SOAS University of London

School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

MA Cultural Studies (2021 entry)

Select year of entry: 2021 2020

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Overview and entry requirements

The MA Cultural Studies programme aims to offer grounding in the theories on Cultural Studies which draws on Marxism, Structuralism, Post-Structuralism, Post-Marxism, Feminism, and Post-Modernism and their use, application and adaption in the cross-cultural contexts of Africa, Asia and the Middle East.  It provides an examination of the main historical concepts in Western culture such as ideology, power, class, identity, race, nation, subjectivity, representation, and memory and how these are challenged by scholars working in non-Western cultures of Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The aim is to explore the different and plural cultural histories and memories of these contexts to which Cultural Studies must adapt.

Theoretical paradigms covered will reflect on issues of class, ‘race’, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, representation and religion. The course will investigate central questions of epistemology and methodology in relation to the application of Cultural Studies theories in non-Western contexts. The programme is theory and practice based and therefore, it draws on case studies from a diversity of cultural practices, genres and contexts to elucidate complex theoretical concepts and challenge their limitations and/or validity in the context of Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

The programme aims to equip students with sufficient knowledge to understand and evaluate the way in which Cultural Studies theories and methods are used in cross-cultural contexts and hence develop analytic skills for undertaking their own research projects.

See School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Why study Cultures at SOAS

  • SOAS is specialist in the studies of Africa, the Middle East, South Asia and South East Asia
  • we ranked 1st in London in the Complete University Guide 2021 for Middle Eastern and African Studies, and 6th in the UK
  • we also ranked 8th in the UK in the Complete University Guide 2021 for South Asian Studies
  • 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 intake only

Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time

Entry requirements

  • We will consider all applications with 2:ii (or international equivalent) or higher. In addition to degree classification we take into account other elements of the application including supporting statement and references.

Featured events

Full time - 1 year Part time - 2 or 3 years

Fees 2021/22

UK fees:
Overseas fees:

Fees for 2021/22 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




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.


Module Code Credits Term
Dissertation in Cultural, Literary, and Postcolonial Studies 15PCSC999 60 Full Year
Compulsory Modules
Module Code Credits Term
Cultural Studies: Origins, Development, Methodologies 15PCSH003 15 Full Year
Cultural Studies: New Horizons 15PCSH006 15 Term 2

Students can take 60 credits from List A below AND 30 credits of postgrduate open options  OR 30 credits of an appropriate level language acquisition module

List A
Languages Cultures and Linguistics
Module Code Credits Term
Comparative Literature: A New Era 15PCSH005 15 Term 2
Comparative Literature: Methodology and Critique 15PCSH004 15 Full Year
English Literatures of South East Asia 15PSEH013 15 Term 1
Gender theory and the study of Asia, Africa and the Middle East 15PGNC002 30 Full Year
Intersecting Worlds: Race and Gender in the Contemporary Postcolonial Novel 15PAFH031 15 Term 1
Literatures of Resistance in South Asia 15PSAC284 15
Modern Palestinian Literature (PG) 15PNMC379 15 Term 2
Postcolonial Theory and Practice 15PCSC003 30 Full Year
Social and Political Dimensions of Modern Arabic Literature (PG) 15PNMH032 15 Term 1
The Politics of Culture in Contemporary South Asia 15PSAC314 30 Credits
Turkey: Continuity and Change 15PNMC377 30 credits
World Literature (PG) 15PCSH002 15 Term 2
New Taiwan Cinema and Beyond (PG) 15PCHH002 15 Term 1
School of Arts
Module Code Credits Term
Modern and Contemporary Arts in Africa 15PARH048 15 Term 2
Gender and Empire in Early Modern China 15PHIH024 15 Term 2
Genders and Sexualities in South East Asian Film 15PSEH011 15 Term 2
Islam and the West: Artistic and Cultural Contacts 15PARH034 15 Term 2
Key Themes in Hip Hop Studies 15PMUH032 15 Term 2
Nationhood and Competing Identities in Modern China 15PHIH022 15 Term 1
School of Interdisciplinary Studies
Module Code Credits Term
Gender theory and the study of Asia, Africa and the Middle East 15PGNC002 30 Full Year
International Political Communication 15PMSH009 15 Term 2
Mediated Culture in the Middle East: Politics and Communications 15PMSH003 15 Term 2
Studies in Global Media and Post-National Communication 15PMSH007 0.5
The Transnational News Environment: Production, Representation and Use 15PMSH006 0.5
Transnational Communities and Diasporic Media:Networking, Connectivity, Identity 15PMSH004 15 Term 2
Anthropology and Sociology
Module Code Credits Term
Culture and Society of Japan 15PANH065 15 Term 1
History, Religion and Philosophy
Module Code Credits Term
African Philosophy (PG) 15PAFH008 15 Term 1
Religion in Global Politics: Theories and Themes 15PSRC174 30 Full Year
Race, Segregation, and Apartheid in Twentieth-century South Africa (PG) 15PHIH003 15 Term 1


Programme Specification

Important notice

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 and Learning

Teaching & Learning

Contact hours

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.

Learning outcome

  • How to analyse and interpret cultural practices critically.
  • How to apply a variety of critical theories to Asian, African and Middle Eastern cultural productions including film, media, literature, art, etc.
  • How to explore a research topic and locate materials, use research sources (particularly research library catalogues and electronic databases) and other relevant traditional sources.
  • How to develop a critical approach to Asian, African and Middle Eastern cultures in which students question the tenets of Western-derived theories and their applicability to non-Western contexts, and through a variety of approaches gain an understanding of the social and political role and function of and role of culture in Asian, African and Middle Eastern societies.
  • The specificity of cultural paradigms of a region or regions of Asia/Africa and the Middle East.
  • A thorough grounding in the theories and methodologies of Cultural Studies
Intellectual (thinking) skills
  • Students are introduced to a number of theoretical approaches to cultural productions such as literature, film and media.
  • Students are taught the importance of how theories raise questions about cultural products.
  • Having successfully completed the programme, students will be able to:
    • analyse cultural products in a systematic and creative way from a variety of perspectives
    • research the data necessary for making cultural analytical judgements
    • evaluate and apply independent research methods
    • demonstrate originality in dealing with cultural studies issues
    • successfully conduct an advanced independent research project
    • formulate and test interpretations
    • understand cultural studies practice and critically examine the social and political contexts of cultural production.
  • Students will become aware of and think through problems involved when applying a mainly ‘Western’ body of literary theory to Asian, African and Middle Eastern cultures.
Subject-based practical skills
  • Communicate effectively and analytically in writing on subjects related to cultural studies theories and their application in the contexts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East
  • Retrieve, sift and select information from a variety of sources.
  • Listen and discuss critically ideas introduced during seminars.
  • Practice research techniques in a variety of specialized research libraries and institutes.
  • Gain knowledge of Asian or African cultures
Subject-based practical skills
  • Communicate effectively and analytically in writing on subjects related to cultural studies theories and their application in the contexts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East
  • Retrieve, sift and select information from a variety of sources.
  • Listen and discuss critically ideas introduced during seminars.
  • Practice research techniques in a variety of specialized research libraries and institutes.
  • Gain knowledge of Asian or African cultures
Transferrable skills
  • Write good essays and dissertations.
  • Structure and communicate ideas effectively both orally and in writing.
  • Question the assumptions or theories and methodologies.
  • Study a variety of written and digital materials, in libraries and research institutes of a kind they will not have used as undergraduates.
  • Present assessed and non – assessed material orally.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

Fees for 2021/22 entrants, per academic year (Band 1 tuition fee) 

Full-time Part-time 2 Years Part-time 3 Years Part-time 4 Years
Intensive Language only
£10,680 £21,980 £5,340 £10,990 £3,560 £7,330 £5,340 £10,990

Fees go up each year, therefore, your tuition fee in your second and subsequent years of study will be higher.

Our continuing students, on the same degree programme, are protected from annual increases higher than 5%.

For full details of postgraduate tuition fees see our postgraduate tuition fees page.

Felix Non- Indian Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2021-01-29 00:00

Felix Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2021-02-15 00:00

International Postgraduate Scholarship – East Asia

Application Deadline: 2021-05-31 00:00

International Postgraduate Scholarship – Europe

Application Deadline: 2021-05-31 00:00

International Postgraduate Scholarship – India

Application Deadline: 2021-05-31 00:00

International Postgraduate Scholarship – Pakistan

Application Deadline: 2021-05-31 00:00

Sasakawa Postgraduate Studentship

Application Deadline: 2021-03-08 00:00

Tibawi Trust Award

Application Deadline: 2021-06-04 00:00

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



A postgraduate degree in Cultural Studies from SOAS provides graduates with expertise in non-European cultures, in-depth regional knowledge, and strong research and critical analysis skills.

Skills gained

As well as subject expertise, postgraduate students are equipped with the transferable skills needed to continue in research as well as the skills needed to enable them to find professional careers in the private and public sectors. These include:

  • familiarity with methods of research
  • ability to absorb and analyse large quantities of information
  • organisational 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.

Find out more on our Careers Service website

A Student's Perspective

I truly appreciate and highly recommend the critical thrust of the course, the outstanding instruction and guidance of the lecturers/tutors, and the multicultural make-up of the class."

Neslie Carol Tan


Find out more