SOAS University of London

South Asia Section, School of Languages, Cultures & Linguistics

MA in the Study of Contemporary Pakistan (not running 2019/20) (2018 entry)

Please note this programme will NOT be running in 2019/20

Select year of entry: 2018 2018

Fees 2019/20

UK/EU fees:
Overseas fees:

Fees for 2019/20 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

Entry requirements

  • Minimum upper second class honours or equivalent.

Featured events

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


Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Start of programme: September

Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time

Please note that this programme is NOT running in 2019/20.

Do you want to enhance your understanding of the cultural, political and economic history of Pakistan? The MA in the Study of Contemporary Pakistan provides a comprehensive and critical approach to Pakistan: its complex and vibrant culture, politics, economics, law, religious history and current trends. SOAS hosts one of the biggest concentration of research and teaching staff who specialise on Pakistan related topics. You will have an opportunity to interact and work closely with them. The Programme of Study will introduce you to the latest research topics, methods and debates in the field. It will prepare you to critically assess the diverse complexities of one of the most reported on countries in the world.

Optional language training is available for those who aspire to a research degree.  

The degree is enhanced by the activities of a Research Centre dedicated to the Study of Pakistan. The Centre is part of the wider South Asian research cluster at SOAS.

Centre for the Study of Pakistan

Students are encouraged to join in the activities of the vibrant centre (, which runs fortnightly seminars and workshops, and an Annual Lecture.


The Centre for Pakistan supports MUSA, recently launched, a postgraduate research forum for the study of Muslim South Asia.


Several summer internships are currently available to run alongside the MA degree.  Please contact the convenors or the SOAS careers office for details.



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 take 180 credits, 60 of which are a dissertation and a 120 from taught modules. Of the taught modules 30 credits are core and 90 credits are from a list of approved optional modules.

The core module Imagining Pakistan: culture, politics, gender - 15PSAC313, will introduce the main topics, approaches and possible lines of enquiry for a cultural history of Pakistan from 1947 to the present. 

Students will choose 90 credits from a list of options that includes modules on modern Muslim thinkers and Contemporary Islamism in South Asia, Law and Society in South Asia, Urdu language, and Urdu literature in Pakistan.

Students will also write a 10,000 word dissertation on the Study of Contemporary Pakistan, applying and developing the knowledge acquired in the core modules to an independent topic of research.


Module Code Credits Term Availability
Dissertation in the Study of Contemporary Pakistan 15PSAC998 60 Full Year Not Running 2018/2019

Taught Component

Core Module

All students will take the following core module


Guided Options

Students will take modules to the value of 90 credits from the list below.

Note: Other language acquisition modules may be available by permission of the programme convenor

List of modules (subject to availability)

Languages and Cultures of South Asia
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Urdu Language 2 (PG) 15PSAC301 30 Full Year
Urdu Literacy (PG) 15PSAC302 30 Full Year
Directed Readings in the Literature of a Modern South Asian Language 15PSAC016 30 Full Year Not Running 2018/2019
Politics and International Studies
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Government and politics of modern South Asia 15PPOC003 30 Full Year
Queer Politics in Asia, Africa and the Middle East 15PGNH007 15 Term 2
State and Society in Central Asia and the Caucasus 15PPOH022 15 Term 1
Geopolitics and Security in Central Asia and the Caucasus 15PPOH023 15 Term 2
Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Modern Trends in Islam 15PNMC228 30 Full Year
Israel and the Palestinians 15PNMC038 30 Full Year
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Water Law: Justice and Governance 15PLAH044 15 Term 1
Religions & Philosophies
Development Studies
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Borders and Development 15PDSH023 15 Term 1
Migration and Policy 15PDSH029 15 Term 1
Water and Development:Conflict and Governance 15PDSH049 15 Term 2 Not Running 2018/2019
Political economy of violence, conflict and development 15PDSC003 30 Full Year
Gender Studies
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Gendering Migration & Diasporas 15PGNH002 15 Term 1


This is the structure for applicants

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

Programme Specification

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.

Teaching and Learning

Teaching & Learning

Contact Hours

One-year Masters programmes consist of 180 credits. 120 credits are taught in modules of 30 credits (taught over 20 weeks) or 15 credits (taught over 10 weeks); the dissertation makes up the remaining 60 units. 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, including reading and research, preparing coursework and revising for examinations. 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. At SOAS, most postgraduate modules have a one hour lecture and a one hour seminar every week, but this does vary. 

More information is on the page for each module.


  • To acquire a broad analytical knowledge of political patterns and cultural development of Pakistan from independence to the current period, both in terms of general trends and of specific case-studies;
  • To engage critically with state nationalism and with the variety of formal and informal cultural production (literature, film, TV and other media, everyday life) in Pakistan;
  • To acquire in-depth knowledge of either history, religion, or post-colonial literature in Pakistan, and if desired to study a language of Pakistan.

Intellectual (thinking) skills

  • Students are introduced to a number of theoretical approaches to politics, cultural and literary studies, and to apply them to the study of phenomena and trends in Pakistan;
  • Students will be able to analyse cultural products from Pakistan in a systematic and creative way from a variety of perspectives, and research the data necessary for making literary and cultural judgements;
  • Students will learn to evaluate and apply independent research methods, to demonstrate originality in dealing with issues in literary and cultural studies, formulate and test interpretations in economics and politics, and to successfully conduct an advanced, and to conduct an independent research project for their dissertation.

Subject-based practical skills

The programme aims to help students with the following practical skills:

  • Communicate effectively in writing.
  • Retrieve, sift and select information from a variety of sources.
  • Present seminar papers.
  • Listen critically to, and discuss, ideas introduced during seminars.
  • Practice research techniques in a variety of specialized research libraries and institutes.

Transferrable skills

The programme will encourage students to:

  • Write good essays and dissertations.
  • Structure and communicate ideas effectively both orally and in writing.
  • Study a variety of written and digital materials, in libraries and research institutes of a kind they will not have used as undergraduates.
  • Present material orally.

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 2019/20 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 Part-time 4 Years
Intensive Language only
£9,685 £19,930 £4,843 £9,965 £3,228 £6,643 £4,843 £9,965
Felix Non- Indian Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2018-01-29 00:00

John Loiello AFSOAS FISH Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2018-02-20 17:00

Tibawi Trust Award

Application Deadline: 2019-06-05 16:00

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


The MA prepares students for a wide range of career destinations. Graduates will benefit from interdisciplinary cultural and linguistic training that is widely sought after in the business and public sector. It is suited for those seeking employment as management consultants, policy advisers in Government and the Civil Service, Think Tanks, Charities, NGOs, as well as journalism and media related openings, more broadly in the culture industry, or for those who aspire to a Research degree.

  • Standard Chartered - International Bank
  • Bestway – Food Wholesaler
  • Gallager Heath - Insurance Broker
  • Citizen’s Foundation – Education Support in Pakistan Charity

A Student's Perspective

I most enjoyed the diverse course offering and the passion my classmates had for their course. You can find someone interested in just about everything here- and people doing something about it. There is always an academic talk, conference, or exhibition going on, and lecturers are keen to talk about and teach what they know best.

Hannah Brower, Smith College


Find out more

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    Please note this programme isn't running for the 2019/20 session.