SOAS University of London

Department of Music, School of Arts

BA Music and ... (2022 entry)

Select year of entry: 2022 2021

  • Combinations
  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Fees and funding
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Overview and entry requirements

The BA Music (combined degree) programme is a unique opportunity to study the musical traditions of Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and their global diasporas. Students are taught the basic principles of ethnomusicology and survey a variety of Asian and African musics. In years 2 and 3 they are encouraged to focus on the music of specific regions and to consider cross-regional themes. Performance is a central component of the degree. Students have the opportunity to develop expertise in a great variety of musical performance traditions.

See Department of Music

Combine Music with other subjects

This two-subject degree allows more scope for studying language or other non-musical aspects of particular cultures. 

  • Other disciplines: Development Studies, East Asian Studies, History, History of Art, Language and Cultures, Social Anthropology, World Philosophies
  • Languages: Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean

Some two-subject programmes are completed in three years while others take four years and include a year abroad. The single-subject degree allows greater concentration on music, including Western music and Performance.

Why study Music at SOAS

  • SOAS is ranked 13th in the UK in the 2022 QS World University Rankings for Arts and Humanities
  • 100% overall student satisfaction (NSS 2021)
  • the Department of Music at SOAS has been ranked best in the UK for research impact and 5th overall in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021
  • SOAS has the only Music department in the UK devoted to the study of world music.
  • very active musical life, including concert series, student ensembles and a successful summer school in which students can become involved
  • taught in the heart of London, home to many vibrant and diverse communities and to a breath-taking array of world music concerts, workshops and festivals.
  • students actively participate in this rich and varied musical scene
  • graduates possess not only musical and cultural expertise, but also a portfolio of widely transferable skills sought by employers in professional and creative industries. 

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Start of programme: September

Mode of Attendance: Full-time

Entry requirements

Featured events

3 or 4 years

Fees 2022/23

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.


Please see the Unistats data for the various combinations of this programme under the Combinations tab.


May be combined with:

+ 4-year degree with (compulsory) one year abroad
++ 3 or 4-year degree with option of one year abroad

Key Information Set data

Click on a combined programme to load KIS data



First-year modules provide an introduction to ethnomusicology and popular music studies from global perspectives, explore debates in music and aesthetics, and develop students’ academic and interpretative skills. Students also study a variety of Asian and African music cultures through performance.

In Years 2 and 3, students can study music cultures from different regions (Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, East Asia, and Jewish music) and may also choose to study thematic courses, skills-based and industry-related topics, and performance.

Occasionally the availability of optional modules changes as a result of staffing and other circumstances. Students who had signed up for such modules will be notified as soon as possible and given the opportunity to choose from available alternatives.

Year 1
Compulsory Modules: Year 1

Students will take the following compulsory modules:

Module Code Credits Term
Sounds and Cultures 155800071 15 Term 1
Writing Across the Arts 158100012 15 Term 1
Performance 1 155800062 15 Full Year
Decolonising Pop: K-Pop and Beyond 155800089 15 Term 2
Modules from second subject

Students choose modules to the value of 60 credits from their second subject

Year 2
Compulsory Modules: Year 2

Students will take the following compulsory modules:

Module Code Credits Term
Performance 2 155800042 15 Full Year
Key Concepts in Cultural Theory 158100002 15 Term 1
Guided Options: Year 2

Students take modules to the value of 30 credits from the Year 2-3 Guided Option module list.

Modules from second subject

Students choose modules to the value of 60 credits from their second subject

Year 3
Compulsory Modules: Year 3

Students will take the following compulsory modules:

Module Code Credits Term
Urban Soundscapes 155800083 15 Term 2
Guided Options: Year 3

Students take modules to the value of 30 credits of any of the following combinations:

Module Code Credits Term
Independent Study Project in Music 155800026 30 Full Year
Modules from second subject

Students choose modules to the value of 60 credits from their second subject

Year 2-3 Guided Option modules

Module Code Credits Term
Independent Study Project in Music 155800026 30 Full Year
Introduction to Sound Recording 155800069 15 Term 1
Music of the Jews of Arab Lands 155800074 15 Term 1
Music in Africa: Critical Listening - The Mande World 155800096 15 Term 2
Song, Voice, and Body in Indian Music 155800093 15 Term 2
Global Hip-Hop 155800084 15 Term 2
The Music Business 155800053 15 Term 2

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

The Department of Music has been highly rated for teaching and research in all recent assessment exercises, and is regularly ranked amongst the top Music departments in the UK in Good University Guides.

Music students have access to the large Main Library of the School which holds numerous books, journals and recordings relevant to the study of ethnomusicology and world music, as well as the nearby British Library Sound Archive and other London libraries and museums.

The SOAS Library holds copies of standard reference works on music, such as the current edition of the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. The Grove dictionary and the RILM database can also be accessed on line from computer terminals in the Library or elsewhere on the SOAS network. Listening facilities are provided in the Library, and most CDs are available on short loan. Among special items in the Department’s collections are:

  • field recordings, films and slides
  • a large working collection of musical instruments from Asia and Africa
  • extensive staff collections relating to specific research interests

Contact hours

All full-time undergraduate programmes consist of 120 credits per year, in modules of 30 or 15 credits. They are taught over 10 or 20 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 Arts, most undergraduate modules have a one- or two-hour lecture or seminar every week. Some, but not all, also have a 1-hour seminar or tutorial every week.

More information is on the page for each module.

Year abroad

If you are studying a language as part of your combined honours degree, you will usually study for 4 years, with year 3 spent abroad.

Fees and funding



Students in the School of Arts develop a ​​critical and theoretically informed approach to global arts and culture. In addition to an intercultural awareness and practical expertise, graduates gain a wide portfolio of transferable skills especially which are sought after in the creative and cultural industries. 
Recent School of Arts graduates have been hired by:
  • Christie’s
  • Christine Park Gallery
  • Crisis
  • Design Museum
  • Hong Kong Museum Of Art
  • India Foundation For The Arts
  • Japanese Gallery
  • Museum of East Asian Art
  • Music in Detention
  • National Gallery
  • Pan Arts
  • People Projects Culture & Change
  • Roundhouse Trust
  • Somerset House Trust
  • Songlines Magazine
  • Sotheby's
  • South Asian Art UK
  • Stratford Circus Arts Centre
  • Taiwan Embassy
  • The Alliance for Global Education
  • The British Embassy
  • The National Museum Of Korea
  • The Royal Collection
  • Victoria and Albert Museum

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A Student's Perspective

Even though practical music-making is only one element of music at SOAS, everything we studied contributed towards developing our musicianship.

Ben Sellers


Find out more