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MA Traditions of Yoga and Meditation

MA Traditions of Yoga and Meditation

Different course options

Full time | SOAS, University of London | 1 year | 26-SEP-22

Study mode

Full time


1 year

Start date


Key information

Qualification type

MA - Master of Arts

Subject areas

Religious Studies Yoga (Personal Fitness) Yoga (Meditation)

Course type


Course Summary


The thematic components and cross-regional perspectives typically suit students with the following interests and/or aspirations:

  • Experienced practitioners of yoga and meditation who wish to gain a deeper understanding of the historical and cultural contexts that shaped their traditions.
  • Students with a background in psychology seeking to gain knowledge of meditation and mindfulness for their clinical work.
  • Students planning to pursue further research which may involve, at a subsequent stage, the acquisition of a doctoral degree and a career in higher education.
  • Students seeking to pursue a career or professional activity for which advanced knowledge of the yoga and meditation traditions of Asia is required.
  • Students who wish to pursue the academic study of these traditions as a complement to their personal experience.

This degree explores the origins and historical development of yoga and meditation in India and Tibet, from ancient times to the modern world. It would suit yoga/meditation teachers, practitioners, students of religion as well as those with a background in psychology interested in mindfulness therapy.

The thematic, but inter-regional, focus of this MA programme promotes the academic study of the different traditions through the deployment of a wide range of regional perspectives. Its core unit explores the methodological foundations at the heart of yoga/meditation practice. The specialist components integrated within this MA are organised to serve as platform for further (MPhil/PhD) graduate research; the more general components of the programme provides those students who do not intend to pursue doctoral research with an advanced introduction to the physiological dynamics, doctrinal foundations, history, regional context and theoretical presuppositions that shaped the traditions of yoga and meditation. The programme thus offers students (a) advanced knowledge of the background to, and understanding of, yoga and meditation, from their origin in ancient India; (b) advanced skills in research and writing on topics that pertain to yoga/meditation, drawing on both primary sources (in translation) and secondary sources; (c) advanced skills in presentation and communication of their knowledge of the topics covered in the lectures.

The reading materials connected to all four courses of this MA programme are largely disseminated through online resources. Essay submission takes place either in hard copy or electronically.

Teaching & Learning

Students are required to follow taught modules to the equivalent of 120 credits AND submit a dissertation of 10,000 words equivalent of 60 credits. All modules in this MA are assessed through a combination of short and long essays. An overall percentage mark is awarded for each module, based on the marks awarded for individual assessment items within the module. The MA may be awarded at Distinction, Merit or Pass level in accordance with the common regulations for MA/MSc at SOAS.

The MA ‘Traditions of Yoga and Meditation’ is designed both as an end qualification in itself and as a platform preparing students for more advanced graduate work.


At the end of the course, a student should be able to demonstrate the ability to define the broad structural and historical relationships between techniques of yoga and meditation as practiced in the three main regions covered in the three other courses in the overall MA programme; the ability to assess the social, cultural and economic dimensions of yogic and meditational practice, both for the ancient and the modern world; the ability to evaluate the modes of interaction between theory and practice, using as the particular case in point the relationship between speculative religious belief and yogic and meditational practice; the ability to critically discuss arguments related to the continuities and discontinuities between historical forms of yogic and meditational practice and their reflexes in the modern world; familiarity with the general models of the relationship between mind and body that inform the meditative traditions explored in greater detail in the 2 other taught course units of the present MA programme; knowledge of the commerce in goods and ideas between India, Tibet and China as relevant to yoga and meditation; familiarity with theoretical approaches to the problem of the nature of the subject and their relevance for a critique of various sorts of meditational practice.

Tuition fees

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International fees
Course fees for EU and international students

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Entry requirements

We will consider all applications with 2:ii (or international equivalent) or higher. In addition to degree classification we take into account other elements of the application including supporting statement and references.

University information

At SOAS University of London, students are encouraged to challenge conventional views and to think globally. SOAS is the leading higher education institution in Europe specialising in the study of Asia, Africa and the Near and Middle East, offering over a hundred postgraduate programmes, all taught by world-class specialists. The central London campus is home to a large postgraduate community, with 45% of students studying towards a...more

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