Taught course

Asian Art

SOAS University of London · History of Art and Archaeology, School of Arts

Entry requirements

Normally BA degree or equivalent. Other qualifications (e.g., published work, relevant professional experience) may be acceptable. Non-standard applications are considered on their merits, and applicants may be asked to submit written work for appraisal and/or attend an interview. No knowledge of the arts of Asia necessary, but serious interest in the area desirable.

Months of entry

January, April, September

Course content

This postgraduate programme offers a unique opportunity to study the arts of Asia and the Islamic world. The aim of the course is to provide students with a broad understanding of Asian art covering all major periods and most media. Students will learn how to research, identify and document objects, setting them in their cultural context. Lectures are given by leading scholars in the field and supported by trips to museums, galleries and private collections. The course will provide an object-based learning experience through direct access to the reserved collections of the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A).

The course is designed to train museum curators, collectors and others with a keen interest in the field. It will also prepare students for work in a variety of professions in the art and museum world and provides a pathway to the master’s degree for those with no background in the subject.

Students can choose any number or combination of the six modules on offer. Each module is 12 weeks in length. Students who successfully pass a single module will be awarded a certificate. Those who complete three modules over a four year period will be awarded a SOAS (University of London) accredited Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art.


Lectures are given by academics, national and international experts and museum curators. Issues and themes dealt with in weekly lectures are developed further through frequent visits to museums and galleries. The weekly review sessions with course tutors involve revision, slide tests and seminars. Students have regular access to the study of objects in the reserve collections at the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) and guided visits to other museums. Field trips and one to one tutorials are also part of the programme.

Each 12 week module runs Monday to Thursday from 10.00 to 15.30. Students will submit two written essays of 3,500 words and sit a two hour written examination per module.

Information for international students

For details, including English language requirements, please see SOAS website

Fees and funding

For details of postgraduate fees, please see SOAS website

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • Diploma
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    48 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
  • Cert
    full time
    3 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Dr Heather Elgood/Denise Acford
+44(0)20 7898 4445