Department of History & Department of Religions and Philosophies

BA History

Key information

Duration
3 years
Start of programme
September
Attendance mode
Full-time
Location
Russell Square, College Buildings
Fees

Home student fees: £9,250
Overseas student fees: £21,160

Please note that fees go up each year. 
See undergraduate fees for further details.

Course code
V100BA/H
Entry requirements

A Levels: ABB

Contextualised offer: BBB

 

Austria: Reifeprufungszeugnis / Maturazeugnis: four subjects at 1, 2, 2, 2 

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

 

Belgium: Diploma van Secundair Onderwijs: 75% (7.5/10, 15/20) overall

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from Belgium

 

Bulgaria: Diploma za Zavarsheno Sredno Obrazovanie: 5.3 and 5.0 in two State Maturity Exams

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from Bulgaria

Canada: High School Diploma: 80% with 5 acceptable Grade 12 subjects (most territories).
British Columbia: AABBB in Grade 12 courses.

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from Canada

 

China: Senior Secondary Graduation Certificate + Gaokao: 78% overall in Gaokao PLUS 85% overall in Senior Secondary School Graduation Certificate (year 11 and 12)

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from China

 

Croatia: Matura Certificate: 4.5 overall with 5 in 1 Higher level subject

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

 

Cyprus: Apolytirion with 2 A-Levels: Apolytirion 18/20 + A-level grades BB

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

 

Czech Republic: Matura Certificate: 1, 2, 2, 2

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

 

Denmark: Studentereksamen; Hojere Forberedelseseksamen; Hojere Handelseksamen; Hojere Teknisk Eksamen7 plus 10, 7, 7 in three Level A subjects

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from Denmark

 

Estonia: Gümnaasiumi lõputunnistus with the Riigieksamitunnistus4.0 with 85%, 80%, and 80% in 3 state exams

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

 

Finland: Ylioppilastukint / Studentexamen: four subjects at 6, 5, 5, 5

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

 

France: French Baccalaureat or Option Internationale du Baccalauréat (OIB): 13/20

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from France

 

Germany: Abitur: 1.8

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from Germany

 

Greece: Apolytirion of Geniko Lykeio with Pan Hellenic exams: 18/20

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from Greece

 

Hong Kong: Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education: 544 in two electives and one core (all other subjects grade 3)

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from Hong Kong

 

Hungary: Matura (Erettségi): 4.5 overall

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

 

Iceland: Stúdentspróf: 7.5

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

 

India: Standard XII: 75% (CBSE, CISCE, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra & West Bengal boards), 80% (all other state boards)

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from India

 

Ireland: Irish Leaving Certificate: H1, H2, H2, H3, H3

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

 

Israel: Bagrut: Overall grade of 7, 80% with 3 subjects at 5-unit level

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from Israel

 

Italy: Diploma Consequito con L’Esame di Stato: 80% overall

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from Italy

 

Latvia: Certificate of General Secondary Education: 88% in four State subject exams

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

 

Lithuania: Brandos Atestatas: 8.5/10 and 90%, 85%, 85% in three State Exam

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from Lithuania

 

Malta: Advanced Matriculation Certificate: AB (Advanced) + BBB (Intermediate)

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

 

Netherlands: Voorbereidend Wetenschappelijk Onderwijs: 7.5 overall with 8, 8, 7, 7 in four subjects

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

 

Norway: Vitnemål vidergaende opplaering: 4.3 overall

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from Norway

 

Poland: New Polish Matura: 75% in three Advanced Level subjects

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from Poland

 

Portugal: Diploma de Ensino Secundario: overall 17.5/20

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

 

Romania: Diploma de Bacalaureat: 8.5 overall

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from Romania

 

Singapore: Polytechnic Diploma (Nanyang, Ngee Ann, Singapore, Temasek and Republic Polytechnic): GPA 3.3

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from Singapore

 

Slovakia: Maturitná skúška / Maturita / Vysvedčenie o maturitnej skúške: four subjects at 1, 2, 2, 2

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

 

South Africa: National Senior Certificate: 77666

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from South Africa

 

Spain: Curso de Orientación Universitaria / Título de Bachillerato: 7.5

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from Spain

 

Sweden: Slutbetyg / Examensbevis från Gymnasieskolan: A in 1200 credits and no grades below D / 18 / mainly B overall (MVG/VG)

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from Sweden

Switzerland: Federal Maturity Certificate: 4.5

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from Switzerland

Tanzania: Advanced Certificate of Secondary Education: ACSE with BBB in 3 principle subjects

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from Tanzania

Trinidad and Tobago: CAPE: Six CAPE units with grade 2 (+two double-unit courses)

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Turkey: Lise Diplomasi: 78-83% (depending on high school)

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from Turkey

USA: High School Diploma plus ACT, SAT, or AP exams:

  • High School Diploma GPA 3.0 plus SAT 1280 or ACT 27 and 2 AP's at 4,4
    or

  • High School Diploma GPA of 3.2 plus 2 AP's at 4,4
    or

  • High School Diploma GPA 3.4 plus SAT 1300 or ACT 29
    or

  • 2-year Associate degree GPA 3.1

A Level equivalent: ABB 
Contextualised offer: BBB

Information for prospective students from the USA

See undergraduate entry requirements for international and alternative entry requirements.

Course overview

From the Crusades to the contemporary Middle East; the Mughal Empire to Gandhi; slavery to Muslim societies in West Africa, History at SOAS offers its students a unique window on the world in order to develop your understanding of the fascinating histories relating to Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

The programme provides sound foundations of history as a discipline by introducing central approaches and theories in historical analysis. This knowledge is embedded in a global perspective, rather than a Eurocentric one.

Particularly, the programme encourages students to develop their understanding of the regional histories of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East in their own terms, link them to the history of the world, and assess their significance in the world today from a decolonised approach.

The programme supports the development of key skills, including source analysis, collecting data, integrating varied sources and concepts, and the construction and presentation of an argument. All this helps the students cultivate a critical understanding of the diversity of cultures and societies in the world, the historical processes that have produced this diversity, and articulate their own position in it.

The programme will allow the students to develop their skills in gathering information, processing it within various theoretical and analytical framework, shaping their own arguments using this data, and communicating their stand in various platforms.

Why study BA History at SOAS?

  • we are ranked 12th in the UK (QS World University Rankings 2022)
  • our unrivalled focus on the study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East will help you cultivate a more critical understanding of the diversity of cultures and societies in the world today, the historical processes that have produced this diversity, and the importance of historical context in understanding past and present
  • our academic staff are specialists in the history of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East
  • the flexible structure of your programme allows you to use our open option modules to take advantage of the global expertise of one of our other departments, including the opportunity to learn a new language
  • we are specialists in the delivery of languages. Your command of a language from SOAS will set you apart from graduates of other universities

Structure

Students take 120 credits per year composed of Core, Compulsory and Optional modules.

  • Core modules: A core module is required for the degree programme, so must always be taken and passed before you move on to the next year of your programme.
  • Compulsory modules: A compulsory module is required for the degree programme, so must always be taken, and if necessary can be passed by re-taking it alongside the next year of your programme.
  • Optional modules: These are designed to help students design their own intellectual journey while maintaining a strong grasp of the fundamentals.

In the first year, students take introductory modules only, moving on to intermediate level modules in the second year, and then to advanced modules in their final year.

When selecting modules, some students choose to focus mainly on one region (Africa, Near and Middle East, South, Southeast or East Asia) or topic (e.g. Islam, violence and warfare, gender, modernity).

Others choose to range more broadly, exploring various topics and regions. There are advantages to both approaches, though ideally students will develop an in-depth knowledge of regional histories but also be able to place these histories in comparative context.

Important notice

The information on the website reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. The modules are indicative options of the content students can expect and are/have been previously taught as part of these programmes. However, this information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.

Year 1

Students will take the following three compulsory modules plus two modules from the regional introductions list of 30 credits or a language open option of 30 credits

Regional introductions

Year 2

Students will take the following two compulsory modules plus one thematic module of 30 credits plus two H2 Intermediate modules of 30 credits or an approved open option of 30 credits

Language open options, non-language open options

Year 3 - compulsory modules

Students will select one final-year special subject module of 30 credits plus one compulsory module of 30 credits plus one 200-level module X 2 of 30 credits plus one Thematic module of 30 credits or one 200-level module X 2 of 30 credits or an approved open option of 30 credits.

Students may choose Language open options, as well as non-language open options.

Compulsory module

Single-subject History students

Teaching and learning

Recommended pre-entry reading

  • JR McNeill and WH McNeill, The Human Web: A Bird’s Eye View of World History (2003)
  • John Darwin, After Tamerlane: The Rise and Fall of Global Empires (2007)
  • CA Bayly, The Birth of the Modern World, 1780-1914 (2004)
  • Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities (1991)
  • John Iliffe, Africans: The History of a Continent (2007)
  • Albert Hourani, A History of the Arab Peoples (1991)
  • Barbara D and Thomas R Metcalf, A Concise History of India (2002)
  • MC Ricklefs et al., A New History of Southeast Asia (2010)
  • Charles Holcombe, A History of East Asia (2017)
  • J Black and DM MacRaild, Studying History (2007)

Programme learning outcomes

Knowledge

  • Gain an outline knowledge of the history of the regions covered by SOAS, the global perspective, and the links between them.
  • Understand different historical approaches and theoretical frameworks developed around the study of history.

Intellectual (thinking) skills

  • Learn to assess data and evidence critically, from both historical sources and contemporary accounts, and to resolve problems of conflicting sources and interpretations. We combine this with equipping students with the skills to understand the complicated contexts within which historiography is produced and disseminated, and how this affects our understanding thereof.
  • Understand the applicability of theories and analytical frameworks in the study of history and the limitations thereof in capturing complex and multifocal human experiences.

Subject-based practical skills

  • Develop the ability to read and analyse a variety of texts and other sources, primary and secondary, learn how to cope with the fragmentary nature of the historical record which demand the use of a range of sources, and encourage reflexivity in their use.
  • Design and execute a substantial, multi-stage research project, including preliminary formulation, project proposal, execution, modification, and final presentation. The project relies on students learning to synthesize their findings in order to advance firmly substantiated arguments, which acknowledge both the limits of the evidence and the contingency of the conclusions.

Transferable skills

  • Access and evaluate data from a range of sources effectively and efficiently, practicing precision and caution in their use, and integrate data from multiple sources.
  • Solve complex problems of analysis and synthesis between disciplines, articulate their position, and communicate their position and finding in a coherent way

Contact hours

Tutorials are sessions in which students are expected to present reports and take a lead in discussions.

Modules are taught through a combination of lectures and tutorials, usually one hour a week of each. Sometimes, one follows the other in a two-hour bloc. In certain cases, tutorials are held at a different time or on a different day than the lecture

Depending on the size of the class, some intermediate and advanced level modules are less strictly divided between a formal lecture and a tutorial discussion, and instead, the topic is briefly introduced by the lecturer, followed by a seminar discussion. Advanced level modules, which are usually taught in one two-hour bloc, often take this format.

Introductory modules

These are assessed through a combination of coursework assignments and, in certain instances, oral presentations on selected readings or topics. Introductory modules are not open to second- and third-year History students.

Intermediate-level modules

These provide specialised study in particular themes and in the history of particular regions, building on the introductory courses. With the exception of the methodological core course (H201) that is entirely assessed through coursework, intermediate-level courses are assessed by a combination of coursework and exams, taken in Term 3. The weighting of assessment between essays and examination varies, with coursework essays counting for between 40 per cent and 60 per cent of the total mark. For the specifics of each module see the individual module unit listings.

Advanced-level modules

Advanced-level modules, so called ‘special subjects,’ focus on the reading and use of original historical documents, so-called ‘primary sources’. The 300-level modules are in-depth explorations of a specific topic, taught in seminar-style. They are assessed in the same way as intermediate-level modules, i.e., a varying combination of essays and a final examination.

The History dissertation

In their final year, all single-subject History students have to write a 10,000 word dissertation. This can either be:

  • a 400-level module, i.e. a dissertation linked to a 300-level ‘special subject’ module, or
  • a 500-level Independent Study Project (ISP), which provides an opportunity for students to conduct original historical research on their own initiative, to engage in in-depth analysis of a particular subject and to use a range of primary historical sources
  • entry to an ISP is subject to approval and students will have to satisfy the ISP convenor of their readiness to undertake independent study. Most often, this will require some work on the part of the students in the summer preceding registration. Students who do not satisfy the specified criteria will have to complete a dissertation linked to one of the 300-level special subjects.

SOAS Library

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.

Scholarships

Title Deadline date
Undergraduate Research Awards

Fees and funding

Fees for 2023/24 entrants per academic year

Programme Full-time
Home students Overseas students

BA, BSc, LLB

£9,250

£21,160
BA/BSc Language year abroad £1,385 £10,580

Please note that fees go up each year.

See undergraduate fees for further details.

Employment

With specialised historical knowledge, an understanding of cultural sensibilities and skills in research and analysis, graduates from the Department of History are well respected by employers across private and public sectors.

Recent graduates have been hired by:

  • Al Jazeera
  • Amnesty International
  • Bank of England
  • BBC
  • Blackstock PR
  • Bonhams
  • British Council
  • British Library
  • Dataminr
  • Ernst and Young
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Google
  • HSBC
  • International Committee of the Red Cross
  • KPMG
  • Middle East Consultancy Services
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Cyprus
  • Natural History Museum
  • Publicis Media
  • UNESCO
  • United Nations Development Programme

Find out about our Careers Service.