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History of Art and Archaeology of East Asia - MA


SOAS University of London School of Arts

Full time & Part time September MA 1 year full time, 2-3 years part time

About the course

This programme is an unrivalled opportunity to study the arts of China, Korea and Japan. Students consider a wide range of East Asian arts, from Chinese archaeology to Japanese prints, Korean installation works to Buddhist monuments, exploring their specificity and the links between them, in historical and contemporary periods. In many parts of East Asia archaeological evidence is key to understanding early societies. The programme therefore relates excavated materials to the history of art.

The Department of the History of Art and Archaeology contains some of the world’s leading experts in the art history and archaeology of East Asia, whose ground-breaking research informs and is informed by their teaching. Students benefit from the unparalleled knowledge and enthusiasm of staff. As

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Entry Requirements

The normal qualification for admission to the MA programme is an upper second class honours degree. Other qualifications, however, may be acceptable and the Department welcomes mature students. Students taking the MA degree may or may not have previous experience of our subjects. While knowledge of a relevant Asian or African language is not a requirement, for some modules it is an advantage for admission (see individual module descriptions for details).


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Student Profile(s)

Xavier Fournier

Following graduating in France and twelve years of international work within different fields from catering to defence and management I decided it was time to re-initialize and expand my knowledge. And of course, once again be in touch with student life!!!

As I had developed a strong interest in the history, archaeology and architecture of South East Asia and the Middle East during my various postings I applied for degrees at the SOAS Art and Archaeology department. It was probably one of my best moves ever as it enabled me to study both areas with eminent scholars I had only come across previously by reading their biographies in the back of their books. I was agreeably surprised to see them very eager to meet and join us, either individually or in groups, to engage with the many topics and materials encountered during our time at SOAS.

As for the languages, there is no other place to go to should you be interested in, for example, either Khmer, Georgian, Thai or Akkadian. Not only will you be taught about the language itself but you will be exposed to its riches via a wealth of mediums, films, books, newspapers and even archaeological finds (tablets, inscriptions, ancient manuscripts...). The insight provided, knowledge delivered and understanding transmitted during lectures, seminars and conferences at SOAS is impressive and requires real personal involvement in the topics.

Moreover, the department of Art and Archaeology lectures format is extremely flexible which allows for museum and gallery visits, direct interaction with material and leaves ample room for personal study via essays, reviews, presentations and personal initiative. This led me to enrol for the MA History of Art and Archaeology after my BA in Thai and History. I am now even considering either a PhD or an MPhil. Where ? Well... at SOAS most probably!



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