MA Religions of Asia and Africa and Intensive Language

General

Program Description

Mode of Attendance: Full-time or part-time


The MA Religions of Asia and Africa at SOAS is the premier postgraduate curriculum in the U.K. for the study of the religions of Asia and Africa. It covers a wider range of religious traditions than most comparable programmes, whether in the U.K. or abroad: Buddhism in nearly all its doctrinal and regional varieties, Asian and African Christianities, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Shinto, Taoism, Zoroastrianism as well as the local religious cultures of Asia and Africa. It is strongly interdisciplinary and methodologically diverse, offering advanced learning in the theory of religion as well as in historical, anthropological, philosophical, sociological and textual approaches to the study of particular religious traditions.

It provides a unique opportunity to tap cutting-edge academic expertise and library facilities on Asian and African religions as part of a spirited, cosmopolitan student community and within the intense religious and cultural scene of London.

It can also be taken with an intensive language pathway over two years, therefore making this programme unique in Europe.

Who is this programme for?

The MA Religions of Asia and Africa is in the first place a rewarding cultural and human experience. It is designed both as an end qualification in itself and as a platform preparing students for more advanced graduate work.

It typically suits students falling into one of the following three categories:

  • Students planning to pursue further research, which may involve at a subsequent stage the acquisition of a doctoral degree and a career in higher education;
  • Students willing to pursue a career or professional activity, for which advanced knowledge of the religions of Asia and Africa and of the theoretical and practical issues involved in their study is essential: arts, media, teaching, NGOs and charities, interfaith dialogue, consultancy for governmental agencies or the private sector, religious institutions, museums, and more.
  • Students who wish to pursue the academic study of religions as a complement to their personal experience and commitments: religious ministers and clerics from all confessions, believers, yoga and meditation practitioners; anyone interested in specific religious traditions or in religion as an essential dimension of life, and in the critical and experiential enhancement that their academic study may offer.

The two-year intensive language pathway is directed at students who want to engage with a country in a professional as well as academic way, as the intensive language course will enable them to reach a near proficient knowledge of the language.

May be combined with:

The following Intensive Language pathways are available with the MA Religions of Asia and Africa

  • Arabic
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Persian
  • South-East Asian Languages: Burmese, Indonesian, Thai, Vietnamese
  • Swahili
  • Turkish

Structure

Students must take 315 credits in total, comprised of 255 taught credits (45 of which are taught abroad as part of a Summer School) and a 60-credit dissertation as outlined below.

In their first year, students on the two-year Intensive Language programmes take 60 credits of intensive language instruction and 60 credits in the discipline. During the summer, they participate in a Summer School abroad. In the second year, they take another 30 language credits as well as 60 credits in the discipline; they also complete their dissertation in the discipline.

Year 1 (two years full time)

Discipline Component

Modules from the list below to the value of 60 credits.

Language Component

Students take 60 credits in the selected language.

Summer Abroad

Students participate in a Summer School abroad for the selected language.

Year 2 (two years full time)

Discipline Component

Module(s) from the list below to the value of 60 credits.

Or

A module(s) from the list below to the value of 30 credits.

Plus

A module(s) from Postgraduate Open Options to the value of 30 credits.

Language Component

Students take 30 credits in the selected language.

Dissertation

  • Dissertation in Gender Studies and Religion
  • Dissertation in Indian Religions
  • Dissertation in Japanese Religions
  • Dissertation in the Christianities of Asia and Africa
  • Dissertation in the Study of Islam
  • Dissertation in the Study of Religions

List of modules (subject to availability)

  • Buddhism
    • Buddhism in Tibet
    • Buddhist Meditation in India and Tibet
    • East Asian Buddhist Thought
    • Imag(in)ing Buddhahood in South Asia (1)
    • Imag(in)ing Buddhahood in South Asia (2)
    • Religious Practice in Japan: Texts, Rituals and Believers
  • Chinese Religions
    • Chinese Buddhism in Pre-Modern Period
    • Chinese Religious Texts: A Reading Seminar
    • East Asian Buddhist Thought
    • The Great Tradition of Taoism
  • Christianity
    • Eastern and Orthodox Christianity
    • Christians and Muslims in Syriac Texts
  • East Asian Religions
    • East Asian Buddhist Thought
    • Religious Practice in Japan: Texts, Rituals and Believers
  • Gender and Religions
    • Judaism and Gender
  • Indian Religions
    • Avestan I
    • The Origins and Development of Yoga in Ancient India
    • Zoroastrianism: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives
  • Islam
    • Modern Trends in Islam
    • Muslim Britain: Perspectives and Realities
    • Approaches in Islamic Intellectual History
  • Jainism
    • Jaina Philosophy in Comparative Perspective
    • Readings in Jaina History and Culture
    • Prakrit Language 1 (PG)
  • Japanese Religions
    • East Asian Buddhist Thought
    • Religious Practice in Japan: Texts, Rituals and Believers
  • Judaism
    • Family, Work and Leisure in Ancient Judaism
    • Jewishness on Screen
    • Religion, Nationhood and Ethnicity in Judaism
    • The Holocaust in Theology, Literature and Art
  • Multi-religious/comparative courses
    • Death and Religion
    • Religions and Development
  • Religion in Africa
    • Colonialism and Christian Missions in Africa: Readings from the Archives
  • Theoretical Approaches
  • Zoroastrianism
    • Avestan I
    • Pahlavi Language
    • Zoroastrianism: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives
  • Modules taught in other departments
    • Religions on the move: New Currents and Emerging Trends in Global Religion

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

Normally, minimum upper second class Honours degree from a UK university, or an overseas qualification or equivalent standard. Applicants with qualifications obtained at private or religious institutions should enquire about the School’s position on such qualifications.

English Language Entry Requirements

Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent).

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
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