SOAS University of London

South Asia Section, School of Languages, Cultures & Linguistics

BA South Asian Studies (4 years) (2020 entry)

Select year of entry: 2020 2019

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SOAS is the only University in the UK where you can study South Asian languages (Bengali, Hindi, Nepali, Sanskrit, Urdu) as part of your BA degree, and combine in-depth language learning with a broad range of modules related to the area. In all these languages (pathway languages) we offer language modules at beginner, intermediate and advanced level. We also offer modules that use the language skills you acquire to gain access to the present and past culture of South Asia through written and audio-visual texts. We occasionally offer Punjabi, subject to a minimum number of students. We also offer exciting modules on the culture and society of South Asia, including unique modules in cinema, literature, art, music, religion, history, politics, law, economics and anthropology. We offer the widest range of culture modules on South Asia, both at introductory and specialist levels.

Our BA South Asian Studies transforms your interest in South Asia into a serious degree, combining extensive knowledge in the area, solid linguistic skills, and a host of much-valued transferable skills. The career paths of our graduates include international development and aid agencies, print journalism and media, local, national and international government agencies, overseas companies, teaching, law, librarianship, arts administration.

As the economies of South Asia continue to expand, a knowledge of language and culture will be more and more of an asset in the world of commerce and international trade. Many of our graduates choose to pursue Masters’ programmes that either focus on particular aspects of South Asia, or are linked to professional qualifications in law, development, media, etc.

The four-year degree gives you the unique opportunity of spending the third year attending an intensive language programme in India, Nepal or Bangladesh and experiencing life and study in South Asia in what is a unique life experience.

Programme Code: T304

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Start of programme: September

Mode of Attendance: Full-time

Entry requirements

  • 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:
A Level language preferred
35 (6/6/5)

View alternative entry requirements


Access to HE: Minimum of 30 Level 3 Credits at Distinction

Scottish Highers: AAABB

Scottish Advanced Highers: AAB

Irish LC: 340 points from 5 Higher level subjects at grade C1 or above

Advanced Placement: 4 4 5 (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

Featured events

4 Years

Fees 2020/21

UK/EU fees:
Overseas fees:

Fees for 2020/21 entrants. 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 Undergraduate Tuition Fees page



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 must take 120 credits per year, 90 of which must be from the approved syllabus for their programme of study. 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.

NB: not all modules are available every year - please check to see which modules are on offer.

Core modules must be passed in order to proceed to the following year of study.

Year 1
Core Language Module (Year 1)

Choose module(s) to the value of 30 credits from list A at an appropriate level (Hindi/Sanskrit/Urdu language)

Compulsory Modules (Year 1)
Module Code Credits Term
Introduction to South and South East Asia 152900122 15 Term 1
H140 Introduction to the History of South Asia 154800231 15 Full Year
Decolonising Otherness 152900120 15 Term 2
Languages of the World 152900118 15 Term 2
Understanding Texts 152900123 15 Term 1
Year 2
Core Modules (Year 2)

Choose a language module(s) to the value of 30 credits from list A, which is a progression of the language studied in Year 1.

Compulsory Modules (Year 2)

Choose one of the following two modules:

Module Code Credits Term
Cultural Studies of South Asia 155906008 15 Term 1

Choose one of the following 15 credit compulsory modules

Module Code Credits Term
Cinema and Society in South Asia: Key Issues 155906001 15 Term 2
Cinema and Society in South Asia: History and Social Context 155906000 15 Term 1
Writing South Asia 155900927 15 Term 1
Public Culture in Contemporary Nepal 155906007 15 Term 1
Imagining Pakistan: Culture, Politics, Gender 155906003 15 Term 2

Choose an intermediate Sanskrit module to the value of '30 credits'

Optional Modules (Year 2)

Choose module(s) to the value of 30 credits from list A or list C


Choose module(s) to the value of 30 credits from list C or the list of undergraduate open options.

Year 3

Students spend their 3rd Year abroad. See the Teaching & Learning tab for more details.

Year 4
Compulsory Language Module (Year 4)

Choose an 'advanced level' module from 'List A' of the South Asian language pathway chosen in Year 1 to the value of '30 credits'.

Compulsory Module
Module Code Credits Term
Independent Study Project in South Asian Studies 155900955 30 Full Year
Guided Option (Year 4)

Choose a further intermediate or advanced level language module to the value of 30 credits from 'List A' OR choose a module to the value of 30 credits from 'List C' (choice may be restricted depending on the chosen language pathway).

Guided Option/Open option (Year 4)

Choose a guided option module to the value of 30 credits from 'List C' OR choose an open option to the value of 30 credits

List A South Asian Language Modules

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 module (or its equivalent) in Bengali OR Hindi OR Nepali OR Sanskrit OR Urdu is a pre¬requisite for admission to the Year Abroad.

Elementary level
Module Code Credits Term
Bengali Language 1 A 155906054 15 Term 1
Bengali Language 1 B 155906055 15 Term 2
Hindi Language 1 A 155906056 15 Term 1
Hindi Language 1 B 155906057 15 Term 2
Sanskrit Language 1 A 155906064 15 Term 1
Sanskrit Language 1 B 155906065 15 Term 2
Urdu Language 1 A 155906058 15 Term 1
Urdu Language 1 B 155906059 15 Term 2
Intermediate level
Module Code Credits Term
Bengali Language 2 155900492 30 Full Year
Hindi Language 2 155901183 30 Full Year
Readings in Contemporary Hindi 155901185 30 Full Year
Sanskrit Language 2 155901304 30 Full Year
Urdu Language 2 155900513 30 Full Year
Advanced level
Module Code Credits Term
Hindi Language 3 155901269 30 Full Year
Hindi Language 4 155901384 30 Full Year
Literature & Colonialism in North India 155901295 15 Term 1
Narratives of Mobility in Contemporary Hindi Literature 155901296 15 Term 2
Sanskrit Texts on Yoga 155901408 30 Full Year
Sanskrit Poetry and Aesthetics 155900860 30 Full Year
Selected Texts from the Sanskrit Epic 155900787 30 Full Year
List B Introductory modules on aspects of South Asian history and culture
Module Code Credits Term
Themes in the Art and Archaeology of South and Southeast Asia 154900156 15 Term 1
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 tutor before selecting units.

Department of the Languages and Cultures of South Asia
Module Code Credits Term
Cinema and Society in South Asia: Key Issues 155906001 15 Term 2
Imagining Pakistan: Culture, Politics, Gender 155906003 15 Term 2
Public Culture in Contemporary Nepal 155906007 15 Term 1
Final year only:
Module Code Credits Term
Independent Study Project in South Asian Studies 155900955 30 Full Year
Extended Essay in South Asian Studies 155901101 15 Full Year
School of Law
Module Code Credits Term
Law and Society in South Asia 155200032 30 Full Year
Legal Systems of Asia and Africa 155200073 30 Full Year
Department of Politics and International Studies
Module Code Credits Term
Government and politics of South Asia 153400020 30 Full Year
International Relations of South Asia 153400082 15 Term 2
South Asian Political Thought 153400165 15 Term 2
Department of English
Module Code Credits Term
Writing South Asia 155900927 15 Term 1
Department of History
Module Code Credits Term
H337 Histories of Partition: India and Pakistan 1947 (I) 154800282 30 Full Year
Department of History of Art and Archaeology
Module Code Credits Term
Imag(in)ing Buddhas in South Asia, Part 2 158000191 0.5
Hindu Art in Medieval India 154900162 15 Term 1
Department of Music
Module Code Credits Term
Song, Voice, and Body in Indian Music 155800093 15 Term 2
Department of Religions and Philosophies
Department of Anthropology and Sociology
Module Code Credits Term
Ethnography of South Asia 151802083 15 Term 2
Department of Economics

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

Year abroad

Year 3 is spent attending an intensive language module abroad, and gives you the unique opportunity of experiencing life and study in South Asia in what is a unique experience.  Please see the relevant language webpages for more information. 

There are also plenty of opportunities to volunteer for local NGOs (valuable work experience) and plan and collect material for the Independent Study Project in year 4.

Please note, the Year Abroad Urdu language programme is taught in Lucknow, India. Students will only be able to attend the Year Abroad if they are able to acquire a visa for India.

Teaching & Learning

Contact Hours

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.

Fees and funding

Tuition Fees

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

Fees for 2020/21 entrants. The fees below are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. 

Programme Full-Time
BA, BSc, LLB £9,250 £18,630
BA/BSc Language Year Abroad £1,385 £9,320
Undergraduate Research Awards

Application Deadline: 2020-04-30 15:00

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


As a student specialising in 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.

For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.

A Student's Perspective

I have had the chance to read the most up to date, often controversial and revealing perspectives on South Asia, presented by leading academics who will often actually be members of the South Asia Department Faculty itself. My choice to study at SOAS was the best decision I ever made; being a student here is an exciting and unique experience.

Mikaela Parrack


Find out more

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