This degree provides a coherent combination of courses in South Asian languages and their associated literatures and cultures; it leads to an advanced level of understanding of one aspect of South Asian civilization, together with a broader appreciation of the linguistic and literary culture of the subcontinent. The ‘Directed Readings’ courses, available in several modern languages, have a flexible curriculum which allows them to accommodate the interests of individual students or groups of students. The MA will provide, inter alia, an appropriate training for students wishing to proceed to postgraduate research in South Asian studies; its focus on South Asian language, culture and literature distinguishes it from the interdisciplinary perspective of the MA in South Asian Area Studies on the one hand and the MA in Comparative Literature on the other.
Students take three taught courses, one of which is considered a major, and complete a 10,000 word dissertation related to the major.
Candidates who wish to take a language at other than introductory level will be assessed at the start of the term to determine the most appropriate level of study.
Part-time students (two years) will take two courses in the first year (normally their Minors) and the Major and dissertation in the second year; part-time students (three years) take one course per year, and their dissertation in the third year.
- Choosing the Courses Applicants are asked to specify their preferred major subject and to give an alternative, as not all courses are available every year and practical considerations such as timetabling may limit choices.
Once enrolled, students have two weeks to finalise their choice of subjects, during which time they may sample different subjects through attending lectures etc.
Six of the academic departments are devoted to teaching and research in the languages, literatures and cultures of Africa, China and Inner Asia, Japan and Korea, the Near and Middle East, South Asia, and South East Asia, with the seventh teaching and conducting research in Linguistics. The Language Centre caters to the needs of non-degree students and governmental and non-governmental organisations. It maintains a huge portfolio of courses, including year-long diploma programmes, weekly evening classes in about 40 different African and Asian languages, and tailored intensive one-to-one courses. The Language Centre also offers courses in French, Portuguese and Spanish.
Their teaching is in three main areas: - language competence acquisition; - textual and cultural studies - both comparative and language-specific, and covering not only 'literature' in a strict sense but also visual media, performance, folklore, translation etc.; - language studies with linguistics at its core - including the prestigious Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project.
While SOAS as a whole represents the most substantial concentration in the Western world of expertise dedicated to African, Middle Eastern and Asian studies, the Faculty of Languages and Cultures is heavily committed to teaching and research grounded in a knowledge of the principal languages and cultures of two thirds of humankind.