SOAS University of London

South Asia Department

MA South Asian Area Studies

One calendar year (full-time); Two or three years (part-time, daytime only)

Fees 2017/18

UK/EU fees:
Overseas fees:

Fees for 2017/18 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

2017 Entry requirements

  • Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent)

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  • Overview
  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Fees and funding
  • Employment
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Start of programme: September intake only

Mode of Attendance: Full Time or Part Time

The MA in South Asian Studies provides exceptional opportunities for advanced study of one of the world’s most diverse and important regions.

Students can choose to concentrate on pre-modern or modern South Asia and can acquire a basic knowledge of one of the area’s languages.

The degree provides a wide-ranging interdisciplinary analysis of the South Asian countries – India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka. Disciplines available include Politics, Economics,Anthropology, Law and History.

The programme attracts students from a variety of backgrounds. While some wish to broaden their previous studies or experience of South Asia, others approach the course without having a South Asian element to their first degree, but with a desire to focus their previous training on the region.



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 three taught courses, one of which is considered a major, and complete a 10,000-word dissertation related to the major.

Some disciplines, such as Politics, Economics or Social Anthropology, require an appropriate qualification (such as part of a first degree) if any of their courses are to be taken as the major subject.

All courses are subject to availability

Anthropology (minor only)
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Culture and Society of South Asia 15PANH064 0.5 Unit Term 1
African and Asian Diasporas in the Modern World 15PANH010 0.5 Unit Term 1
Art and Archaeology
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
The Indian Temple 15PARC034 1 Unit Full Year
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Indian Cinema: Its History and Social Context 15PSAH001 0.5 Unit Term 1
Indian Cinema: Key Issues 15PSAH002 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Contemporary Punjab: Society and Culture across Borders 15PAIC001 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Modern Bengal: the Evolution of Bengali Culture and Society from 1690 to the Present Day (MA) 15PSAC289 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Culture and Conflict in the Himalaya 15PSAC291 1 Unit Full Year
The Politics of Culture in Contemporary South Asia 15PSAC314 1 Unit Full Year
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Islam in South Asia 15PHIH044 0.5 Unit Term 1
Environmental History of Asia 15PHIH023 0.5 Unit Term 2
Colonialism and Nationalism in South Asia 15PHIH041 0.5 Unit Term 1
Gender, law and the family in the history of modern South Asia 15PHIH030 0.5 Unit Term 2
Language [one language option as minor only]
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Bengali Language 1 (PG) 15PSAC303 1 Unit Full Year
Bengali Language 2 (PG) 15PSAC304 1 Unit Full Year
Hindi Language 1 (PG) 15PSAC295 1 Unit Full Year
Hindi Language 2 (PG) 15PSAC296 1 Unit Full Year
Hindi Language 3 (PG) 15PSAC297 1 Unit Full Year
Hindi Language 4 (PG) 15PSAC308 1 Unit Full Year
Readings in Contemporary Hindi (PG) 15PSAC305 1 Unit Full Year
Nepali Language 1 (PG) 15PSAC298 1 Unit Full Year
Nepali Language 2 (PG) 15PSAC299 1 Unit Full Year
Basic Pali (PG) 15PSRC176 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Pali: Intermediate Level 15PSRC053 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Prakrit Language 1 (PG) 15PSAC309 1 Unit Full Year
Sanskrit Language 1 (PG) 15PSAC294 1 Unit Full Year
Sanskrit Language 2 (PG) 15PSAC306 1 Unit Full Year
Punjabi Language 1 15PSAC320 1 Unit Full Year
Urdu Language 1 (PG) 15PSAC300 1 Unit Full Year
Urdu Language 2 (PG) 15PSAC301 1 Unit Full Year
Urdu Literacy (PG) 15PSAC302 1 Unit Full Year
Elementary Written Persian 15PNMC387 1 Unit Full Year
Intensive Persian Language 155901242 2 Unit Full Year
Intermediate Persian Language 155900801 1 Unit Full Year
Advanced Persian Language 155900802 1 Unit Full Year
Persian Language 2 (PG) 15PNMC033 1 Unit Full Year
Introduction to Classical Literary Tibetan (Masters) 15PEAC020 1 Unit Full Year
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Law and Society in South Asia 15PLAC129 1 Unit Full Year
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Literatures of South Asia 15PSAC284 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Postcolonial Theory and Practice 15PCSC003 1 Unit Full Year
Theory and techniques of Comparative Literature 15PCSC002 1 Unit Full Year
Sanskrit Literature 15PSAC003 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Directed Readings in the Literature of a Modern South Asian Language 15PSAC016 1 Unit Full Year
Sanskrit Texts from the Hindu Tradition 15PSAC014 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Literature & Colonialism in North India (Masters) 15PSAH005 0.5 Unit Term 1
Narratives of Mobility in Contemporary Hindi Literature (Masters) 15PSAH006 0.5 Unit Term 2
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Raga: concept and practice (PG) 15PMUH020 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
Indian vocal music: Styles and histories 15PMUH025 0.5 Unit Term 2
Sacred Sound in South Asia 15PMUH021 0.5 Unit Term 1
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Government and politics of modern South Asia 15PPOC003 1 Unit Full Year
Study of Religions
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Imag(in)ing Buddhahood in South Asia (1) 15PARH078 0.5 Unit Term 1 Not Running 2016/2017
Imag(in)ing Buddhahood in South Asia (2) 15PSRH051 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
Religions and Development 15PSRH049 0.5 Unit Term 1
Modern Muslim Thinkers of South Asia 15PSRC169 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
History and Doctrines of Indian Buddhism 15PSRC059 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Religious and Philosophical Ideas of Ancient and Medieval India 15PSRC049 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Classical Hindu Texts in Translation: Epics and Puranas 15PSRC167 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Buddhism in Tibet 15PSRH008 0.5 Unit Term 1 Not Running 2016/2017
The Buddhist Conquest of Central Asia 15PSRH009 0.5 Unit Term 1 Not Running 2016/2017
Jainism: History, Doctrine and the Contemporary World 15PSRC024 1 Unit Full Year
Oriental religions in European academia and imagination, 1815-1945 15PSRC168 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Features of Buddhist Monasticism 15PSRH014 0.5 Unit Term 1 Not Running 2016/2017
Contemporary Islamism in South Asia: Readings in Sayyid Abu al-A'la Mawdudi 15PSRC170 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Buddhist Meditation in India and Tibet 15PSRC172 1 Unit Full Year
The Origins and Development of Yoga in Ancient India 15PSRC173 1 Unit Full Year


Important information for 2017/18 applicants

For the 2017 academic year, SOAS has introduced a new academic framework for all of our postgraduate taught courses. The new model will mean that taught programmes are now made up of four units each worth 30 credits – our current structure is based on three units – plus dissertation. This approach is in line with PG programmes in most other universities.

In practice this means that there will be additional choice of modules for students taking PG taught programmes in 2017. The modules set out here represent the options available in the programme in 2016. In most cases, our 2017 programmes will contain these options plus additional modules – broadening the range of what is available on your programme.

Programme Specification


Teaching and Learning

Teaching & Learning

Lectures and Seminars

For most courses there is one 2-hour class each week. This may be an informal lecture followed by a discussion or student presentation. At Masters level there is particular emphasis on seminar work where students may be expected to make full-scale presentations for units they take.


The 10,000-word dissertation 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.

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 2017/18 entrants. The fees below are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. 

Full-timePart-time 2 YearsPart-time 3 Years
£8,785 £18,075 £4,393 £9,038 £2,928 £6,025
Bishwa Bangla Scholarships at SOAS

Application Deadline: 2017-02-22 17:00

Felix Non- Indian Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2017-01-31 17:00

Felix Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2017-01-31 17:00

John Loiello AFSOAS FISH Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2017-02-22 17:00

The Prospect Burma Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2017-02-22 17:00

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


A postgraduate degree in South Asian studies from SOAS provides its students with 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, history, cinema, politics, economics or law.

Postgraduate students are equipped with linguistic and cultural expertise enabling them to continue in the field of research, along with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek in many professional and management careers in business, public or charity sectors. 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. 

An MA in South Asian Area Studies can open many doors. Those remaining in London will be able to take advantage of the numerous international bodies here, and those with specialist areas of knowledge (finance, law, art) will find relevant opportunities. Many students may choose to pursue a career in South Asia to put their skills into practice. Research degrees are also possibilities for graduates with high grades.

Among a variety of professions, career paths may include: Academia; Commerce; Community; Finance; Government; NGOs; Media; Politics; and UN Agencies.

Graduates have gone on to work for a range of organisations including:

Access to Justice Asia
BBC World Service
Cambridge Archaeological Unit
EMMA Media
Environmental Defense Fund
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
Foremarke Exhibitions Ltd
Harvard University
Meyado Private Wealth Management
Mohurgong & Gulma Tea Estates
Momoyama Gakuin University
Neon Tree Media
SOAS, University of London
University of Edinburgh

Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:

Interpreter and Translator
Consulting Associate
Senior Major Gifts Officer
Trade Commissioner
Digital designer
Human Resources Director
Professor of Comparative Religion & Indian Studies
Senior Investment Advisor
Script Writer and Coordinator
Humanitarian and CSR photographer
Professor of Musicology
Head of Humanities
Research Fellow
Lecturer in South Asian History

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

A Student's Perspective

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.

Jen Guha (USA)


Find out more

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