MA Postcolonial Studies


Read more about this programme on the school's website

Programme Description

Mode of Attendance: Full-time or part-time

The MA Postcolonial Studies Programme offers a focus on the historical relationships of power, domination and practices of imperialism and colonialism in the modern period (late nineteenth-century to the present) through the study of literature and culture.

The core module will introduce a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches to the literature, film and media of these areas. A range of literary, filmic and theoretical texts from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the Near and Middle East will normally be included in the reading list. These will address representations of colonialism and decolonisation, neo-colonialism, nationalism in postcolonial societies and diasporic experiences, allowing us to explore the heterogeneous meanings, intersections and strategies of analysis that have emerged with reference to postcolonial studies.

Attention will be paid to colonial and postcolonial constructs such as the Oriental, the Global, the Cosmopolitan, the Third World and the multicultural. The core module of the programme introduces and analyses interdisciplinary theories and ideological practices around a set of historical and current issues from various regions of Asia and Africa. The range of minors offers students more opportunities to explore interdisciplinarity and regional specificities.

Why this programme is special at SOAS

Postcolonial MA Programmes offered in London and other UK institutions are located within the field of English Studies or the Social Sciences. The Centre for Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies (CCLPS) is uniquely positioned to offer an inter-disciplinary Postcolonial Studies MA programme which gives students an opportunity to understand and negotiate the field of postcolonial studies with recourse to interdisciplinarity and to theoretical explications from the regions of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. SOAS offers a unique range of regional expertise available amongst the CCLPS’s faculty membership. The Programme also offers a timely intervention at a time when there is a national and international crisis in the understanding of multiculturalism, race relations and religious and national affiliations.


MA Postcolonial Studies graduates gain competency in intercultural awareness and understanding. Familiarity with the subject will be developed through the study of literature, film and media of these areas. Graduates leave SOAS with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek in many professional and management careers, both in business and in the public sector. These include: written and oral communication skills; attention to detail; analytical and problem-solving skills; and the ability to research, amass and order information from a variety of sources. A postgraduate degree is a valuable experience that provides students with a body of work and a diverse range of skills that they can use to market themselves with when they graduate.


Students take 180 credits, 60 of which are a dissertation and a 120 from taught modules. You may take a 30 credit language acquisition module at an appropriate level as one of your modules.

Please follow the structure below.


  • Dissertation in Cultural, Literary, and Postcolonial Studies

Core Module

  • Postcolonial Theory and Practice


Guided Options and Open Options

Students can select 60 credits from the list of Guided Options below and 30 credits from the list of Postgraduate Open Options.

Regional Literatures and Cultures:

  • Modern Palestinian Literature (PG)
  • Travelling Africa: Writing the Cape to Cairo
  • Translating Cultures 2
  • Modern Japanese Literature (PG)
  • Traditional Chinese Literature in Translation
  • Literatures in African languages
  • Literatures of South Asia
  • Social and Political Dimensions of Modern Arabic Literature
  • War, Revolution and Independence in South East Asia Literatures in Translation (Masters)
  • English Literatures of South East Asia
  • Under Western Eyes: European Writings on South East Asia (PG)
  • African Philosophy (PG)
  • The Politics of Culture in Contemporary South Asia
  • Philosophy and Decolonisation (PG)
  • Realism and Magical Realism in the African Novel (PG)
  • Sci-fi and Afrofuturism in the African Novel (PG)

Media and Film:

  • Japanese Transnational Cinema: From Kurosawa to Asia Extreme and Studio Ghibli
  • Japanese Post-War Film Genres and the Avant-Garde
  • Indian Cinema: Its History and Social Context
  • Indian Cinema: Key Issues
  • Modern Chinese Film and Theatre (PG)
  • Modern Film from Taiwan and the Chinese Diaspora (PG)
  • The Story of African Film: Narrative Screen Media in Africa
  • Curating Africa: African Film and Video in the Age of Festivals
  • Film and Society in the Middle East
  • Post-crisis Thai Cinema (1997-2007)
  • Vietnam on Screen (PG)
  • Indonesia on Screen(PG)
  • (Post) Colonialism and Otherness in South East Asia on Screen
  • Global Media and Postnational Communication: Theoretical & Contemporary Issues

Gender Studies:

  • Genders and Sexualities in South East Asian Film
  • Gender theory and the study of Asia, Africa and the Middle East
  • Queer Politics in Asia, Africa and the Middle East
  • Gendering Migration & Diasporas

Diaspora Studies:

  • African and Asian Diasporas in the Modern World
  • African and Asian Cultures in Britain
  • Transnational Communities and Diasporic Media: Networking, Connectivity, Identity


  • Colonialism, Empire and International Law
  • Law and Postcolonial Theory

Politics and History:

  • Government and politics of modern South-East Asia
  • The Making of the Contemporary World

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

Applicants should have a first or good second class honours bachelors degree from a UK university, or equivalent, in a subject appropriate to that of the programme to be followed. As an approximate comparison, an equivalent BA from a US university would have a Grade Point Average of either 3.3 or 3.5 depending on the awarding university. If an applicant does not have a bachelors degree in an appropriate field s/he may be required to complete a qualifying year or a one-year diploma before entering the master's programme. Relevant work experience may also be taken into consideration. Individual courses may have specific entry requirements, so you are advised to consult the postgraduate prospectus for further information.

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 Nov 2019

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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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