Mode of Attendance: Full-time

The two-year programme is directed at students with a professional and academic interest in South Asia. It provides students with exceptional opportunities for advanced study of one of the world’s most diverse and important regions, with an opportunity for intensive training in a South Asian language (Hindi, Urdu and Sanskrit) as well as studying a range of modules across the disciplines.

Knowledge of a South Asian language is not a pre-requisite for admission to this programme which is designed primarily for ab initio language study. Students with intermediate or advanced language levels are advised to contact the programme convenor before applying. If necessary, proficiency levels will be assessed.

The programme includes a summer of intensive language which is currently only offered in India (students must note that SOAS cannot take responsibility for obtaining visas for travel to India). Students bear the costs of travel to and from India, as well as all living expenses (including accommodation) during the period of their stay.

Students in this new programme will come from a wide range of backgrounds. Some will come into the programme having acquired an interest in South Asia during their undergraduate career or as a result of travelling in the region while others will be keen to explore personal connections. The programme will also attract mature students: some may take the MA as partial preparation for employment in the region; others, having lived in South Asia for a number of years, may seek to place their experience and impressions into a more structured, analytical framework.


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 in the selected discipline.

In their first year, students take 30 credits of intensive language instruction in Hindi, Sanskrit or Urdu AND 60 credits in the disciplines and 15 credits open option. These modules should be chosen in close consultation with the programme convenor. They also take 15PLIH054 Intercultural Communication and Interaction OR 15PLIH004 Language, Society and Communication (Masters) (15 credits).

Over the summer between year 1 and 2 students study at one of our partner institutions in India (Study Abroad module - worth 45 credits), before returning to take another 30 language credits as well as 60 credits in the discipline; they also write their 10,000-word dissertation (15PSAC997 Dissertation in South Asian Studies - worth 60 credits).

Year 1

Taught Component

All students will take language modules in Hindi, Sanskrit or Urdu to the value of 30 credits from the list below.

  • Bengali Language 1 A (PG)
  • Bengali Language 1 B (PG)
  • Bengali Language 2 (PG)
  • Hindi Language 1 A (PG)
  • Hindi Language 1 B (PG)
  • Hindi Language 2 (PG)
  • Hindi Language 3 (PG)
  • Hindi Language 4 (PG)
  • Nepali Language 1 A (PG)
  • Nepali Language 1 B (PG)
  • Nepali Language 2 (PG)
  • Prakrit Language 1 (PG)
  • Punjabi Language 1 A (PG)
  • Punjabi Language 1 B (PG)
  • Readings in Contemporary Hindi (PG)
  • Sanskrit Language 1 A (PG)
  • Sanskrit Language 1 B (PG)
  • Sanskrit Language 2 (PG)
  • Urdu Language 1 A (PG)
  • Urdu Language 1 B (PG)
  • Urdu Language 2 (PG)
  • Urdu Literacy A (PG)
  • Urdu Literacy B (PG)

Language [one language option as minor only]

  • Persian 3 (PG)
  • Elementary Written Persian A (PG)
  • Elementary Written Persian B (PG)
  • Intensive Persian Language
  • Intermediate Persian Language (PG)
  • Tibetan (Classical) 1 A
  • Tibetan (Classical) 1 B


  • Language, Society and Communication (Masters)
  • Intercultural Communication and Interaction


Intensive Summer abroad studies worth 45 credits.
Students will take optional modules to the value of 60 from the list below (subject to availability).

Anthropology (minor only)

  • African and Asian Diasporas in the Modern World
  • Culture and Society of South Asia

Art and Archaeology

  • The Indian Temple
  • Arts of the Tamil Temple


  • Indian Cinema: Its History and Social Context
  • Indian Cinema: Key Issues


  • The Politics of Culture in Contemporary South Asia
  • Culture and Conflict in Nepal

Development Studies

  • Contemporary India: Issues, Methods and Approaches


  • Political Economy of Development and Change in South Asia
  • Topics in the Political Economy of Contemporary South Asia


  • Colonialism and Nationalism in South Asia
  • Environmental History of Asia
  • Gender, law and the family in the history of modern South Asia
  • Islam in South Asia


  • Law and Society in South Asia


  • Directed Readings in the Literature of a Modern South Asian Language
  • Literature & Colonialism in North India (Masters)
  • Literatures of South Asia
  • Narratives of Mobility in Contemporary Hindi Literature (Masters)
  • Postcolonial Theory and Practice
  • Sanskrit Literature
  • Sanskrit Texts from the Hindu Tradition
  • Theory and techniques of Comparative Literature


  • Indian vocal music: Styles and histories
  • Sacred Sound in South Asia


  • Government and politics of modern South Asia

Study of Religions & Philosophies

  • Buddhism in Tibet
  • Buddhist Meditation in India and Tibet
  • Imag(in)ing Buddhahood in South Asia (1)
  • Imag(in)ing Buddhahood in South Asia (2)
  • Issues in Religion and Media
  • Religions and Development
  • The Origins and Development of Yoga in Ancient India

Year 2

Taught Component

All students will take language modules in Hindi, Sanskrit or Urdu to the value of 30 credits from the list above.

Students will take optional modules to the value of 60 from the list above (subject to availability)


  • Dissertation in South Asian Area Studies


Intensive Summer abroad studies worth 45 credits.

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

Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent).

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.

Program taught in:
  • English (US)

See 133 more programs offered by SOAS University of London »

Last updated October 3, 2019
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Sep 28, 2020
2 years
9,685 GBP
full-time fees per academic year: UK/EU £9,685; Overseas £19,930
June 30, 2020
By locations
By date
Start Date
Sep 28, 2020
End Date
June 17, 2022
Application deadline
June 30, 2020

Sep 28, 2020

Application deadline
June 30, 2020
End Date
June 17, 2022