SOAS University of London

Department of Religions & Philosophies, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

MA Religion in Global Politics

Full time: 1 calendar year Part time: 2 or 3 calendar years. We recommend that part-time students have between two and a half and three days free in the week to pursue their course of study.

Fees 2018/19

UK/EU fees:
Overseas fees:

Fees for 2018/19 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

2018 Entry requirements

Featured events

  • Overview
  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Fees and funding
  • Apply


Start of programme: October

Mode of Attendance: Full Time or Part Time

FROM 2017-18

Students must take 180 credits comprised of 120 taught credits (including core and option modules) and a 60 credit dissertation.

Select the equivalent of FIVE Modules comprising (1.0 OR 30 credits) and half (0.5 OR 15 credits) Modules including the dissertation.

The programme is designed to appeal to policy-makers, analysts, journalists and researchers in either international, national or regional institutions and organisations engaged in policy formation, inter-religious dialogue and community development, social work, development, conflict resolution, peace building or diversity management. It will also provide a solid basis from which to pursue doctoral study. The programme is intended to enable professional development in the area of ‘Religion and Politics’ as well to provide pre-doctoral research training in social scientific analyses of ‘Religion and Politics’.

Programme Handbook (text-plain:formatted; 702kb)  

Programme Description

Religion has become a force to be reckoned with in the contemporary global geopolitical landscape and as such demands a reassessment of once predominant understandings of processes of secularisation, as well as the meanings of, and tensions inherent within, secular assumptions and secularist positions. The so-called ‘resurgence’ of religion in the public sphere in recent decades is now a significant area of interdisciplinary scholarship eliciting a complex array of responses, ranging from vehement opposition to the very idea that religious concepts and commitments have a right to expression in political debates, to a reassessment of the origins and implications of divisions between the secular and the religious and their relationship to the nation state. The notion that there is no singular secularism, but rather a plurality of secularisms, and of ‘religion’ as an invention of European modernity and colonial interests are two of many emerging efforts to reconceptualise the meanings of religion and the secular and the entangled relationship between them.

The MA Religion in Global Politics offers an opportunity to examine these questions and issues at an advanced level by studying the complex relationships between religion and politics in the histories and contemporary political contexts (both national and international) of the regions of the Asia, Africa and the Middle East. A core objective is to challenge the Eurocentrism of current debates around secularism, secularisation, the nature of the public sphere within modernity, by indicating the plurality and contested nature of conceptions of both religion and the secular when considered in a global framework.

The programme is unique: it has a regional focus and disciplinary breadth rarely addressed in similar programmes in the subject area, draws on a wealth of multi- and interdisciplinary perspectives (Law, International Relations and Politics, History, Philosophy, Development, Anthropology, Migration and Diaspora Studies, and Gender Studies, amongst others) and has a rigorous theoretical basis built in, such that students will be familiarised with the current state-of-the-art debates regarding religion in the public sphere, secularisms, postsecularism, and political theology and their relevance to issues of democracy, war, violence, human rights, humanitarianism and development, multiculturalism, nationalism, sectarianism, religious extremism, and free speech amongst others. The range of course options available on the programme is unparalleled, ensuring that students will benefit from a truly interdisciplinary, intellectually rigorous, and regionally focused programme.

Programme Aims

The programme’s inter-disciplinary focus aims to provide students with advanced training in the area of religion and politics through the study of a wide range of theoretical and regional perspectives. It will serve primarily as a platform for professional development and further (MPhil/PhD) graduate research. The programme offers students:

  • Advanced knowledge and understanding of significant approaches, methods, debates, and theories in the field of religion and politics, with particular reference to the study of Asia, Africa and the Middle East;
  • Advanced skills in researching and writing about topics in and theorisations of religion and politics;
  • Advanced skills in the presentation or communication of knowledge and understanding of topics in religion and politics as they pertain to regional, international, and transnational contexts.

Entry Requirements

SOAS has general minimum entrance requirements for registration for a postgraduate taught degree. However, due consideration is given to the applicants’ individual profiles, and to the fact that great potential for the successful undertaking of the academic study of the field is not necessarily acknowledged or certified through the applicant’s academic qualifications. Interviews can be arranged for applicants who do not meet the minimum entrance requirements, and early contact with the programme convenor is advisable.



You are required to take taught modules to the equivalent of 120 credits, and to submit a dissertation of 10,000 words (60 credits).  A full module (30 credits) runs for the whole academic year; a half module (15 credits) runs for one term. Students may select a combination of full and half modules. The dissertation topic must be approved in advance by the Programme Convenor and must be on a topic connected with one of your taught modules. Dissertation training will be provided as part of the compulsory core module. Students may take other SOAS modules relevant to their studies that are not listed below but may do so only with the written approval of the Tutor of the relevant module, the Programme Convenor, and the Associate Dean for Learning and Teaching in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.

Students may be allowed to study for the MA on a part-time basis:

The part-time MA may be taken over two years, in which case the student takes two 30 credits (or equivalent 15 credits) in the first year, and two 30 credits (or equivalent 15  credits) and the dissertation in the second year.

Alternatively, it can be taken over three years, in which case the student can distribute the 120 credits evenly in each of the three years.  The dissertation can be written in year two or three, but it is strongly recommended that this be undertaken in the final year of the degree.  It must be submitted in September of the year in which the student registers for it.

Compulsory Courses
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Dissertation in Religion in Global Politics 15PSRC987 60 Full Year
Religion in Global Politics: Theories and Themes 15PSRC174 30 Full Year
Taught Option Courses

NOTE: not all courses will be offered every year due to course rotation and alternation.

Full Units
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Communication, Culture and Politics in the Middle East: Theoretical and Analytical Approaches 15PMSC005 30 Full Year
Contemporary Islamism in South Asia: Readings in Sayyid Abu al-A'la Mawdudi 15PSRC170 30 Full Year Not Running 2017/2018
Culture and Conflict in the Himalaya 15PSAC291 30 Full Year
Death and Religion 15PSRC162 30 Full Year
Eastern and Orthodox Christianity 15PSRC055 30 Full Year
History and Doctrines of Indian Buddhism 15PSRC059 30 Full Year Not Running 2017/2018
Human Rights and Islamic Law 15PLAC150 30 Full Year
Iran: History, Culture, Politics 15PNMC405 30 Full Year
Israel and the Palestinians 15PNMC038 30 Full Year
Jainism: History, Doctrine and the Contemporary World 15PSRC024 30 Full Year Not Running 2017/2018
Modern Muslim Thinkers of South Asia 15PSRC169 30 Full Year Not Running 2017/2018
Modern Trends in Islam 15PNMC228 30 Full Year
Muslim Britain: Perspectives and Realities 15PSRC158 30 Full Year
Mystical Traditions 15PSRC068 30 Full Year Not Running 2017/2018
Non-Violence in Jain Scriptures, Philosophy and Law 15PSRC062 30 Full Year
Religious Practice in Japan: Texts, Rituals and Believers 15PSRC071 30 Full Year Not Running 2017/2018
Taiwan's politics and cross-strait relations 15PPOC252 30 Full Year
The Politics of Culture in Contemporary South Asia 15PSAC314 30 Full Year
Zionist Ideology 15PNMC035 30 Full Year Not Running 2017/2018
Zoroastrianism: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives 15PSRC052 - Not Running 2017/18
Half Units
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Aid and Development 15PDSH027 15 Term 1
African and Asian Cultures in Britain 15PANH009 15 Term 2
African and Asian Diasporas in the Modern World 15PANH010 15 Term 1
African Philosophy (PG) 15PAFH008 15 Term 2
Afrophone Philosophies (PG) 15PAFH009 15 Term 2 Not Running 2017/2018
Anthropology of Globalisation (PG) 15PANH061 15 Term 2 Not Running 2017/2018
Borders and Development 15PDSH023 15 Term 2
Buddhism in Tibet 15PSRH008 15 Term 1 Not Running 2017/2018
Civil society, social movements and the development process 15PDSH001 15 Term 1
Colonial Conquest and Social Change in Southern Africa 15PHIH002 15 Term 1
Colonialism and Christian Missions in Africa: Readings from the Archives 15PSRH043 15 Term 2
Colonialism, Empire and International Law 15PLAH025 15 Term 2
Comparative International Political Thought 15PPOH021 15 Term 2
Conflict, rights and justice 15PPOH018 15 Term 1
Critical Perspectives on Palestine Studies I: History and Politics 15PNMH006 15 Term 1
Critical Perspectives on Palestine Studies II: Culture and Society 15PNMH007 15 Term 2
Diaspora Contexts and Visual Culture 15PARH042 15 Term 2 Not Running 2017/2018
East Asian Buddhist Thought 15PSRH018 15 Term 2
Encountering the Other: the Middle East during the Crusading Period 15PHIH037 15 Term 1 Not Running 2017/2018
Gender and Development 15PDSH010 15 Term 1
Gender in the Middle East 15PGNH001 15 Term 1
Gender, Armed Conflict and International Law 15PGNH005 15 Term 1
Gender, law and the family in the history of modern South Asia 15PHIH030 15 Term 2
Gendering Migration & Diasporas 15PGNH002 15 Term 2
Historical Perspectives on Gender in Africa 15PHIH029 15 Term 1
Histories of Ethnicity and Conflict in South East Asia 1 - Making States and Building Nations 15PHIH011 15 Term 1 Not Running 2017/2018
Histories of Ethnicity and Conflict in South East Asia 2 - Non-National Perspectives 15PHIH012 15 Term 2 Not Running 2017/2018
International Political Communication 15PMSH009 15 Term 2
Iran and the Persianiate world, 1400 to 1800 15PHIH042 15 Term 2 Not Running 2017/2018
Iran and the Persianiate world, 1800 to 1979 15PHIH043 15 Term 2 Not Running 2017/2018
Islam and the West: Artistic and Cultural Contacts 15PARH034 15 Term 2
Islam in South Asia 15PHIH044 15 Term 1
Japanese Modernity I 15PHIH013 15 Term 1
Japanese Modernity II 15PHIH014 15 Term 2
Judaism and Gender 15PSRH029 15 Term 2 Not Running 2017/2018
Law & Critique 15PLAH053 15 Term 1
Law and Postcolonial Theory 15PLAH050 15 Term 1
Mediated Culture in the Middle East: Politics and Communications 15PMSH003 15 Term 1
Migration and Policy 15PDSH029 15 Term 1 Not Running 2017/2018
Nationhood and Competing Identities in Modern China 15PHIH022 15 Term 2
Outsiders in Medieval Middle Eastern Societies: Minorities, Social Outcasts and Foreigners 15PHIH006 15 Term 2 Not Running 2017/2018
Political Economy of Institutions 15PECC020 15 Term 2
Queer Politics in Asia, Africa and the Middle East 15PGNH007 15 Term 2
Public Policy and Management: Perspectives and Issues 15PFMC094 15 Term 1
Religion, Nationhood and Ethnicity in Judaism 15PSRH030 15 Term 2 Not Running 2017/2018
Religions on the move: New Currents and Emerging Trends in Global Religion 15PANH055 15 Term 1
Representing Conflict: A Cross-Cultural and Inter Disciplinary Approach 15PARH039 15 Term 2
Security 15PDSH020 15 Term 1
The Body and the Making of Colonial Difference in British India 15PHIH033 15 Term 2 Not Running 2017/2018
The Early Development of Islam: Emerging Identities and Contending View 15PHIH039 15 Term 2
The Great Tradition of Taoism 15PSRH036 15 Term 1 Not Running 2017/2018
The Holocaust in Theology, Literature and Art 15PSRH028 15 Term 1
The Making of the Contemporary World 15PHIH035 15 Term 1 Not Running 2017/2018
The Origin of Islam: Sources and Perspectives 15PHIH045 15 Term 1
Transnational Communities and Diasporic Media:Networking, Connectivity, Identity 15PMSH004 15 Term 2
Understanding Communal Violence in India since 1947 15PSRH052 15 Term 2 Not Running 2017/2018
War to Peace Transitions 15PDSH018 15 Term 2
Violence, justice and the politics of memory 15PPOH019 15 Term 1


This is the structure for 2017/18 applicants

If you are a current student you can find structure information on Moodle or through your Faculty.

Programme Specification


Teaching and Learning

Teaching & Learning

Students are required to follow taught units to the equivalent of three full courses and to submit a dissertation of 10,000 words. Courses are assessed through a variety of methods including short and long essays, examinations, oral presentations, and response papers. An overall percentage mark is awarded for each course, based on the marks awarded for individual assessment items within the courses. The MA may be awarded at Distinction, Merit or Pass level in accordance with the common regulations for MA/MSc at SOAS.

The MA Religion in Global Politics is designed both as a professional development qualification and as a platform preparing students for doctoral research.

Programme Learning Outcomes
  • Inter-and multidisciplinary specialist understanding of the relationship between religion/secularism and the public sphere;
  • Knowledge of the comparative and historical contexts of religion and secularism;
  • Theories and practices of criticism and analysis in relation to core topics in the field of religion and politics in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Europe;
  • Understanding of the disciplinary range of the field and the necessity of engagement with the topic of religion for the understanding of politics;
  • Familiarity with various frameworks and key concepts that enable the integration of a variety of perspectives around the problematic of the role of religion in the public sphere and of the interrelationship of state and religious structures, values, and commitments.
Intellectual (thinking) skills
  • Precision in assessment of evidence and argumentation;
  • Capacity to discuss theoretical and epistemological issues in an articulate, informed, and intellectual manner;
  • Precision and critical acumen in the assessment of scholarly arguments and interpretations;
  • The ability to assess evidence and arguments independently;
  • Effective presentation of complex theoretical arguments and their relationship to empirical data;
  • Theoretical and regional expertise in order to develop and apply self-reflexive approaches to dominant issues in the comparative study of religion and politics.
Subject-based practical skills
  • Academic and professional writing to the highest standards;
  • IT-based information retrieval, processing and data organisation;
  • Fieldwork and archival research techniques;
  • Research project design;
  • Presentational skills;
  • Independent study skills;
  • Reflexive learning.
Transferable skills
  • Problem solving and research skills;
  • Oral and written communication;
  • Critical and independent thought;
  • Synthesising of difficult and wide ranging empirical material;
  • Regional specialism;
  • Working to deadlines and to high standards of presentation and argumentation;
  • Ability to make assessments involving complex factors.

Fees and funding

Tuition Fees

Full details of postgraduate tuition fees can be found on the Registry's Postgraduate Tuition Fees page.

This is a Band 1 tuition fee.

Fees for 2018/19 entrants. The fees below are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. 

Full-time Part-time 2 Years Part-time 3 Years
£9,225 £18,980 £4,613 £9,490 £3,075 £6,327
Felix Non- Indian Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2018-01-29 00:00

Felix Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2018-01-29 00:00

John Loiello AFSOAS FISH Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2018-02-20 17:00

SOAS Master's Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2018-02-20 17:00

Sasakawa Postgraduate Studentship

Application Deadline: 2018-02-20 17:00

Tibawi Trust Award

Application Deadline: 2018-06-05 00:00

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


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