SOAS University of London

MSc Asian Politics

MSc Asian Politics (2018 entry)

  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning


Containing 60 percent of the world’s population, Asia is the setting for many of the most important political issues in the world today. These issues include the rise of China and India, economic dynamism of the Asian-Pacific area, regional integration (ASEAN, SAARC, Shanghai Cooperation Organization), security hotspots (Korean Peninsula, Taiwan Straits, India-Pakistan, the ‘global war on terror’), democratic transition and consolidation, the survival of non-democratic regimes, and identity conflicts of ethnicity, religion and language. To understand these and other political processes, this MSc programme draws upon the concepts and methods of the sub-disciplines of comparative politics (political sociology and political economy) and international relations. The evidence from Asia will also reveal the relevance and limitations of the concepts and methods derived from North American/European settings and suggest ways in which they may be modified. The expertise available in the Department enables students to concentrate on one of the sub-regions of Asia, (East Asia. South Asia, Southeast Asia and Central Asia) should they choose to do so. Alternatively, they may follow a more comparative approach by selecting a mixture of units covering different sub-regions.

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Start of programme: September intake only

Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time

Entry requirements

  • The qualification for entry is normally a first or upper-second class honours degree (or equivalent) in Politics or International Relations, or a related social science discipline. Applicants without such a background may be considered for admission depending on their academic training and undergraduate performance.

Featured events

One calendar year (full-time); Two or three years (part-time, daytime only)



Learn a language as part of this programme

Degree programmes at SOAS - including this one - can include language courses in more than forty African and Asian languages. It is SOAS students’ command of an African or Asian language which sets SOAS apart from other universities.


Students take taught modules to the value of 4 full units + dissertation:

  • 90 credits from List A (compulsory)
  • 30 credits from List B or C or any open option with the approval of the programme convenor
  • Dissertation on some aspect of Asian Politics (compulsory).

NB. A maximum of 30 credits may be selected from China-focused modules (15PPOC012, 15PPOC018 or 15PPOC252).


This would focus on some aspect of Asian Politics.

Module Code Credits Term
Dissertation in Politics and International Studies 15PPOC999 60 Full Year
Core Modules

Students must take both modules in List A (to the value of 30 credits).


Choose a minimum of 60 credits from List B


Choose a maximum of 30 credits from List C OR any open option with approval of programme convenor.

Taught Component

Core Modules

Module Code Credits Term
State and Society in Central Asia and the Caucasus 15PPOH022 15 Term 1
Geopolitics and Security in Central Asia and the Caucasus 15PPOH023 15 Term 2
Northeast Asian Politics and Society: Japan, Korea and Taiwan 15PPOC253 30 Credits
State And Society In The Chinese Political Process 15PPOC012 30 Credits
China And International Politics 15PPOC018 30 Credits
Taiwan's Politics and Cross-Strait Relations 15PPOC252 30 Credits
Japan Unravelled 15PPOH033 15 Credits
The Indian Ocean in World Politics 15PPOH032
List B

A minimum of 60 credits from List B - East Asia Pathway

Module Code Credits Term
Politics of Globalisation and Development 15PPOC017 30 Credits
State and Society In Asia and Africa 15PPOC008 30 Credits
Queer Politics in Asia, Africa and the Middle East 15PGNH007 15 Term 2
Comparative International Political Thought 15PPOH021 15 Credits
Political Thought on the Just Rebellion 15PPOH030 15 Term 2
Islamic/Democratic Political Thought 15PPOH046 15 Term 2
International Political Economy 15PPOH031 15
Approaches to Comparative Political Thought 15PPOH028 15 Term 2
Introduction to Quantitative Methods in Social Research 15PPOH035 15 Term 2
List B

A minimum of 60 credits from List B - South Asia Pathway

Module Code Credits Term
Culture and Conflict in Nepal 15PSAH017 15 Term 1
NB: Students wishing to take 15PHIH013 must also take 15PHIH014
Module Code Credits Term
Elementary Spoken Cantonese (PG) 15PCHC006 30 Full Year
Chinese 1 A (PG) 15PCHH031 15 Term 1
Chinese 1 B (PG) 15PCHH032 15 Term 2
Japanese 1 A (PG) 15PJKH035 15 Term 1
Japanese 1 B (PG) 15PJKH036 15 Term 2
Hindi Language 1 A (PG) 15PSAH022 15 Term 1
Hindi Language 1 B (PG) 15PSAH023 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

Modules are taught by a combination of methods, principally lectures, tutorial classes, seminars and supervised individual study projects.

The MSc programme consists of three taught modules (corresponding to three examination papers) and a dissertation.


Most modules involve a 50-minute lecture as a key component with linked tutorial classes.


At Masters level there is particular emphasis on seminar work. Students make full-scale presentations for each unit that they take, and are expected to write papers that often require significant independent work.


A quarter of the work for the degree is given over to the writing of an adequately researched 10,000-word dissertation. Students are encouraged to take up topics which relate the study of a particular region to a body of theory.

Learning Resources

SOAS Library

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.

The Library houses over 1.2 million volumes, together with significant archival holdings, special collections and a growing network of electronic resources.

Find out more