MSc Asian Politics


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

Mode of Attendance: Full-time or part-time

Containing 60 per cent of the world’s population, Asia is the setting for many of the most important political issues in the world today. These issues include the rise of China and India, economic dynamism of the Asian-Pacific area, regional integration (ASEAN, SAARC, Shanghai Cooperation Organization), security hotspots (Korean Peninsula, Taiwan Straits, India-Pakistan, the ‘global war on terror’), democratic transition and consolidation, the survival of non-democratic regimes, and identity conflicts of ethnicity, religion and language.

To understand these and other political processes, this MSc programme draws upon the concepts and methods of the sub-disciplines of comparative politics (political sociology and political economy) and international relations. The evidence from Asia will also reveal the relevance and limitations of the concepts and methods derived from North American/European settings and suggest ways in which they may be modified.

The expertise available in the Department enables students to concentrate on one of the sub-regions of Asia, (East Asia. South Asia, Southeast Asia and Central Asia) should they choose to do so. Alternatively, they may follow a more comparative approach by selecting a mixture of units covering different sub-regions.


Students take taught modules to the value of 4 full units + dissertation:

  • 90 credits from List A (compulsory)
  • 30 credits from List B or C or any open option with the approval of the programme convenor
  • Dissertation on some aspect of Asian Politics (compulsory).

NB. A maximum of 30 credits may be selected from China-focused modules (15PPOC012, 15PPOC018 or 15PPOC252).


This would focus on some aspect of Asian Politics.

  • Dissertation in Political Studies

Compulsory Modules

Choose modules to the value of 90 credits from List A.


Choose module(s) to the value of 30 credits from List B OR List C OR any open option with approval of programme convenor.

List of Options

NB. A maximum of 30 credits may be selected from China-focused modules (15PPOC012, 15PPOC018 or 15PPOC252).

List A

  • Government and politics of modern South Asia
  • Government and politics of modern South-East Asia
  • State and Society in Central Asia and the Caucasus
  • Geopolitics and Security in Central Asia and the Caucasus
  • Northeast Asian politics: Japan, Korea and Taiwan
  • State and society in the Chinese political process
  • China and international politics
  • Taiwan's politics and cross-strait relations
  • International politics of East Asia
  • Japan Unravelled
  • The Indian Ocean in World Politics

List B

  • Politics of Globalisation and Development
  • State & society in Asia & Africa
  • Queer Politics in Asia, Africa and the Middle East
  • Comparative International Political Thought
  • Political Thought on the Just Rebellion
  • Islamic/Democratic Political Thought
  • Approaches to Comparative Political Thought
  • Introduction to Quantitative Methods in Social Research

List C: Modules focused on Asia in a cognate discipline

  • Culture and Conflict in Nepal
  • China and World Development
  • China's Economic Transformation

NB: Students wishing to take 15PHIH013 must also take 15PHIH014

  • Elementary Spoken Cantonese (PG)
  • Elementary spoken Hokkien (Minnanyu, Taiwanese) (PG)
  • Chinese 1 A (PG)
  • Chinese 1 B (PG)
  • Japanese 1 A (PG)
  • Japanese 1 B (PG)
  • Hindi Language 1 A (PG)
  • Hindi Language 1 B (PG)

Learn a language as part of this programme

Degree programmes at SOAS - including this one - can include language courses in more than forty African and Asian languages. It is SOAS students’ command of an African or Asian language which sets SOAS apart from other universities.

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 qualification for entry is normally a first or upper-second class honours degree (or equivalent) in Politics or International Relations, or related social science discipline. Applicants without such a background may be considered for admission depending on their academic training and undergraduate performance.

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
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