SOAS University of London

Department of Politics and International Studies

Certificate in Politics and International Studies (2021 entry)

Select year of entry: 2022 2021

  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning


This one-year course provides a substantive and comprehensive introduction to the politics of Africa, Asia and the Middle East. It is designed for two types of students:

  • Those keen to pursue a Masters degree but who do not have a background in the relevant subject area, and who seek academic foundations for more advanced studies.

  • Professionals or mature students with an interest in furthering their knowledge of (international) politics, but who do not wish to embark on a full three-year undergraduate degree, or a Masters degree.

Students enrolled in the Certificate programme will study concepts and approaches that are foundational for analysing politics and international relations, and they are able to choose from a range of disciplinary and regional modules that enables them to design a programme tailored to their specific interests. This programme does not involve writing a dissertation.

Entry requirements

  • The minimum entry requirement is the ability to demonstrate the potential to study at undergraduate level. However, programmes may have their own specific requirements, such as, in the case of language-based studies, a proven ability to learn a language.

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Students have to take 120 undergraduate credits from those that are available to full-time undergraduate students, with whom they also attend lectures and tutorials. Course expectations are the same as for full time students (attendance, coursework, essays, annual examinations, etc). Passing the certificate at an upper second class standard is normally deemed to make a student eligible for the taught Master's degrees offered by the Department of Politics and International Studies at SOAS.

Students normally choose 60 introductory credits and 30 EACH from the Disciplinary and Regional units. The following is a list of available modules - please note that not every module may be available every year.

Introductory Units
Module Code Credits Term
Introduction to Political Analysis 153400086 30 Full Year
Introduction to Comparative Politics 153400079 30 Full Year
Introduction to International Relations 153400085 30 Full Year
Introduction to Political Economy 153400154 30 Full Year
Regional Units
Module Code Credits Term
Government and politics of the Middle East 153400060 30 Full Year
Government and Politics of Mainland Southeast Asia 153400153 15 Term 1
Government and Politics of Island Southeast Asia 153400152 15 Term 2
The state and politics in Africa 153400064 15 Term 1
African Political Thought 153402004 15 Term 1
Government and politics of China 153400071 30 Full Year
International Relations of East Asia 153400155 15 Term 1
International Relations of South Asia 153400082 15 Term 2
International Relations of the Middle East 153400081 30 Full Year
International Relations of Africa 153400090 30 Full Year
Disciplinary Units
Module Code Credits Term
Political Parties and Elections 153400158 15 Term 2
Politics of Nationalism 153400057 15 Term 1
Performance and Politics 153400157 15 Term 2
Politics of development 153400042 15 Term 2
War and the International 153400167 15 Term 1
Religion and World Politics 153400162 15 Term 1
International Institutions and World Politics 153400068 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

Most of our modules are taught through a combination of lectures and tutorials. Lectures (50 minutes) provide broad overviews of the topic. They are accompanied by tutorials (50 minutes) that give students the opportunity to discuss readings and key issues in small groups. In the final year, modules may also take the form of two-hour seminars allowing for deeper engagement with more specialised topics. The programme provides methodological and skills training throughout and allows final year students to undertake an independent research project, such as a dissertation, supervised by an academic member of staff.

By the end of the programme students will have acquired a range of transferable skills. This includes the ability to collect and synthesise information, read and evaluate complex materials, assess the evidence for a range of different positions, construct arguments, exercise independence of judgement and communicate effectively both orally and in writing.

Students also benefit from the vibrant learning environment SOAS provides more broadly. The 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. Moreover, every year there is a lively events programme that attracts renowned speakers from around the world, allowing students to engage with cutting edge debates on contemporary politics.