The MA Postcolonial Studies Programme offers a focus on the historical relationships of power, domination and practices of imperialism and colonialism in the modern period (late nineteenth-century to the present) through the study of literature and culture.
The core module will introduce a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches to the literature, film and media of these areas. A range of literary, filmic and theoretical texts from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the Near and Middle East will normally be included in the reading list. These will address representations of colonialism and decolonisation, neo-colonialism, nationalism in postcolonial societies and diasporic experiences, allowing us to explore the heterogeneous meanings, intersections and strategies of analysis that have emerged with reference to postcolonial studies.
Attention will be paid to colonial and postcolonial constructs such as: the Oriental, the Global, the Cosmopolitan, the Third World and the multicultural. The core module of the programme introduces and analyses interdisciplinary theories and ideological practices around a set of historical and current issues from various regions of Asia and Africa. The range of minors offers students more opportunities to explore interdisciplinarity and regional specificities.
Why this programme is special at SOAS
Postcolonial MA Programmes offered in London and other UK institutions are located within the field of English Studies or the Social Sciences. The Centre for Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies (CCLPS) is uniquely positioned to offer an inter-disciplinary Postcolonial Studies MA programme which gives students an opportunity to understand and negotiate the field of postcolonial studies with recourse to interdisciplinarity and to theoretical explications from the regions of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. SOAS offers a unique range of regional expertise available amongst the CCLPS’s faculty membership. The Programme also offers a timely intervention at a time when there is a national and international crisis in the understanding of multiculturalism, race relations and religious and national affiliations.
Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings
Start of programme: September
Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time
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.
Please follow the structure below.
Students take the following modules and select a further 90 credits from the lists below.
History and Societies
Guided Options and Open Options
Select 90 credits from the list below, these may include 30 credits of approproate level language aquisition modules and 30 credits from the list of Postgraduate Open Options.
Literatures and Cultures
Media and Film
Gender and Sexuality Studies
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.
- To develop a detailed knowledge and understanding of the histories, politics and theoretical concepts deployed by the term Postcolonial, postcolonialism and postcoloniality.
- How to think critically about the contexts of exploration and colonialism in relation to postcolonial societies.
- Understanding different approaches to culture, nationalism, multiculturalism, migration, gender and race in the context of post-colonial societies.
Intellectual (thinking) skills
- Critically analyse a variety of theoretical material
- Demonstrate an ability to understand academic conventions and to write analytically and reflectively
- Construct and present arguments, both orally and in writing
- Demonstrate an ability to think critically about postcolonial issues in a number of disciplines
- Engender original approaches and strategies
Subject-based practical skills
- Write effectively and analytically
- Retrieve, sift and analyse information from a variety of sources.
- Present to audiences: listen, engage and interact.
- Practice research techniques in a variety of specialized research libraries and institutes
- Structure and communicate ideas effectively both orally and in writing.
- Critically evaluate arguments
- Formally present their research findings to a public audience
- Integrate as team members in a group
- Utilise a variety of multi-media academic resources
- Work within a set deadline period
MA Postcolonial Studies graduates gain competency in intercultural awareness and understanding. Familiarity with the subject wiill be developed through the study of literature, film and media of these areas. Graduates leave SOAS with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek in many professional and management careers, both in business and in the public sector. These include: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
One of the most useful aspects of the programme is the weekly training seminar, which is open to all MPhil CCLPS students. These sessions are designed to consider ‘key’ methodological and theoretical texts, to incite debate and reflection upon your own research. The reflective nature of these seminars has been invaluable to my project, as they have allowed me a responsive space to broaden, question and develop my research