The opportunity to move from the familiar Euro-American literary canons into the fresh but less well known worlds of African and Asian literature is what attracts most students to this popular MA.
At SOAS, students benefit from the unique expertise in this vast field possessed by the school’s faculty.
This expertise is available to students interested in studying these literatures through English - including both original English language literatures of Africa and Asia and literature written in African and Asian languages presented through English translations.
While exploring new horizons and breaking out of the Euro-centric space in which comparative literature has developed so far, the programme covers the major theoretical contributions made by Western scholars.
In doing so, it constructs a unique multi-cultural domain for the study of literature and its location in culture and society.
A prior knowledge of an African or Asian language is not a requirement for admission to this degree.
Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings
Start of programme: September intake only
Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time
- Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent)
- One calendar year (full-time).
Two or three years (part-time, daytime only)
We recommend that part-time students have between two-and-a-half and three days a week free to pursue their course of study.
- UK/EU fees:
- Overseas fees:
Fees for 2019/20 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
Dr Keya Anjaria describes what students can expect who join the MA Comparative Literature programme at SOAS.
Students take 180 credits, 60 of which are a dissertation and a 120 from taught modules. You may take a 30 credit language acquisition module at appropriate level as one of your modules.
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Q&A video with Dr Keya Anjaria, MA Comparative LIterature
Guided Options and Open Options
Students can select 60 credits from the list of Guided Options below and 30 credits from the list of Postgraduate Open Options.
List of modules (subject to availability)
Students can take 60 credits from the list below or 30 credits from the list below and a 30 credit language acquisition module.
English Based Options
Language Based Options:
China and Inner Asia
Japan and Korea
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
One-year Masters programmes consist of 180 credits. 120 credits are taught in modules of 30 credits (taught over 20 weeks) or 15 credits (taught over 10 weeks); the dissertation makes up the remaining 60 units. 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, including reading and research, preparing coursework and revising for examinations. 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. At SOAS, most postgraduate modules have a one hour lecture and a one hour seminar every week, but this does vary.
More information is on the page for each module.
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 2019/20 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 in Comparative Literature (Africa/Asia) provides students with competency in language skills and intercultural awareness and understanding. Familiarity with the selected region will have been developed through a combination of the study of it's literature and exploration of contemporary literary theories. Some graduates leave SOAS to pursue careers directly related to their study area, while others have made use of the intellectual training for involvement in analysing and solving many of the problems that contemporary societies now face.
Postgraduate students gain linguistic and cultural expertise enabling them to continue in the field of research or to seek professional and management careers in the business, public and charity sectors. They leave SOAS with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek, including written and oral communication skills; attention to detail; analytical and problem solving skills; and the ability to research, amass and order information from a variety of sources. 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
The MA in Cultural Studies was an invigorating course which provided the freedom to question the Eurocentrism of cultural theory in relation to the geographies and histories of Asia, Africa and the Middle East