARC034 30 Full Year
East Asia
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Japanese Modernity I 15PHIH013 15 Term 1
Japanese Modernity II 15PHIH014 15 Term 2
Knowledge and Power in Early Modern China 15PHIH024 15 Term 1
Nationhood and Competing Identities in Modern China 15PHIH022 15 Term 2
Culture and Society of China 15PANH062 15 Term 2
State and society in the Chinese political process 15PPOC012 30 Full Year
Culture and Society of Japan 15PANH065 15 Term 1
The Making of Modern Korea 15PEAC059 30 Full Year
Topics in the History of Traditional Korea 15PEAC053 30 Full Year Not Running 2017/2018
South East Asia
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Asian Wars: World War II and the End of Empire (1942-1960) 15PHIH038 15 Term 1 Not Running 2017/2018
Jawi and the Malay Manuscript Tradition (Masters) 15PSEH006 15 Term 2 Not Running 2017/2018
Histories of Ethnicity and Conflict in South East Asia 1 - Making States and Building Nations 15PHIH011 15 Term 1 Not Running 2017/2018
Histories of Ethnicity and Conflict in South East Asia 2 - Non-National Perspectives 15PHIH012 15 Term 2 Not Running 2017/2018


This is the structure for 2017/18 applicants

If you are a current student you can find structure information on Moodle or through your Faculty.

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 with a detailed 2,500 word dissertation plan worth 10% of this mark.

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 2018/19 entrants. The fees below are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. 

Full-time Part-time 2 Years Part-time 3 Years
£9,225 £18,980 £4,613 £9,490 £3,075 £6,327
Felix Non- Indian Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2018-01-29 00:00

Felix Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2018-01-29 00:00

John Loiello AFSOAS FISH Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2018-02-20 17:00

SOAS Master's Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2018-02-20 17:00

Sasakawa Postgraduate Studentship

Application Deadline: 2018-02-20 17:00

The Ahmad Mustafa Abu-Hakima Bursary

Application Deadline: 2018-02-20 17:00

Tibawi Trust Award

Application Deadline: 2018-06-05 00:00

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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