BA South Asian Studies and... is a 3-year degree, and 120 credits are taken each year. The first year features the core module South Asian Culture, a modular module which introduces aspects of the languages and cultures of the subcontinent. This is taken alongside an introductory language module in Bengali, Hindi, Nepali, Sanskrit, or Urdu, which in turn leads to further modules in the same language and its literature in Years 2 and 3. (Gujarati, Pali, Punjabi, Sinhala and Tamil are also available, but in a more limited range of modules.) Not all language modules are available every year, and all modules are subject to quorum; current availability can be checked by contacting the South Asia Department. Further modules relevant to South Asia are selected from options taught in other departments. Given the range of modules available, the Department is careful to offer appropriate advice to each student in making his or her selection, in order to ensure an overall coherence of coverage.
Introductory language modules taught in Year 1 assume no previous knowledge of the chosen language or its script: they start completely from scratch. Modules in modern languages concentrate on all four linguistic skills – understanding, speaking, reading and writing; classes are small and interactive, with students being encouraged to use the language actively from the outset. Many of our introductory language modules have been written especially for our needs by members of the Department staff; and Intermediate and advanced language modules feature a wide range of ‘real world’ teaching and study materials. The formal teaching is complemented by the frequent open lectures, seminars and cultural events on South Asian themes that are held regularly in SOAS.
Final-year options include an Independent Study Project, which gives the student an opportunity to pursue a subject of personal interest (in language, literature, politics, culture, religion, the arts and media, or any other aspect of contemporary or historical India), leading to the writing of a 10,000-word dissertation under tutorial supervision.
Students with a specific interest in Bengali, Hindi, Nepali, Sanskrit or Urdu may like to consider, as an alternative to the 3 year degree, the 4 year full or half degree featuring these languages as a named pathway; these degrees have a more specific focus on the respective language itself, and include a year abroad in South Asia.
Key Information Set Data
The information for BA, BSc, or LLB programmes refer to data taken from the single subject degrees offered at SOAS; however, due to the unique nature of our programmes many subjects have a separate set of data when they are studied alongside another discipline. In order to get a full picture of their chosen subject(s) applicants are advised to look at both sets of information where these occur.
Programme Code: See "Combinations"
Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings
Mode of Attendance: Full-time
- Interview Policy: Candidates with non-standard qualifications may be invited for interview, though many applications are assessed on the basis of the UCAS forms alone.
- A Levels:
- While a foreign language at A-level will be useful we strongly encourage students with less traditional backgrounds to apply or to discuss their application with the department.
- 33 (5/5/5)
View alternative entry requirements
Access to HE: Minimum of 30 Level 3 Credits at Distinction
Scottish Highers: AABBB
Scottish Advanced Highers: ABB
Irish LC: 320 points from 5 Higher level subjects at grade C1 or above
Advanced Placement: 4 4 4 (Two semesters - UCAS Group A) plus US HSGD with GPA 3.0
Euro Bacc: 80%
French Bacc: 14/20
German Abitur: 2.0
Italy DES: 80/100
Austria Mat: 2.0
Polish Mat: Overall 75% including 3 extended level subjects
- 3 years
Please see the Unistats data for the various combinations of this programme under the Combinations tab.
May be combined with:
- African Studies, TT35 BA/AFSAS
- Development Studies, TLH9 BA/SASDVS
- Economics, TLH1 BA/SASEC
- History, VT1J BA/SASH
- History of Art/Archaeology, VTH3 BA/HAASAS
- International Management, TNC2 BA/SASIM
- International Relations, LTF3S09 BA/IRSAS
- Law, TMH1 BA/SASLW
- Linguistics, TQH1 BA/LGSAS
- Music, WTH3 BA/SASMS
- Politics, TLFH BA/SASPOL
- Social Anthropology, TL3Q BA/SASSA
- Study of Religions, VTQ3 BA/SASSR
- World Philosophies, T303 BA/SASWP
* Taught at King's College, London
** Taught at University College London (UCL)
Key Information Set data
Click on a combined programme to load KIS data
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 take 120 credits per year. Students can choose non-language modules from a range of approved South-Asia related modules from subject areas which include anthropology, art and archaeology, economics, film, geography, history, law, literature, music, politics and religion. Over the three years they must take at least 150 credits from one subject and at least 120 credits from the other subject. The subject with the largest number of credits will be named first in the degree.
Compulsory Language Module (Year 1)
Choose a Bengali/Hindi/Nepali/ Sanskrit/Urdu language module at the appropriate level to the value of '30 credits'
Core Module (Year 1)
Core Module (Year 1)
Choose a module at an appropriate level to the value of 15 credits from 'List B'.
Second Subject/Compulsory Modules (Year 1)
Choose modules to the value of 60 credits in your second subject.
Compulsory Module (Year 2)
Choose a Bengali/Hindi/Nepali/ Sanskrit/Urdu language module at the appropriate level to the value of 30 credits OR choose modules from 'List C' to the value of 30 credits.
Core Module (Year 2)
Choose one of the following 15 credit modules below OR choose a Sanskrit module at intermediate level to the value of '30 credits'
Second Subject/Compulsory Modules
Choose modules to value of 60 credits in your second subject.
Compulsory Module (Year 3)
Choose either the ISP below
Choose the Extended Essay below AND a level 6 module to the value of 15 credits from 'List C'
Compulsory Modules (Year 3)
Choose intermediate level or advanced level modules to the value of 30 credits from 'List A' OR 'List C'
Compulsory Modules (Year 3)
Choose modules to the value of 60 credits in your second subject
List A South Asian language courses
The list below indicates the pathway along which students can progress as they do their South Asian language modules. Students may not take more than one language module at elementary level in any given year. Passing of the intermediate level course (or its equivalent) in Bengali OR Hindi OR Nepali OR Sanskrit OR Urdu is a pre-requisite for admission to the Year Abroad.
List B Introductory modules on aspects of South Asian history and culture
List C Non-language-based South Asian and South Asian-related modules
Some modules require successful attendance of a relevant introductory module; students are advised to check the relevant module descriptions for prerequisites and consult the relevant module convenor before selecting modules.
Department of the Languages and Cultures of South Asia
Final Year Only
School of Law
Department of Politics and International Studies
Department of English
Department of History
Department of History of Art and Archaeology
Department of Music
Department of Religions and Philosophies
Department of Anthropology and Sociology
Department of Economics
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 & Learning
All full-time undergraduate programmes consist of 120 credits per year, taught in modules of 30 credits (taught over 20 weeks) or 15 credits (taught over 10 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 Languages, Cultures and Linguistics, undergraduate modules take various forms. Modules may be taught through 1 or 2 hours of lectures a week, and some may have an additional 1-2 hours of weekly seminars. Languages classes may be 4-5 hours per week in the first and second year, typically less at higher levels.
More information is on the page for each module.
Language teaching is mostly in small tutorial groups; tapes and language laboratory facilities are available for formal teaching and self-study. Non-language modules are taught by lecture and seminar. Language classes are examined by written and oral examination; non-language classes are examined by essays and written examination.
As a student specialising in the languages and cultures of South Asia, you will gain competency in language skills and intercultural awareness and understanding. Familiarity with the region will have been developed through a combination of the study of language, literature and culture (which can include literature, film, music, art and religion) of various parts of South Asia.
Graduates leave SOAS not only with linguistic and cultural expertise, but also with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek in many professional and management careers in both business and the public sector. These include written and oral communication skills, attention to detail, analytical and problem-solving skills, and the ability to research, amass and order information from a variety of sources.
Choosing to study a joint degree programme will increase the breadth of your knowledge, and will develop additional skills with which to further your studies of South Asia, or to make comparative study with other areas. South Asian Studies may be combined with a huge range of other disciplines. For more information on the extra skills you will gain from your second subject, please see the relevant departmental page.
For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.
A Student's Perspective
Jen Guha (USA)
The professors I had were all high quality, and willing to spend the extra time going over concepts, or taking time during class to have in depth discussions.