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 Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art at SOAS University of London offers a programme renowned for its excellence. The course provides 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 means we offer exceptional access to the collections and curatorial expertise of both institutions.

 

The Postgraduate Diploma 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 art world and academia.

Programme

DETAILS

The Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art offers six full-time modules, each 12 weeks in length. Any number or combination of modules can be taken and you can begin the programme in October, January or April.

 

In 2021/22 all our full-time modules will be fully available online, so you can study with us from anywhere in the world. Those able to travel to London will be able to join selected sessions in person, where circumstances allow. We also plan to host a series of co-curricular events, including in-person visits to the V&A and British Museum, subject to current safety measures.

 

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 one-to-one tutorials, review sessions and frequent contributions from museums and private collections.

 

Click here to view or download our full prospectus.

Aims & Objectives
  • You will develop visual skills through the direct examination of objects
  • Learn to put material objects in their cultural context
  • Research skills using primary and secondary sources
  • Develop a sound visual method for analysing and documenting works of art
  • Expand your writing and communication skills: to formulate and structure an academic viewpoint and to use visual analysis to support and document this argument
Course Structure
  • Live, online lectures given by SOAS academic staff, leading national and international scholars, museum curators, and art market professionals, generally taking place between 11.00 and 15.30 (UK time) Monday through Thursday.
  • Exclusive contributions from the British Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum
  • A series of asynchronous online lectures exploring critical thinking and methodology
  • Recommended weekly readings, all accessible online
  • Weekly review sessions
  • Weekly one-to-one tutorials with your module convenors
Student Assessment
  • Two submitted written essays of 3,500 words per module
  • A written two hour examination per module
Academic Qualifications

The award of Postgraduate Diploma is made on the successful completion of three modules. A student who completes a single module will be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate.

 

The Postgraduate Diploma has a CATS rating of 135 points. The certificate for the individual module has a CATS rating of 45 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.

Aims & Objectives

You will develop visual skills through the direct examination of objects

Learn to put material objects in their cultural context

Research skills using primary and secondary sources

Develop a sound visual method for analysing and documenting works of art

Expand your writing and communication skills: to formulate and structure an academic viewpoint and to use visual analysis to support and document this argument

Course Structure

Live, online lectures given by SOAS academic staff, leading national and international scholars, museum curators, and art market professionals, generally taking place between 11.00 and 15.30 (UK time) Monday through Thursday.

Exclusive contributions from the British Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum

A series of asynchronous online lectures exploring critical thinking and methodology

Recommended weekly readings, all accessible online

Weekly review sessions

Weekly one-to-one tutorials with your module convenors

Student Assessment

Two submitted written essays of 3,500 words per module

A written two hour examination per module

Academic Qualifications

The award of Postgraduate Diploma is made on the successful completion of three modules. A student who completes a single module will be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate.

 

The Postgraduate Diploma has a CATS rating of 135 points. The certificate for the individual module has a CATS rating of 45 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.

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

There are six modules offered:

Indian Art (runs annually) 4 October – 22 December 2021

Chinese Art (runs annually) 10 January – 3 April 2022

Islamic Art (runs biennially) 25 April – 17 July 2022

Southeast Asian Art (runs biennially) 25 April – 17 July 2022

Buddhist Art (runs biennially) April – July 2023

Japanese & Korean Art (runs biennially) April – July 2023

“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

Short Specialist

ART COURSES

Short specialist art courses have become an integral part of the Postgraduate Diploma programme. Introduced in 2006 these courses are aimed at students from a wide variety of backgrounds wanting to broaden their knowledge on specialised areas in Asian Art. Short courses are also ideal for those who do not have the opportunity to attend our full time programme and also serve as a taster to the longer modules. The courses enable us to specialise in specific areas which are not covered in depth within the postgraduate Diploma modules. The four day course structure includes 3 lectures and a visit per day. Lectures are given by leading experts and curators and where appropriate we also include practising artists, musicians and handling sessions. An attendance certificate is given on completion of the course.

Chinese Ceramics:
A Global History of Collecting

22 January – 12 March 2021

(Online Course)

Photography of China:
1839-2021

08 October – 26 November 2021

(Online Course)


 

.

Iran
Under the Seljuks & Mongols

8 – 11 November 2021

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Global Trade in the Ancient World:
Cultures of Luxury (3000 -300 BCE)

1 – 10 June 2021

.

NEW FOR 2020: We are now running scholar led study trips to bring alive our short courses.
These trips will be open to those attending the relevant short course and also to our alumni.

Career & 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.