Students must take 180 credits comprised of 120 taught credits (including core and option modules) AND a 60 credit dissertation.
The MA Religions of Asia and Africa is designed both as an end qualification in itself and as a platform preparing students for more advanced graduate work.
It typically suits students falling into one of the following three categories:
students planning to pursue further research, which may involve at a subsequent stage the acquisition of a doctoral degree and a career in higher education;
students willing to pursue a career or professional activity, for which advanced knowledge of the religions of Asia and Africa and of the theoretical and practical issues involved in their study is essential: arts, media, teaching, NGOs and charities, interfaith dialogue, consultancy for governmental agencies or the private sector, religious institutions, museums, and more.
students who wish to pursue the academic study of religions as a complement to their personal experience and commitments: religious ministers and clerics from all confessions, believers, yoga and meditation practitioners; anyone interested in specific religious traditions or in religion as an essential dimension of life, and in the critical and experiential enhancement that their academic study may offer.
The MA Religions of Asia and Africa at SOAS offers the premier postgraduate curriculum in the U.K. for the study of the religions of Asia and Africa. It covers a wider range of religious traditions than most comparable programmes, whether in the U.K. or abroad: Buddhism in nearly all its doctrinal and regional varieties, Asian and African Christianities, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Shinto, Taoism, Zoroastrianism as well as the local religious cultures of Asia and Africa.
The programme is strongly interdisciplinary and methodologically diverse, offering advanced learning in theories and methods in the study of religion as well as in historical, anthropological, philosophical, sociological and textual approaches to the study of particular religious traditions. It ensures students can benefit from the unique opportunity to tap cutting-edge academic expertise and library facilities on Asian and African religions as part of a spirited, cosmopolitan student community and within the intense religious and cultural scene of London.
Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings
Start of programme: September intake only
Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time
- Normally, minimum upper second class Honours degree from a UK university, or an overseas qualification or equivalent standard. Applicants with qualifications obtained at private or religious institutions should enquire about the School’s position on such qualifications.
- Interview Policy: We welcome applications from students with non-conventional qualifications and usually determine suitability for the programme on the basis of an interview.
- 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.
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 must complete 120 credits of MA taught modules in addition to the compulsory dissertation (60 credits).
- Up to 90 credits modules must be selected from the religious pathways listed below.
- Up to 30 credits modules may be selected as a language module (most are taught in the Faculty of Languages and Cultures).
Note: Students wishing to take other SOAS modules relevant to their studies but taught outside the department may do so with the written approval of the tutor of the relevant module, the Department's MA Convenor and the Faculty's Associate Dean for Learning and Teaching.
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.
Dissertation (choose from options below)
Choose modules to the value of 60 credits from the list of modules below.
Choose modules to the value of 30 credits from the list of modules below or from the PGT language modules in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures or the School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics.
Choose modules to the value of 30 credits from the list of modules below or from Postgraduate Open Options.
List of modules (subject to availability)
East Asian Religions
Gender and Religions
Religion in Africa
Modules taught in other departments
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.
An MA in Religions of Asia and Africa from SOAS equips students with important knowledge and understanding of different cultures, history and beliefs across the regions of Asia and Africa. As well as subject expertise, students develop a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek in many professional careers in the private and public sectors as well as essential skills necessary to pursue further research. These include: the ability to research, amass and order information from a variety of sources - often both in the original or other relevant languages; analytical skills to assess critically the materials relevant to a specific issue; written and oral communication skills to present, discuss and debate opinions and conclusions; and problem solving skills. 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.