MA History of Art and Archaeology of East Asia

General

Program Description

Mode of Attendance: Full-time or part-time


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 the staff. As members of the School of Arts, they profit from the insights of scholars and students working in other related fields, such as East Asian Music, Film and Media. They can also select from modules in other departments, taking advantage of SOAS’s unrivalled expertise in the languages, history, religions and cultures of East Asia.

A Masters from the Department of the History of Art and Archaeology provides students with expertise in the History of Art and/or Archaeology of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Our postgraduates progress to work in arts, culture and heritage roles, including in galleries, museums, archives, conservation, publishing and arts administration. The large portfolio of transferable skills they acquire enables them to forge careers in a range of other fields across the world. Our Master's programmes are also an excellent foundation for MPhil/PhD research.

This MA can also be pursued over a two-year period combined with intensive language study in Japanese or Korean.

Employment

A Masters from the Department of the History of Art and Archaeology provides students with expertise in the History of Art and/or Archaeology of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Our postgraduates progress to work in arts, culture and heritage roles, including in galleries, museums, archives, conservation, publishing and arts administration. The large portfolio of transferable skills they acquire enables them to forge careers in a range of other fields across the world. Our Master's programmes are also an excellent foundation for MPhil/PhD research.

Graduates have gone on to work for a range of organisations including:

  • Asia House
  • Bonhams
  • British Museum
  • Christie's Hong Kong
  • Design Museum
  • Dr Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum
  • Hong Kong Museum Of Art
  • India Foundation For The Arts
  • Museum of East Asian Art
  • National Gallery National Museum of Singapore
  • People Projects Culture & Change
  • Schoeni Art Gallery
  • Sotheby's
  • Taiwan Embassy
  • The Alliance for Global Education
  • The British Embassy
  • The Chester Beatty Library
  • The National Museum Of Korea
  • The Royal Collection

Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:

  • Manager of Communications
  • Culture Programme Coordinator
  • Research Assistant
  • Social Anthropology Lecturer
  • Specialist - Indian Art
  • Architect
  • Art Historian
  • Development Specialist
  • Archivist
  • Gallery Director Innovation Programmes Learning Manager
  • Creative Director
  • Organisational Consultant
  • Travel writer
  • Art Collector
  • Chinese Painting Specialist
  • Professor of Silk Road History
  • Rights and Reproductions Officer
  • Public Education Coordinator
  • Senior Curator of Photographs

Structure

Occasionally the availability of optional modules changes as a result of staffing and other circumstances. Students who had signed up for such modules will be notified as soon as possible and given the opportunity to choose from available alternatives.

Students must complete 180 credits in total. 120 credits must be from MA taught modules and 60 credits are from the compulsory Dissertation.

Dissertation

  • Dissertation in History of Art and Archaeology: History of Art and Archaeology of East Asia

Taught Component

Guided Options

Students choose:

  • a module from List A: China below to the value of 15 credits.
  • a module from List B: Japan and Korea below to the value of 15 credits.
  • a module from List C: Trans-regional below to the value of 15 credits.
  • a module from List A or List B or List C below to the value of 15 credits.
  • a module from List D: Other Options in History of Art & Archaeology below to the value of 15 credits.

and

modules from List D below to the value of 45 credits.

or

modules to the value of 45 credits from the List of Options from other Departments listed below to the value of 45 credits.

List of modules (subject to availability)

  • List A: China
    • Ancient Chinese Civilisation
    • Visual Arts of Dynastic China (to 1800) (Cohort A)
    • Arts of Modern and Contemporary China (since 1800)
    • Ceramics in Chinese Culture: 10th - 18th Centuries
    • China and the Silk Road: Art and Archaeology
    • The Silk Road and its Origins: Art and Archaeology
    • Chinese Porcelain: Trade, Transfer and Reception
  • List B: Japan and Korea
    • Popular Practice in the Edo Period Arts
    • Arts of Koryo and Chosen Korea
    • Shogunal Iconography in the Edo Period
    • Modern and Contemporary Korean Art 15PARH060
  • List C: Transregional
    • Asia and Africa On Display: Objects, Exhibitions and Transculturism
    • Critical Themes in Tibetan Art
    • Interpreting Visual Expressions of the Mandala
    • Tibetan Buddhist Monuments in Context
    • Issues in Contemporary Southeast Asian Art
    • Collecting and Curating Buddhist Art in the Museum
    • Buddhist and Hindu Art of the Maritime Silk Route
    • Buddhist Art in a Cosmopolitan Environment: Gandharan Art and its Heritage
  • List D: Other Options in History of Art & Archaeology
    • Arab Painting
    • Architectural Boundaries and the Body
    • Art and Architecture of the Fatimids
    • Discourses on Modern and Contemporary Art of the Middle East
    • Illustrated Manuscript Cultures of Southeast Asia
    • Imag(in)ing Buddhahood in South Asia (1)
    • Islam and the West: Artistic and Cultural Contacts
    • Islamic Art and Architecture of Eastern Mediterranean of the Period of the Crusades (11th-14th centuries)
    • Art and Architecture of the Seljuks and Ottomans (12th -15th centuries)
    • Modern and Contemporary Arts in Africa
    • Monuments and sculpture of Angkor
    • Visuality and Islamic Art
    • Persian Painting
    • Photography and the Image in Africa
    • Representing Conflict: A Cross-Cultural and Inter-Disciplinary Approach
    • The Figure of the Buddha: Theory, Practice and the Making of Buddhist Art History
    • The Indian Temple
    • Theory and Method in Art History
    • Tibetan Buddhist Monuments in Context

Options in Other Departments

  • Anthropology
    • Culture and Society of China
    • Culture and Society of Japan
  • History
    • Japanese Modernity from Edo to Meiji
    • Japanese Modernity from Meiji to Heisei
    • Knowledge and Power in Early Modern China
    • Nationhood and Competing Identities in Modern China
  • Media Studies
    • Media Spectacle and Urban Space in East Asia
  • Music
    • Musical Traditions of East Asia (Masters)
  • Study of Religions
    • Buddhism in Tibet
    • Buddhist Meditation in India and Tibet
    • Chinese Religious Texts: A Reading Seminar
    • East Asian Buddhist Thought
    • Imag(in)ing Buddhahood in South Asia (2)
    • Religious Practice in Japan: Texts, Rituals and Believers
  • China and Asia
    • Modern Chinese Film and Theatre (PG)
    • Modern Film from Taiwan and the Chinese Diaspora (PG)
    • Traditional Chinese Language and Literature
    • Chinese 1 A (PG)
    • Chinese 1 B (PG)
    • Chinese 2 (PG)
    • Chinese 3 (PG)
    • Chinese 4 (PG)
    • Reading Classical and Literary Chinese (PG)
  • Japan and Korea
    • Japanese 1 A (PG)
    • Japanese 1 B (PG)
    • Korean 1 A (PG)
    • Korean 1 B (PG)
    • Japanese Post-War Film Genres and the Avant-Garde
    • Japanese Transnational Cinema: From Kurosawa to Asia Extreme and Studio Ghibli
    • Trajectories of Modernity in Korean Literature (PG)
    • Reading Pre-modern Japanese Texts 1 (PG)
    • Reading Pre-modern Japanese Texts 2 (PG)

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session.

Admissions and Applications

You can apply for this course via the online application form.

We aim to assess a complete application and provide a decision within a 5-week time frame. Overseas students who require a Tier 4 visa and wish to join SOAS should bear in mind visa applications can take several weeks, so you should apply as soon as possible.

Consideration of Application

The whole application, including transcript and references, is considered before a decision is reached. You are therefore advised to submit a complete application including references and transcript (where required). An incomplete application will add considerable delays to the decision-making process.

Students will receive an acknowledgement of their application. Each application is carefully considered and although we try and respond as quickly as possible, we do ask that students should expect to receive a response within five weeks of receipt.

Candidates who are available in the United Kingdom may be called for an interview. The absence of academic members of staff (or instance on study leave) may affect the timing of decisions.

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. It is possible to include an element of language training within the MA programme by taking an Asian or African language as one of the two ‘minor’ modules. This option may be particularly desirable for those intending to progress to the PhD, who do not already have the necessary language skills.

English Language Entry Requirements

You must be able to show that your English is of a high enough standard to successfully engage with and complete your course at SOAS. Please note that we take our English language requirements seriously and failure to meet them exactly may well result in your application to SOAS being rejected. It is not possible to negotiate if your scores are below our required levels, with the expectation that because they are 'close enough' they will be accepted. It is important that you plan appropriately, well in advance, so that your English language test comes in good time and so that you have time to retake the test if necessary. We do not accept reasons of inconvenience or financial hardship for not submitting or retaking an English test.

International students

For EU and International students who need a visa, if unconditional entry scores are achieved we accept qualifications from several countries, as well as a range of international qualifications and tests.

If a Tier 4 entry visa is required then a SELT, such as UKVI IELTS may be needed. For this reason, we recommend all Tier 4 visa students to choose the UKVI IELTS Academic test as the test of first resort.

Last updated October 2019

About the School

SOAS University of London welcomes the brightest minds to study on its central London campus with like-minded individuals who feel passionately about contemporary world issues.

SOAS University of London welcomes the brightest minds to study on its central London campus with like-minded individuals who feel passionately about contemporary world issues. Read less
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