SOAS University of London is the leading Higher Education institution in Europe specialising in the study of Asia, Africa and the Near and Middle East.

SOAS is a remarkable institution. With our vast repository of knowledge and expertise on our specialist regions, we are uniquely placed to inform and shape current thinking about the economic, political, cultural, security and religious challenges of our world. Our programmes are taught by respected academics engaged in fieldwork and research which influences government policy and the lives of individuals across the globe. SOAS scholars grapple with the pressing issues confronting two-thirds of humankind today: democracy, development, economy, finance, public and corporate policy, human rights, migration, identity, legal systems, poverty, religion, and social change.

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A brief

INTRODUCTION

The SOAS-Alphawood Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art at SOAS University of London offers a programme renowned for its excellence. The programme leads you on a journey of object-based study through lectures and contributions from a wide range of leading scholars, curators, and art market professionals.

 

We have a formal association with the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum, which allows us to offer exceptional access to the collections and curatorial expertise of both institutions.

 

Our programme will appeal to all those with a serious interest in Asian art, regardless of your personal, professional or academic background. It is also a proven pathway to further postgraduate study in Asian art and careers in museums, the commercial art world and academia.

Programme

DETAILS

The SOAS-Alphawood Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art offers nine immersive modules, each eleven weeks in length, either in-person or online. Students can take any number or combination of modules and you can begin the programme in October, January or April.

 

Our in-person modules require full-time attendence in London and feature on-site visits to museum galleries and reserve collections.

 

Our online modules are accessible from anywhere in the world and also allow you to study alongside other commitments. They feature bespoke contributions from museum curators bringing the artworks of museum galleries and reserve collections to you virtually.

 

We also offer three supporting courses. Analysing & Exploring the Arts and an Independent Study Project in Asian Art History are available both in person and online and run alongside each term. Asian Art in the Museum is an intensive two-week, in-person immersion in object-based study of Asian art run each July, based at our London campus.

 

The syllabus is designed for the student to acquire a broad understanding of Asian art, setting each culture in its historical and religious context. Students will be trained in visual analysis and the acquisition of research skills. Prior knowledge of Asian Art is not a requirement, though candidates are expected to have an interest in the area.

Issues and themes dealt with in weekly lectures are developed further through tutorials, review sessions, seminars, discussion forums and visits to museums, galleries and other collections. Our course convenors provide weekly review sessions and one-to-one tutorials.

 

Click here to view or download our full prospectus

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Click here to apply

Programme Learning Outcomes

 

  • Acquire a contextualised understanding of diverse artistic traditions, and visual and material cultures from multiple regions across Asia
  • Develop skills and confidence in object-led visual and material analysis
  • Reflect critically on the contexts in which you encounter objects studied on this course
  • Engage critically with current and past scholarship in relevant fields
  • Develop rigorous academic skills for postgraduate study, research, writing and argumentation, moving toward autonomous, independent study
  • Relate your newly developed skills and knowledge to global opportunities for vocational and voluntary contributions to the arts
We Offer:

 

  • Lectures delivered by SOAS academic staff, leading national and international scholars, museum curators, and art market professionals
  • Exclusive contributions from the British Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum
  • Visits and object study sessions at a variety of museums, galleries and auction houses
  • A series of asynchronous online lectures exploring critical thinking and current methods
  • Recommended weekly readings
  • Weekly review sessions
  • Weekly one-to-one tutorials with your module convenors
Academic Qualifications and Credit Points

The award of Postgraduate Diploma is made on the successful completion of three modules and two supporting courses within three years.

The award of Postgraduate Certificate is made on the successful completion of one modules and two supporting courses within one year.

 

Each of our eleven-week modules carries 30 credit points at FHEQ level 7. Each of our supporting courses carries 15 credit points. The Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art requires 120 credit points. The Postgraduate Certificate in Asian Art requires 60 credit points.

Auditing

 

We also offer spaces on the programme to those who are not seeking an academic qualification. Those who choose to audit the course enjoy full access as a SOAS student but are not required to complete the assessments. This is for the full module fee.

Programme Learning Outcomes

 

  • Acquire a contextualised understanding of diverse artistic traditions, and visual and material cultures from multiple regions across Asia
  • Develop skills and confidence in object-led visual and material analysis
  • Reflect critically on the contexts in which you encounter objects studied on this course
  • Engage critically with current and past scholarship in relevant fields
  • Develop rigorous academic skills for postgraduate study, research, writing and argumentation, moving toward autonomous, independent study
  • Relate your newly developed skills and knowledge to global opportunities for vocational and voluntary contributions to the arts
We Offer:

 

  • Lectures delivered by SOAS academic staff, leading national and international scholars, museum curators, and art market professionals
  • Exclusive contributions from the British Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum
  • Visits and object study sessions at a variety of museums, galleries and auction houses
  • A series of asynchronous online lectures exploring critical thinking and current methods
  • Recommended weekly readings
  • Weekly review sessions
  • Weekly one-to-one tutorials with your module convenors
Academic Qualifications and Credit Points

 

The award of Postgraduate Diploma is made on the successful completion of three modules and two supporting courses within three years.

The award of Postgraduate Certificate is made on the successful completion of one modules and two supporting courses within one year.

 

Each of our eleven-week modules carries 30 credit points at FHEQ level 7. Each of our supporting courses carries 15 credit points. The Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art requires 120 credit points. The Postgraduate Certificate in Asian Art requires 60 credit points.

Auditing

We also offer spaces on the programme to those who are not seeking an academic qualification. Those who choose to audit the course enjoy full access as a SOAS student but are not required to complete the assessments. This is for the full module fee.

Our Prestigious

LOCATION

The course is based at SOAS, Russell Square. It is close to many of London’s public and private galleries and within walking distance of the British Museum and the British Library.

SOAS-Alphawood Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art

SOAS University of London

Room 472

10 Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG

+44 (0) 20 7898 4445

The

SYLLABUS

In-Person Modules:

We offer six in-person modules, which require full-time attendance in London and feature on-site visits to museum galleries and reserve collections.

Arts of the Islamic World (runs biennially) 22 April – 10 July 2024

Arts of Southeast Asia (runs biennially) 22 April – 10 July 2024

Arts of India (runs annually) 30 September – 18 December 2024

Arts of China (runs annually) 06 January – 26 March 2025

Arts of Japan & Korea (runs biennially) 21 April – 09 July 2025

Arts of the Buddhist World (runs biennially) 21 April – 09 July 2025

 

Online Modules:

We offer three online modules, which are accessible from anywhere in the world and also allow you to study alongside other commitments. They feature bespoke contributions from museum curators bringing the artworks of museum galleries and reserve collections to you virtually.

Asia’s Art Histories (runs biennially) 30 September – 18 December 2024

Curating Asian Art (runs annually) 06 January – 26 March 2025

Arts of  Southeast Asian (online) (runs biennially) 21 April – 09 July 2025

 

Supporting Courses:

Analysing and Exploring the Arts (runs termly, in-person and online)

Independent Study Project in Asian Art History (runs termly, in-person and online)

Asian Art in the Museum (runs annually, in-person) 15 – 26 July 2024

 

For more information regarding the structure of our programme, please see our full prospectus, which offers an illustration of the various routes to a postgraduate certificate or diploma qualification.

 

Click here to apply

“The Postgraduate Diploma provided an excellent practical training for entering the commercial Asian art business. Its unique curriculum combined a strong grounding in all the major subjects and styles from the continent as well as two opportunities per module to delve into subjects, such as, Buddhist bronzes, that really grabbed me. The course has a focus on connoisseurship, which is hard to find in academia today, and it helped me to develop my eye for quality. The many handling sessions allowed me to build confidence with handling antiquities and make up-close observations of some remarkable museum pieces. One of the most privileged of these was our rare private viewing of the famous Admonitions Scroll, widely considered to be one of the most important works in Chinese art history.

After a lot of research into rival programmes, I also opted for the Diploma, turning down several MAs, because of its unrivalled networking opportunities. Attracting a diverse student body, I shared the classroom with collectors, dealers, consultants, and other aspiring young professionals. The many gallery and museum, visits enabled me to make professional, introductions with some of London’s most, respected Asian art dealers and curators. What is more, a Diploma lecturer facilitated, the introduction which lead to an internship, with one of my favourite London galleries. I joined Bonhams, New York in 2013 and am now Head of Sale in Indian, Himalayan, Southeast Asian art.” - Mark Rasmussen

“The Postgraduate Diploma provided an excellent practical training for entering the commercial Asian art business. Its unique curriculum combined a strong grounding in all the major subjects and styles from the continent as well as two opportunities per module to delve into subjects, such as, Buddhist bronzes, that really grabbed me. The course has a focus on connoisseurship, which is hard to find in academia today, and it helped me to develop my eye for quality. The many handling sessions allowed me to build confidence with handling antiquities and make up-close observations of some remarkable museum pieces. One of the most privileged of these was our rare private viewing of the famous Admonitions Scroll, widely considered to be one of the most important works in Chinese art history.

After a lot of research into rival programmes, I also opted for the Diploma, turning down several MAs, because of its unrivalled networking opportunities. Attracting a diverse student body, I shared the classroom with collectors, dealers, consultants, and other aspiring young professionals. The many gallery and museum, visits enabled me to make professional, introductions with some of London’s most, respected Asian art dealers and curators. What is more, a Diploma lecturer facilitated, the introduction which lead to an internship, with one of my favourite London galleries. I joined Bonhams, New York in 2013 and am now Head of Sale in Indian, Himalayan, Southeast Asian art.” – Mark Rasmussen

Specialist Art

SHORT COURSES

Alongside our full-time modules, our specialist short courses have become an integral part of the SOAS-Alphawood Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art programme. These courses are open to all and aimed at students from a wide variety of backgrounds seeking to broaden their knowledge of specialised areas of Asian art. Short courses are ideal for those who do not have the opportunity to attend our full-time programme. They also serve as a taster to our longer, more immersive modules. The courses enable us to specialise in specific areas which are not covered in depth within the Postgraduate Diploma modules. In person specialist art courses explore a single topic over an intensive four-day programme, including lectures by leading experts. Where appropriate we also include practising artists, musicians and object-study sessions. Online specialist art courses offer eight weekly lectures by leading experts from academia, museums and the art market. Lectures are followed by in-depth discussions moderated by the course convenor.

 

In 2024/25 we are thrilled to offer a combination of weekly, online short courses as well as four-day, in-person courses, including:

 

The Art and Culture of Lucknow: 1775-1856 | 17 May – 05 July 2024 (online)

Convened by Dr Emily Shovelton

 

Curating Myanmar and Northern Thailand | 23 May – 11 July 2024 (online)

Convened by Dr Mizuho Ikeda & Dr Stephen Murphy

 

Museums and Curation | 28 – 31 May 2024

Convened by Dr George Manginis

 

Istanbul in the 16th Century | 18 October – 06 December 2024 (online)

Convened by Ms Chiara De Nicolais

 

Silks, Spices, Merchants and Slaves: Trade and Transmission Across Land and Maritime Routes, 500–1000 CE | 04 – 07 November 2024

Convened by Dr Sara Peterson

 

Edo to Tokyo (19th – 20th century) | 31 January – 21 March 2025 (online)

Convened by Dr Monika Hinkel

 

17th Century Chinese Porcelain for Domestic and Export Markets | 10 – 13 February 2025

Convened by Katherine Butler and Teresa Canepa

 

South Asian Textiles and Dress | 27 – 30 May 2025

Convened by Uthra Rajgopal

 

For more information and to register for any of our courses please visit: www.soas.ac.uk/art-short-courses

Careers & Further

OPPORTUNITIES

The Postgraduate Diploma is a pathway to further study or a career in Museums and the art world. Many students, some with no formal background in art, go on to complete a master’s in the History of Art & Archaeology Department at SOAS or other institutions. A number continue to PhD level.

 

Alumni from the course have gone on to work in UK and international Museums, auctions houses and galleries including: British Museum, V&A, the Asian Civilisation Museum Singapore, Sotheby’s, Christies, Bonhams, Simon Ray Gallery and many more.