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BA Languages and Cultures at SOAS
Overview and entry requirements
The BA Languages and Cultures (Middle East, Africa, South and Southeast Asia) degree introduces students to the cultures and societies of Africa, the Middle East, South and South East Asia through the study of languages, film, literature and cultural studies.
In the first year, students are equipped with a broader understanding of these regions in order to gain a vital comparative perspective. Students will have the opportunity to explore particular regional interests through their language study, selected optional modules and in their course work throughout the degree, culminating in the final year Study Project where, guided by lecturers, they will draw on skills gained over the course of the degree to produce their own original research.
Language is crucial to the understanding of culture and therefore all students will be required to choose from a range of languages in their first year of study. We encourage students to further develop their language skills as the degree progresses. Students will have the option to spend a year abroad or a summer abroad to gain cultural and linguistic fluency in languages including Swahili, Turkish, Hebrew, Persian, Arabic, Hindi, Urdu, Sanskrit, Indonesian and Vietnamese.
Key critical thinking, project management and study skills are built into the programme to ensure that students graduate with a range of transferable skills ensuring they are prepared for a range of careers.
See School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics
Why study Languages and Cultures (Middle East, Africa, South and Southeast Asia) at SOAS
- SOAS is specialist in the studies of Africa, the Middle East, South Asia and South East Asia
- SOAS is ranked 1st in London in the Complete University Guide 2021 for Middle Eastern and African Studies, and 6th in the UK
- Ranked 8th in the UK in the Complete University Guide 2021 for South Asian Studies
- Modern Languages and Linguistics at SOAS has been ranked 10th in the UK in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021
- We've also been ranked 4th for research environment - with 100% of our research ranked as 'internationally excellent' and 85% as 'world-leading' - and 8th for research outputs in the REF 2021
- Gain in-depth understanding of one these key world regions, grounded in the study of one or more languages of the region
- Access SOAS’s comprehensive cross-regional expertise and gain an understanding of the interconnectedness of these regions in an increasingly globalised world
- Solid methodological and interdisciplinary foundation
- Students have an opportunity to develop a holistic and integrated approach to the study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East through their languages and cultures
Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings
Start of programme: September
Mode of Attendance: Full-time
Fees for 2022/23 entrants per academic year
- UK fees:
- Overseas fees:
Please note that fees go up each year. Further details see 'Fees and funding' (tab on this page) or the Registry's undergraduate tuition fees page.
Students must take 120 credits per year to complete the programme
Year 1 - Guided Curriculum: Foundations
All students will take two 15 credit modules from the list of languages below plus all of the following compulsory modules:
Year 2 - Guided Curriculum: Momentum
Students also take:
1) 30 credits of language modules from the list below or 30 credits from List A
2) 15 Credits from Year 2 Regional List
3) A further 15 credits from Year 2 regional List or 15 credits from List A
4) 30 Credits of open options or further language modules.
Year 3 - Optional Year Abroad
Students taking the 4 year programme can participate in an optional year abroad at one of our overseas partner institutions.
Final Year 3/4 - Guided Curriculum: Designing your own Pathway
Students also take
1) 30 credits from Year 3 Regional List
2) 30 credits from Regional List or List A or List of Languages
3) 30 Credits of open options or from List of Languages.
Year 2 Regional List
Year 3 Regional List
List of Languages
Please note that not all languages will be offered every year, or at all levels.
30 credit languages are split into two 15 credit modules (A and B)
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
Teaching is normally provided by lecture or seminar and students are required to attend such classes. Most modules involve a 50-minute lecture as a key component with linked tutorial classes.
All full-time undergraduate programmes consist of 120 credits per year, taught in modules of 30 credits (taught over 20 weeks) or 15 credits (taught over 10 weeks). The programme structure shows which modules are compulsory and which optional.
As a rough guide, 1 credit equals approximately 10 hours of work. Most of this will be independent study (see Approaches to teaching and learning at SOAS). It will also include class time, which may include lectures, seminars and other classes. Some subjects, such as learning a language, have more class time than others.
In the School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics, undergraduate modules take various forms. Modules may be taught through 1 or 2 hours of lectures a week, and some may have an additional 1-2 hours of weekly seminars. Languages classes may be 4-5 hours per week in the first and second year, typically less at higher levels.
More information is on the page for each module.
For those students who choose to take a year abroad, the resulting improvement in all-round language skills will allow students to work at a more advanced range of linguistics competence in their final year work back at SOAS. The culturally immersive experience of the year abroad equips students with key skills which are invaluable for those wishing to go on to work in the region.
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 for 2022/23 entrants per academic year
BA, BSc, LLB
|BA/BSc Language year abroad
Please note that fees go up each year.
For full details of undergraduate tuition fees, see our Registry's undergraduate tuition fees page.
For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section
Graduates of the School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics leave SOAS not only with linguistic and cultural expertise, but also with skills in written and oral communication, analysis and problem solving.
Recent School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics graduates have been hired by:
- Africa Matters
- Amnesty International
- Arab British Chamber of Commerce
- BBC World Service
- British High Commission
- Council for British Research in the Levant
- Department for International Development
- Embassy of Jordan
- Ernst & Young
- Foreign & Commonwealth Office
- Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies
- Middle East Eye
- Saïd Foundation
- TalkAbout Speech Therapy
- The Black Curriculum
- The Telegraph
- United Nations Development Programme
- UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency
- Wall Street Journal
Found out about our Careers Service.
A Student's Perspective
Magda Biran Taylor
I always maintained my early interest in South East Asia and hoped to return to SOAS one day, in order to complete my studies. The opportunity to do this occurred when I retired. I am now studying for an MA in South East Asian Studies.