SOAS University of London

South Asia Section, School of Languages, Cultures & Linguistics

BA South Asian Studies and… (4 years) (2018 entry)

  • Combinations
  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Employment


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 training in a discipline that will also include modules focusing on your area of choice. In Bengali, Hindi, Nepali, Sanskrit and Urdu (‘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 offer a more limited range of language modules in Tamil, Sinhala, Gujarati and Punjabi, subject to a minimum number of students. You will also be able to choose from a range of 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 and… (4 years) transforms your interest in South Asia into a serious degree, combining extensive knowledge in the area, solid linguistic skills, training in a discipline, and a host of much-valued transferrable 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: See "Combinations"

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

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:
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

Featured events

4 Years


Please see the Unistats data for the various combinations of this programme under the Combinations tab.


May be combined with:

* Combined with named language pathways only.

Key Information Set data

Click on a combined programme to load KIS data


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.

Language Pathways Available

Students take the equivalent of 120 credits each year, with at least 150 credits of completed modules in the first subject and 120 credits in the second subject. The third Year Abroad counts as 120 credits.

Key Information

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.

Year 1
Core Language Module (Year 1)

Choose a South Asian Language pathway (Hindi, Sanskrit or Urdu) at the appropriate level to the value of 30 credits.

Compulsory Module (Year 1)
Compulsory Modules (Year 1)

Choose a 15 credit module from 'List B' PLUS choose modules to the value of 60 credits in your second subject.

Year 2
Core Language Module (Year 2)

Choose a continuation of the South Asian language pathway chosen in Year 1 to the value of 30 credits.

Compulsory Module (Year 2)

Choose one of the following 15 credit core modules below

Module Code Credits Term
Cinema and Society in South Asia: Key Issues 155906001 15 Term 2
Writing South Asia 155900927 15 Term 1
Imagining Pakistan: Culture, Politics, Gender 155906003 15 Term 1

Choose a Sanskrit module at intermediate level to the value of '30 credits' as your core module

Compulsory Modules (Year 2)

Choose modules to the value of '60 credits' in your second subject

Year 3

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

Year 4
Compulsory Language Module (Year 4)

Choose advanced level modules to the value of 30 credits in the South Asian language pathway chosen in Year 1 (Bengali/Hindi/Nepali/ Sanskrit/Urdu) from 'List A'

Guided Options (Year 4)

Guided Options are modules that may be preferable for the learning outcomes of this degree programme. Choose the extended essay below PLUS a module to the value of 15 credits from 'List A' or 'List C'

Module Code Credits Term
Extended Essay in South Asian Studies 155901101 15 Full Year

Choose a further South Asian Language (Bengali/Hindi/Nepali/Sanskrit/Urdu) module at the appropriate level from 'List A' to the value of 30 credits OR modules to the value of 30 credits from 'List C'


Choose modules to the value of 30 credits in your second subject

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
Nepali Language 1 A 155906060 15 Term 2
Nepali Language 1 B 155906061 15 Term 2
Punjabi Language 1 A 155906062 15 Term 1
Punjabi Language 1 B 155906063 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
Nepali Language 2 155900609 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
Sanskrit Texts on Yoga 155901408 30 Full Year
Sanskrit Poetry and Aesthetics 155900860 30 Full Year
List B Introductory courses 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
H140 Introduction to the History of South Asia 154800231 15 Term 2
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
Module Code Credits Term
Cinema and Society in South Asia: Key Issues 155906001 15 Term 2
Imagining Pakistan: Culture, Politics, Gender 155906003 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
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
H234 Colonialism and Culture in Modern South Asia 154800264 15 Term 1
H337 Histories of Partition: India and Pakistan 1947 (I) 154800282 30 Full Year
Department of Art and Archaeology
Module Code Credits Term
Imag(in)ing Buddhas in South Asia, Part 2 158000191 0.5
Art and Empire in Early Modern India 154900193 15 Term 1
Hindu Art in Medieval India 154900162 15 Term 1
Hindu Art in Medieval India 154900162 15 Term 1
Department of Music
Module Code Credits Term
Music and Sound Art in South Asian Religions 155800086 15 Term 2
Song, Voice, and Body in Indian Music 155800093 15 Term 2
Department of the Study of Religions
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 in India, Nepal or Bangladesh, with plenty of opportunities to volunteer for local NGOs (valuable work experience) and planning and collecting material for the Independent Study Project in year 4.

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.


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

Studying at SOAS is an absolute joy as well as an enriching experience. I am being taught by two of the most inspirational teachers I have ever met and they challenge me to ‘unpack’ and think more deeply about the issues that I am enthusiastic about.

Bobby Danial

Find out more