Department of History of Art and Archaeology & School of Arts

Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art

Key information

Start of programme
October, January or April
Attendance mode
Russell Square, College Buildings

Course overview

The Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art at SOAS University of London offers a unique programme renowned for its excellence. We lead you on a journey of object-based study through lectures and contributions from a wide range of leading scholars, curators, and art market professionals.

We have a formal association with the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum, which allows us to offer exceptional access to the collections and curatorial expertise of both institutions.

The Postgraduate Diploma will appeal to all those with a serious interest in Asian art, regardless of your personal, professional or academic background. It is also a proven pathway to further postgraduate study in Asian art and careers in museums, the commercial art world and academia.

For more information, please download our prospectus or view an introductory video below:

An Introduction to the Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art at SOAS University of London:

Minimum entry requirements

Candidates are expected to hold a good undergraduate degree in any subject or equivalent experience. Prior knowledge of Asian art history or archaeology is not a requirement, though candidates are expected to have an interest in the area.

Language requirements

All international applicants where English is not their first language must be able to show that their English is of a high enough standard to successfully engage with and complete the course. The required standard for direct entry is IELTS Level 6.5 overall with at least 6.5 in all sub-scores.

Find out more about English language requirements including details regarding exemptions and alternative forms of evidence.

Application procedure

Please apply by downloading the application form (link below) and returning a completed copy to You must also submit:

  • Your undergraduate degree transcript or certificate
  • Evidence of proficiency in English language (where applicable)
  • Copy of the photo page of your passport

2022/23 Application Form (PDF)
2023/24 Application Form (PDF)

Contact us

Phone: +44 (0)20 7898 4445

Dr Malcolm McNeill, Programme Director: email
Mr Patrick Monger, Programme Manager: email


The Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art offers seven immersive modules, each eleven weeks in length. Students can take any number or combination of modules and you can begin the programme in October, January or April.

We also offer a fully online module, Asia’s Art Histories, which you can join from anywhere in the world.

We also offer two supporting courses, Analysing and Exploring the Arts and Independent Study Project in Asian Art History. These are available both in person and online.

Issues and themes dealt with in weekly lectures are developed further through tutorials, review sessions, seminars, discussion forums and visits to museums, galleries and other collections.

Upcoming modules in 2022/23

Upcoming modules in 2023/24

Supporting courses

Teaching and learning

Programme learning outcomes

  1. Acquire a contextualised understanding of diverse artistic traditions, and visual and material cultures from multiple regions across Asia
  2. Develop skills and confidence in object-led visual and material analysis
  3. Reflect critically on the contexts in which you encounter objects studied on this course
  4. Engage critically with current and past scholarship in relevant fields
  5. Develop rigorous academic skills for postgraduate study, research, writing and argumentation, moving toward autonomous, independent study
  6. Relate your newly developed skills and knowledge to global opportunities for vocational and voluntary contributions to the arts

Academic qualifications and credit points

The award of Postgraduate Diploma is made on the successful completion of three modules and two supporting courses. A student who completes a single module and both supporting courses can exit with a Postgraduate Certificate award at any point within their four year period.
Each of our twelve-week modules carries 30 credit points at FHEQ level 7. Each of our supporting courses carries 15 credit points. The Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art requires 120 credit points within four academic years. The Postgraduate Certificate in Asian Art requires 60 credit points.


Fees and funding


£5,350 per module (2022/23 academic year)
£5,550 per module (2023/24 academic year)

To secure their place on the course, candidates must pay a deposit of £500 when accepting their offer of a place on the programme. Deposits are non-refundable. The remaining fee balance is payable four weeks before the start of each module.

Alumni discount

A 20% reduction in tuition fees is available to all students who have an Undergraduate degree in any subject from SOAS, but no higher qualification. (Please note that you cannot receive the SOAS Alumni discount if you have already received another discount / scholarship from the University.)


We also offer spaces on the programme to those who are not seeking an academic qualification. Those who choose to audit the course enjoy full access as a SOAS student but are not required to complete the assessments. Auditors pay the full module fee.


We are currently offering the following scholarship opportunities:

  • Heather Elgood Scholarship - this scholarship covers full tuition fees for the Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art and an allowance to cover living costs during term time for the 2023/24 academic year.
  • Half-Fee Scholarship - this part-fee scholarship covers half the tuition fees for three modules (the full Postgraduate Diploma) to be taken consecutively in the 2023/24 academic year.
  • Online Postgraduate Certificate Scholarship - this scholarship covers full tuition fees for a Postgraduate Certificate in Asian Art via an online distance learning route.

These scholarships are competitive and awarded on a combination of academic merit and financial need. For more information regarding the eligibility criteria, application process and deadlines, please visit the pages at the above links.

Virtual Open Day

Join us for a virtual open day (via Zoom) to meet our Programme Director, Dr Malcolm McNeill, and hear more about our programme, our scholarships, and to ask any questions you may have directly.

We have virtual open days scheduled on Thursday 16th March at both 09.00 and 16.00 (UK time).

To register to join, please click here.