BA History of Art

General

Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

Mode of Attendance: Full-time


This programme is an unrivalled opportunity to study the visual arts, architecture and material culture of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. In the first year, students are introduced to the art and archaeology of different regions. They also receive theoretical and methodological training to prepare them for the study of Asian and African art. In years two and three students broaden and deepen their knowledge and have the chance to specialise in particular regions or themes. An emphasis is placed on training students’ visual memory through the study of images. Students are also provided with a critical introduction to the creative and cultural industries.

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 degree 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 graduates 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. Many graduates decide to pursue postgraduate study in the History of Art and Archaeology or a related discipline.

Whether a student sits for the BA History of Art or the BA History of Art and Archaeology depends on the modules they select in their second and third years. See the ‘Structure’ tab for details. The BA History of Art and Archaeology can be combined with another subject to form a two-subject degree.

Employment

A BA in History of Art from SOAS gives graduates the essential skills needed to work in a range of arts-related jobs such as galleries, museums, archives, conservation, publishing, arts administration, heritage management. Students also gain highly valued transferrable skills that can be applied to other types of professions. These skills include research skills, written and oral communication skills, visual awareness and the ability to select and organise information.

Careers include employment in museums, galleries, conservation organisations, commercial galleries, auction houses and art journalism. Other areas include the heritage industry, specialist travel companies, NGOs with cultural programmes such as UNESCO, UNOP, ICOMOS and the World Monuments Fund. It also gives access to a range of jobs available for any humanities degree graduate such as teaching and the media.

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.

The structure and contents of modules reflect the importance given to conceptual and methodological clarity, and to the independent interests of students. Particular importance is given to the training of student’s visual memory through the study of visual images.

One purpose of the introductory year is to provide a basis for the student's selection of modules in the second and third years. The selection of modules in the third year is normally intended to develop the chosen specialisations of the second year. In addition, all third-year students are encouraged to write a 10,000 word Independent Study Project essay (on a subject of their choice) which counts as 30 credits.

Year 1

Core Module

  • Theory and Method I

Compulsory Modules

Students will take the following 5 compulsory modules:

  • Great Works: art, films, literature, music
  • Themes in the Art and Archaeology of Africa
  • Themes in the Art and Archaeology of the Near and Middle East
  • Themes in the Art and Archaeology of South and Southeast Asia
  • Themes in the Art and Archaeology of East Asia

Optional Modules

Students can take either

Modules to the value of 30 credits from the Language Open Option List or the Non-Language Open Option List.

or

Modules to the value of 30 credits from the list of School of Arts guided options below:

  • Writing Across the Arts
  • Studying Popular Music
  • Sounds and Cultures
  • Introduction to Film Language, History & Theory
  • Decolonising Pop: K-Pop and Beyond

or

A 15 credit module from the Language Open Option List or the Non-Language Open Option List AND a 15 credit module from the list of History of Art and Archaeology guided options below.

Year 2

Guided Options

Students will take modules to the value of 90 credits from the list below.

Optional Modules

Students can take either

Modules to the value of 30 credits from the Language Open Option List or the Non-Language Open Option List

or

Modules to the value of 30 credits from the list of History of Art and Archaeology guided options below

or

A 15 credit module from the Language Open Option List or the Non-Language Open Option List AND a 15 credit module from the list of History of Art and Archaeology guided options below.

Year 3

Compulsory Modules

Students will take the following module:

  • Independent study project in History of Art

and

Students will take modules to the value of 60 credits from the list below.

Optional Modules

Students can take either

Modules to the value of 30 credits from the Language Open Option List or the Non-Language Open Option List.

or

Modules to the value of 30 credits from the list of History of Art and Archaeology guided options below.

or

A 15 credit module from the Language Open Option List or the Non-Language Open Option List AND a 15 credit module from the list of History of Art and Archaeology guided options below.

List of modules (subject to availability)

Modules available in Year 2 or Year 3

  • Japanese Art
  • Visual Culture of Early-Modern Japan
  • Art and Culture in Imperial China
  • Art and Culture in Modern China
  • Art and Archaeology of Medieval China
  • Art and Archaeology of Ancient China
  • Contemporary Korean Arts in East Asia
  • Royal Arts of Korea
  • Global Cultures of Chinese Ceramics
  • Chinese Contemporary Art
  • Representing China in Museums
  • Museums and Museology
  • The `Historical` Buddha: Explorations in Southeast Asian Arts
  • Gender, Art and Visual Culture: Explorations in the Representation of Southeast Asia
  • Ottoman Art and Architecture (14th-17th centuries)
  • Mosque and Palace in the Muslim World
  • Islamic Art and Architecture of Medieval Iran and Central Asia (10th-13th centuries)
  • Collecting and Collections
  • Undoing Asia: Artistic Perspectives from the 20th and 21st Centuries
  • Art and Empire in Early Modern India
  • Art, Performance and The Body in Africa
  • Arts and Society in Africa
  • Comparative Avant-Gardes: Global Perspectives in Modern Art
  • Visual Arts of Africa and the Atlantic World: History, Creativity and Agency
  • Approaches to Modern and Contemporary Arts in Africa
  • Islamic Art Theories and Aesthetics
  • Imag(in)ing Buddhas in South Asia (2)
  • Arts, Culture and Commodification: Themes in the Global Creative and Cultural Industries
  • Critical Readings in Arts and Cultures
  • Curating Global Arts
  • Mughal Arts: Sound, Text, and Image
  • Music and travel on the Silk Road
  • Theory and Method II
  • Arts of Tibet
  • Extended Essay
  • Mosaics, Manuscripts and Wall Painting in Islamic Art

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

To apply for an undergraduate degree at SOAS (including students wishing to transfer from another university) you must apply through the UK's central universities application organization, UCAS. An application form and details of courses can be found on their website. UCAS charges an applicant's fee for handling the application.

You can apply to up to five choices of higher education institutions or course on the UCAS form. How you utilise the choice is up to you. In other words, you could apply to do the same subject, for example, economics, at five different universities, or five different courses at the same university, or any combination of subject and institution. Nor do you have to use up all five choices. Whatever you choose you should list your choices in the order they appear in the UCAS handbook.

Entry Requirements

Mature students may be considered on the basis of alternative qualifications and experience.

  • A-Levels: AAB - ABB
    IB: 35 (665 at HL)

Alternative entry requirements

  • BTEC: DDM
  • Access to HE: Minimum of 30 Level 3 Credits at Distinction
  • Scottish Highers: AAABB
  • Scottish Advanced Highers: AAB
  • Irish LC: 340 points from 5 Higher level subjects at grade C1 or above
  • Advanced Placement: 4 4 5 (Two semesters - UCAS Group A) plus US HSGD with GPA 3.0
  • Euro Bacc: 80%
  • French Bacc: 14/20
  • German Abitur: 2.0
  • Italy DES: 80/100
  • Austria Mat: 2.0
  • Polish Mat: Overall 75% including 3 extended level subjects

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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