SOAS University of London


SOAS University of London (The School of Oriental and African Studies), is a public research university in London, England, and a constituent college of the University of London. Founded in 1916, SOAS was ranked within the top 30 universities in the United Kingdom by The Guardian University Guide 2017.

Located in the heart of Bloomsbury in central London, SOAS is the world’s leading institution for the study of Asia, Africa and the Middle East and is ranked 7th globally in Development Studies by the 2017 QS World University Rankings. The School is organised into faculties of humanities, languages and social sciences. It is home to the SOAS School of Law. SOAS offers around 350 undergraduate bachelor’s degree combinations, over 100 one-year master’s degrees and PhD programmes in nearly every department.

The School of Oriental Studies was founded in 1916 at 2 Finsbury Circus, London, the then premises of the London Institution. The school received its royal charter on 5 June 1916 and admitted its first students on 18 January 1917. The school was formally inaugurated a month later on 23 February 1917 by King George V. Among those in attendance were Earl Curzon of Kedleston, formerly Viceroy of India, and other cabinet officials.

The School of Oriental Studies was founded by the British state as an instrument to strengthen Britain’s political, commercial and military presence in Asia and Africa. It would do so by providing instruction to colonial administrators (Colonial Service and Indian Civil Service),  commercial managers and military officers, but also to missionaries, doctors and teachers, in the language of that part of Asia or Africa to which each was being posted, together with an authoritative introduction to the customs, religion, laws and history of the people whom they were to govern or among whom they would be working.

In 2011, the Privy Council approved changes to the school’s charter allowing it to award degrees in its own name, following the trend set by fellow colleges the London School of Economics, University College London and King’s College London. All new students registered from September 2013 will qualify for a SOAS, University of London, award.


SOAS, University of London is divided into three faculties:

  • Faculty of Arts and Humanities;
  • Faculty of Languages and Cultures;
  • Faculty of Law and Social Sciences.

These are further divided into academic departments. SOAS has many Centres and Institutes, each of which is affiliated to a particular faculty.


SOAS welcomes applications from students with a variety of qualifications and experience reflecting their commitment to recruiting a diverse student community.

A level offers range from A*AA to BBB, depending on the subject.

The entry requirements detailed in the course descriptions represent the minimum for each subject. Applicants must demonstrate that they are able to achieve the appropriate qualifications.

Admissions tutors will consider the whole application, including the student’s personal statement. Considerable weight is also given to the academic references.


SOAS’ specialism in Africa, Asia and the Middle East offers students the chance to study over 50 non-European languages or regionally focused courses within their traditional academic disciplines.

All of their courses provide students with an understanding of complex global issues and knowledge of non-Western theories.

Many of their languages can be studied at beginner or higher level.

Each year around 44% of undergraduates take a language course as part of their degree.


SOAS is consistently ranked among the top higher education institutions in the UK and the world.

SOAS is above the national average for student satisfaction with Teaching at 89% (National Student Survey 2014).

Small group teaching remains an important feature of study at SOAS – its student-staff ratio (11:1) is one of the best in the UK.


The SOAS Careers Service is the dedicated provider of careers advice, events and information services for current SOAS students and alumni.

Their careers service will support the students in their search for part-time work, internships or full-time jobs after they graduate.

They offer:

  • Confidential, one-to-one careers advice, including practice interviews
  • Advice and resources on how to decide on a career path
  • Provide information on internships, full-time jobs, part-time jobs, recruitment agencies and volunteering
  • Provide advice on the application process, including CVs, interviews and assessment centres
  • Give resources on starting their own business and student enterprise
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