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Course content

The programme is designed for students with a keen interest in studying the remote as well as the more recent past of the countries, peoples, and cultures of Africa, Asia and the Middle East. It is also ideal for students who seek to understand the historical conditions of the contemporary world from a global perspective.

In addition to their studies on the MA programme, students at SOAS have the opportunity to participate in the Regional History Seminars, as well as in a wide range of research seminars, lectures and conferences, which regularly take place in different departments and centres across the School and at other colleges of the University of London.

Key benefits

• You will have access to a wealth of study resources including the SOAS Library, one of the world's most important academic libraries, attracting scholars from across the globe. The Library houses over 1.2 million volumes, together with significant archival holdings, special collections and a growing network of electronic resources.

• The proximity to the School of many archive depositories and records offices, including its own archival collection as well as the British Library, greatly enhances the potential for dissertation work.

Course detail

While the course is open to students with backgrounds in a diverse range of disciplines in the Humanities and Social Sciences, the ideal applicant would have an UG degree in History or a relevant area studies programme, some knowledge of foreign, in particular Asian or African languages, and preferably relevant background in the region of specialism.

You will develop a sound training in the historical sciences, gain specialised historical knowledge and regional expertise, and will acquire valuable critical thinking, research, and writing skills that will enable you to make a difference in your choice of career.

Those who wish to further develop their linguistic skills may choose from a range of African and Asian language courses.

Experts at where the world is changing

Studying history at SOAS University of London enhances your learning experience by giving you a global perspective of the historical conditions of the contemporary world. You will benefit from working closely with world-renowned historians whose research is building a new way of looking at the world as a whole.

The broader MA History is ideal if you want to study a variety of regions. Alternatively, there is an opportunity to specialise in a single region by selecting one of these pathways:

• MA History: Africa
• MA History: Near and Middle East
• MA History: South Asia
• MA History: South East Asia
• MA History: East Asia

Expert at where the world is changing

Our historians are world-leading specialists with unparalleled expertise on the dynamic histories of Africa, Asia and the Middle East – from the era of the Crusades to the more recent past, nineteenth- and twentieth-century China and Japan, the formation of state and society in Africa, to Islam from West Africa to Southeast Asia.

History at SOAS

We lead the world in research and teaching about the histories of Asia and Africa, being the only history department that examines history from the perspective of these continents, rather than through a western-centric framework.

Format and assessment

The programme consists of four units in total: three units of taught courses and a 10,000 word dissertation worth one unit.

One of the taught courses will be recognised as the student’s Major course and normally the dissertation will be on a topic linked to that course.

Apart from the History courses, approved courses from other departments, language courses, and in some cases intercollegiate courses are available as additional options

Teaching is generally by informal lectures and seminar discussions. At Masters level there is particular emphasis on seminar work where students may be expected to make full-scale presentations for units they take.


A postgraduate degree from the History department at SOAS provides its students with an understanding of the world, giving them specialised historical knowledge and understanding of cultural sensibilities of a region. Postgraduate students are equipped with the expertise to continue in research as well as the skills needed to enable them to find professional careers in the private and public sectors.

Postgraduate students leave SOAS with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek, including familiarity with methods of research; the competence to manage large quantities of information; the ability to select and organise information and analytical skills. A postgraduate degree is a valuable experience that provides students with a body of work and a diverse range of skills that they can use to market themselves with when they graduate.

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

Postgraduate Open Evenings

You’ll be able to have one-to-one discussions with academics and current students. You can also attend specialist subject talks and take a tour of our campus.

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Our webinars give you an opportunity to hear and ask questions about the subject you’re interested in studying. We also cover topics such as making an application, Tier 4 Visa entry, fees and funding, scholarships, accommodation options as well as career related information.

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How to apply

Find out how to apply here:

Visit the MA History page on the SOAS University of London website for more details!






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