SOAS University of London

South Asia Section, School of Languages, Cultures & Linguistics

MA Intensive South Asian Studies (2018 entry)

  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning


The two-year MA Intensive South Asian Studies offers comprehensive language-based training across a wide range of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences.

Students on the programme take 120 credits at SOAS during their first year, of which a language module at an appropriate level in Bengali, Hindi or Urdu and the module ‘The Politics of Culture in Contemporary South Asia’ are core.  In addition to the two core modules, students must choose modules to the value of 60 credits from the list of options advertised for the MA South Asian Area Studies. The disciplines available include Anthropology, Art and Archaeology, Cinema, Cultural and Regional Studies, Economics, History, Law, Literature, Music, Politics, and Study of Religions.

In their second year, students will undertake an extended period of study attached to a university or research institute in India or Pakistan (the location depending on their choice of language), where they will further develop their language proficiency (worth 90 credits) and conduct research for an extended dissertation(worth 90 credits).  The second half of the second year will be taken up with the writing of the dissertation under close supervision back in London.

The programme is aimed at students pursuing careers in the academic world, business, government and the media that require a skill set which encompasses disciplinary rigour, comprehensive area knowledge and cultural and linguistic fluencies. No prior knowledge of a South Asian language is required but applicants should provide evidence of their language-learning ability.  The language element of the training will be tailored to meet the needs of students with existing language skills.

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Start of programme: September

Mode of Attendance: Full-time

Entry requirements

Featured events

Two Years Full Time


Students take The Politics of Culture in Contemporary South Asia - 15PSAC314 and a language module in Bengali, Hindi, Nepali or Urdu in their first year, plus modules to the value of two full units (60 credits) from the list given below.  These modules should be chosen in close consultation with the programme convenor.

Students spend the first half of their second year studying at one of our partner institutions in South Asia (15PAIC002 - Period of Postgraduate Study in South Asia - worth 90 credits), before returning to work on their 20,000-word dissertation (15PAIC999 Extended dissertation in South Asian Studies - worth 90 credits).

All modules are subject to availability

Year 1

Taught Component

All students take the following module:

Module Code Credits Term
The Politics of Culture in Contemporary South Asia 15PSAC314 30 Credits
All students will take language modules in Hindi, Sanskrit or Urdu to the value of 30 credits from the list below

Options (subject to availability)

Anthropology (minor only)
Module Code Credits Term
Culture and Society of South Asia 15PANH064 15 Term 2
Art and Archaeology
Module Code Credits Term
The Indian Temple 15PARC034 30 Full Year
Module Code Credits Term
Indian Cinema: Its History and Social Context 15PSAH001 15 Term 1
Indian Cinema: Key Issues 15PSAH002 15 Term 2
Module Code Credits Term
The Politics of Culture in Contemporary South Asia 15PSAC314 30 Credits
Culture and Conflict in Nepal 15PSAH017 15 Term 1
Development Studies
Module Code Credits Term
Contemporary India: development challenges and perspectives 15PAIC003 15 Term 1
Module Code Credits Term
Political Economy of Development and Change in South Asia 15PECC026 15 Term 1
Topics in the Political Economy of Contemporary South Asia 15PECC027 15 Term 2
Language [up to 30 credits as a minor only; additional language may exceptionally be taken, but only one at beginner's level]
Module Code Credits Term
Bengali Language 2 (PG) 15PSAC304 30 Full Year
Hindi Language 1 A (PG) 15PSAH022 15 Term 1
Hindi Language 1 B (PG) 15PSAH023 15 Term 2
Hindi Language 2 (PG) 15PSAC296 30 Full Year
Hindi Language 3 (PG) 15PSAC297 30 Full Year
Hindi Language 4 (PG) 15PSAC308 30 Full Year
Readings in Contemporary Hindi (PG) 15PSAC305 30 Full Year
Nepali Language 2 (PG) 15PSAC299 30 Full Year
Urdu Language 2 (PG) 15PSAC301 30 Full Year
Module Code Credits Term
Law and Society in South Asia 15PLAC129 30 Full Year
Module Code Credits Term
Directed Readings in the Literature of a Modern South Asian Language 15PSAC016 30 Full Year
Literature & Colonialism in North India (Masters) 15PSAH005 15 Term 1
Literatures of South Asia 15PSAC284 30 Full Year
Narratives of Mobility in Contemporary Hindi Literature (Masters) 15PSAH006 15 Term 2
Postcolonial Theory and Practice 15PCSC003 30 Full Year
Sanskrit Literature 15PSAC003 30 Full Year
Sanskrit Texts from the Hindu Tradition 15PSAC014 30 Full Year
Module Code Credits Term
Sacred Sound in South Asia 15PMUH021 15 Term 2
Study of Religions & Philosophies
Module Code Credits Term
Buddhist Meditation in India and Tibet 15PSRC172 30 Full Year
Religions and Development 15PSRH049 15 Term 2
The Origins and Development of Yoga in Ancient India 15PSRC173 30 Full Year


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

Teaching & Learning

Lectures and Seminars

Most modules require students to attend two or three hours of classes each week. This time will be spent in lectures, seminars, tutorial discussions and student presentations: the exact mixture of activities varies somewhat from course to course. At Masters level there is a particular emphasis on students’ contributions and presentations, and students are also expected to read extensively and prepare for each class in advance.

Language modules typically involve more hours of contact time, especially at elementary level, and regular homework.

The assessment on most modules consists of two or three essay assignments and an unseen written examination, sat in April or May.  However, some modules are assessed purely on the basis of coursework, including essays and reaction papers.


A 20,000-word dissertation will be written by each student on this programme after his/her return from South Asia, for submission in September of the second year. The dissertation will be on an approved topic linked with one of the taught courses.

Learning Resources

SOAS Library is one of the world's most important academic libraries for the study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, attracting scholars from all over the world. The Library houses over 1.2 million volumes, together with significant archival holdings, special collections and a growing network of electronic resources.  The South Asia collection consists of approximately 88,000 volumes in English and other European languages and about 70,000 volumes in South Asian languages.

Find out more