MA History of Art and/or Archaeology

General

Program Description

Mode of Attendance: Full-time or part-time


This programme is a unique opportunity to study the History of Art and/or Archaeology of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Students concentrate on architecture, sculpture, painting and the decorative arts and have the option of pursuing topics and approaches more archaeological in focus. They consider theoretical and methodological questions and are invited to question the relevance of the disciplinary distinction between History of Art and Archaeology to the study of the non-Western world. Courses cover a time period spanning from antiquity to present-day, contemporary art.

The Department of the History of Art and Archaeology contains some of the world’s leading experts in Asian and African art history and archaeology, 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 studying the Music, Film and Media of Asia, Africa and the Middle East in historical and contemporary contexts. They can also select from modules in other departments, taking advantage of SOAS’s unrivalled expertise in the languages, history, religions and cultures of Asia and Africa.

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.

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 120 credits of MA taught modules in addition to the compulsory dissertation (60 credits).

Students may be allowed to study for the MA on a part-time basis.

  • The part-time MA may be taken over two years, in which case the student takes two 30 credits modules (or equivalent 15 credits modules) in the first year, and two 30 credits modules (or equivalent 15 credits modules) and the dissertation in the second year.
  • Alternatively, it can be taken over three years, in which case the student can distribute the 120 credits modules evenly in each of the three years. The dissertation can be written in year two or three, but it is strongly recommended that this be undertaken in the final year of the programme. It must be submitted in September of the year in which the student registers for it.

Dissertation

  • Dissertation in History of Art and Archaeology

Taught Component

Guided Option

  • Choose modules to the value of 75 credits from list of Art & Archaeology options.

and

Open Option

Choose modules to the value of 45 credits from options in other departments.

List of Art & Archaeology modules

  • Ancient Chinese Civilisation
  • Arab Painting
  • Architectural Boundaries and the Body
  • Art and Architecture of the Fatimids
  • Arts of Koryo and Chosen Korea
  • Arts of Modern and Contemporary China (since 1800)
  • Arts of the Tamil Temple
  • Asia and Africa On Display: Objects, Exhibitions and Transculturism
  • Buddhist and Hindu Art of the Maritime Silk Route
  • Buddhist Art in a Cosmopolitan Environment: Gandharan Art and its Heritage
  • Ceramics in Chinese Culture: 10th - 18th Centuries
  • China and the Silk Road: Art and Archaeology
  • Chinese Porcelain: Trade, Transfer and Reception
  • Collecting and Curating Buddhist Art in the Museum
  • Contemporary Art and the Global
  • Critical Themes in Tibetan Art
  • Curating Cultures Cohort A
  • Curating Cultures Cohort C
  • Discourses on Modern and Contemporary Art of the Middle East
  • (En)gendering Southeast Asia: Aesthetics and Politics of Sexual Difference
  • Illustrated Manuscript Cultures of Southeast Asia
  • Imag(in)ing Buddhahood in South Asia (1)
  • Interpreting Visual Expressions of the Mandala
  • 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)
  • Issues in Contemporary Southeast Asian Art
  • Modern and Contemporary Arts in Africa
  • Modern and Contemporary Korean Art
  • Monuments and sculpture of Angkor
  • Visuality and Islamic Art
  • Photography and the Image in Africa
  • Persian Painting
  • Popular Practice in the Edo Period Arts
  • Representing Conflict: A Cross-Cultural and Inter-Disciplinary Approach
  • Shogunal Iconography in the Edo Period
  • Southeast Asia's Art Histories
  • The Figure of the Buddha: Theory, Practice and the Making of Buddhist Art History
  • The Indian Temple
  • The Silk Road and its Origins: Art and Archaeology
  • Tibetan Buddhist Monuments in Context
  • Theory and Method in Art History
  • Visual Arts of Dynastic China (to 1800) (Cohort A)

Options in Other Departments

  • Anthropology
    • Culture and Society of China
    • Culture and Society of East Africa
    • Culture and Society of Japan
    • Culture and Society of South Asia
    • Culture and Society of South East Asia
    • Culture and Society of West Africa
    • Culture and Society of Near and Middle East
  • History
    • Encountering the Other: the Middle East during the Crusading Period
    • Histories of Ethnicity and Conflict in South East Asia 1 - Making States and Building Nations
    • Histories of Ethnicity and Conflict in South East Asia 2 - Non-National Perspectives
    • Knowledge and Power in Early Modern China
    • Nationhood and Competing Identities in Modern China
    • Outsiders in Medieval Middle Eastern Societies: Minorities, Social Outcasts and Foreigners
  • Study of Religions
    • Avestan I
    • Buddhism in Tibet
    • Buddhist Meditation in India and Tibet
    • Chinese Religious Texts: A Reading Seminar
    • Eastern and Orthodox Christianity
    • Imag(in)ing Buddhahood in South Asia (2)
    • Pahlavi Language
    • Religious Practice in Japan: Texts, Rituals and Believers
    • The Origins and Development of Yoga in Ancient India
    • Zoroastrianism: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives
  • Media Studies
    • Communication, Culture and Politics in the Middle East: Theoretical and Analytical Approaches
    • Media Spectacle and Urban Space in East Asia
    • Mediated Culture in the Middle East: Politics and Communications
  • Music
    • Aspects of Music and Religion in South East Asia
    • Music, Urbanism and Conflict in Jaffa
    • Music, Place and Politics in Cuba
    • Musical Traditions of East Asia (Masters)
  • Africa
    • African Philosophy (PG)
    • Philosophy and Decolonisation (PG)
    • Curating Africa: African Film and Video in the Age of Festivals
    • Literature in African languages
    • The Story of African Film: Narrative Screen Media in Africa
    • Travelling Africa: Writing the Cape to Cairo
  • China and Asia
    • Tibetan (Classical) 1 A
    • Tibetan (Classical) 1 B
    • Modern Chinese Film and Theatre (PG)
    • Chinese 1 A (PG)
    • Chinese 1 B (PG)
    • Chinese 2 (PG)
    • Chinese 3 (PG)
    • Chinese 4 (PG)
    • Reading Classical and Literary Chinese (PG)
    • Traditional Chinese Language and Literature
  • 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 Traditional Drama (PG)
    • Literary Traditions and Culture of Korea (PG)
    • Trajectories of Modernity in Korean Literature (PG)
  • Near & Middle East
    • Arabic 400 (PG)
    • Arabic 600 (PG)
    • Arabic Poetry and Criticism
    • Classical Ottoman Texts (PG)
    • Classical Persian Poetry: Texts and Traditions (PG)
    • Critical Perspectives on Palestine Studies I: History and Politics
    • Critical Perspectives on Palestine Studies II: Culture and Society
    • Elementary Persian Texts (PG)
    • Film and Society in the Middle East
    • Intensive Turkish Language (PG)
    • Arabic 200 (PG)
    • Iran: History, Culture, Politics
    • Israel and the Palestinians
    • Medieval Arabic Thought
    • Ottoman Turkish Language (PG)
    • Intermediate Persian Language (PG)
    • Reading Classical Arabic Historians: Themes and Trends in Islamic Historiography
  • South Asia
    • Bengali Language 2 (PG)
    • Culture and Conflict in Nepal
    • Hindi Language 1 A (PG)
    • Hindi Language 1 B (PG)
    • Hindi Language 2 (PG)
    • Hindi Language 3 (PG)
    • Indian Cinema: Its History and Social Context
    • Indian Cinema: Key Issues
    • Literature & Colonialism in North India (Masters)
    • Nepali Language 2 (PG)
    • Sanskrit Language 2 (PG)
    • The Politics of Culture in Contemporary South Asia
    • Urdu Language 2 (PG)
  • South and South East Asia
    • Burmese Language 2 (PG)
    • Genders and Sexualities in South East Asian Film
    • Indonesian Language 2 (PG)
    • Jawi and the Malay Manuscript Tradition (Masters)
    • Thai Language 2 (PG)
    • Vietnamese Language 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 Oct 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
London , Singapore + 1 More Less