SOAS University of London

Rank 33
Location London, England
Established 1916
International Students 53%
Famous Courses African, Asian & Middle East Studies
International Fees £15,400-24,600
Key Information
Location London, England
Established 1916
Famous Courses African, Asian & Middle East Studies
International Fees £15,400-24,600

Overview

Set in the heart of central London, SOAS University of London is an institution that encourages students to challenge conventional views. Specialising in the arts, humanities, languages, cultures, law and social sciences from a global perspective, SOAS is particularly renowned for its unique courses relating to Asia, Africa, the Near East and the Middle East. The university offers undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in areas such as Anthropology, Development, Languages, Finance, Law and Politics, all taught by world-class experts.

Over 40% of undergraduate courses offer a year abroad, giving students the chance to become immersed in the culture and language of our specialist regions. Around 45% of undergraduates take lessons in a second language, and choose to spend their third year in one of SOAS’s numerous partner universities across Africa, Asia and the Near and Middle East.

The world-famous library at SOAS is one of five National Research Libraries in the UK, with 1.5 million books, journals and study materials in 400 different languages. Attracting scholars from all over the world, our library not only contains 1.3 million printed volumes, but also a major collection of archives, manuscripts and rare books. As a SOAS student, free use of the University of London Library at Senate House is also a perk.

Where you choose to study may well determine the route you take through life. At SOAS, you’ll have the freedom to define your journey. As part of a school with a global outlook, you’ll cross paths with students from over 135 countries, you’ll gain new perspectives, new insights into the challenges we face around the world, and a new sense of direction.

Services for International Students

With just over 6,000 students, SOAS has one of the highest proportions of international students in the world -- and five times the UK national average. Studying in a new country can be daunting - but SOAS wants to make it as enjoyable as possible. A welcome day, specifically for international students, takes place at the beginning of the autumn term, and support continues from your arrival.

Advice on immigration and visas, as well as finance and benefits is offered on a free, impartial basis for all students. The Students’ Union also has a dedicated International Officer to provide personal support, outside of that offered by Student Advice and Wellbeing. International students also have free membership to International Students House, which provides a meeting place, events and activities for students of different cultural backgrounds.

For students whose English is not yet at the required standard, SOAS also offers pre-sessional English for Academic Purpose courses, for four to twelve weeks before the start of term, as well as in-sessional English language support.

Ranking

Following the 2019 National Student Survey, 84.9% of SOAS students were happy with the university, well above the national average. In addition, the university has performed well in recent rankings:

  • 33rd in the Times University Guide 2022
  • Silver ranking in the Teaching Excellence Framework
  • Global Top 50 for Arts and Humanities (QS World University Rankings 2021)

Top ranking subjects in QS World University Rankings 2022 include:

  • Development Studies (2nd in the world)
  • Anthropology (10th in the world)
  • Politics (15th in the world)
  • History (Top 100 in the world)

More than half of the disciplines at SOAS are now in the top ten for universities following the latest Research Excellence Framework 2021 (REF) assessments and overall 87% of the research submitted in the REF was ranked world-leading or internationally excellent.

Highlights include:

  • Law - 1st in the country for the publications produced by the department and 6th overall
  • Anthropology - 2nd amongst Anthropology departments across the country and ranked 4th overall, combined with Development Studies
  • Music - 1st research impact and department ranked 3rd 
  • History of Art - 1st for research environment and 6th overall
  • Finance and Management - 2nd for research impact, Finance and Management has moved up 22 places from 24th in REF2014 to 2nd place in REF2021 and is now placed at the top of the 1st quartile
  • Religious Studies and Theology - 3rd for research outputs, 7th overall

Accommodation

SOAS offers a wide range of accommodation, in locations that range from 2 minutes to 45 minutes travel to the SOAS campus, all within close proximity to amenities and transport links.

The SOAS portfolio consists of halls of residence with 24-hour security and rooms in shared flats or houses, with many options to suit individual budgets and requirements, including: twin, single, double rooms, studios, and flats as well as adapted, couples and family housing. SOAS also offer ensuite and non-ensuite, self-catered and catered accommodations, whilst students can also choose to live with host families if they wish.

Location

SOAS’s main campus (Russell Square) is located in Bloomsbury, an area of central London known for its array of gardened squares and famed for its literary connections. Cosmopolitan and buzzing, the SOAS campus is surrounded by other world-famous institutions and is next door to the impressive Senate House Library. Just a five minute walk to the British Museum, and with its own exhibition space, the Brunei Gallery, SOAS is well-placed for students to explore London’s cultural offerings. The campus is well-located, with numerous train, underground and bus connections across London.

On campus, the colourful Students’ Union is a great place to meet friends -- pop by one of SOAS’s several coffee shops for a caffeine hit, or visit the on-site refectory, which offers a global cuisine of cold and hot food for hungry students. There are plenty of societies and groups to join, from debating to dancing, feminism to film --tune into SOAS Radio, or pick up a copy of SOAS Spirit student newspaper to keep up to date with what’s going on.

Alumni

Set in 1916, the university’s founding mission was primarily to train British administrators for overseas postings across the empire. Now, it counts numerous heads of state, government ministers, Supreme Court judges and civil rights activists amongst its alumni.

  • Musician, writer and civil rights activist, Paul Robeson
  • Former Turkish prime minister, Bülent Ecevit
  • British MP, Catherine West
  • TV comedian, Dom Joly
  • Director of V&A East, Gus Casely-Hayford
  • Previous director of BBC News, James Harding
  • President of Ghana, John Atta Mills
  • Crown Princess of Norway, Mette-Marit
  • England national rugby player, Maro Itoje
  • Former President of Ghana, John Atta Mills

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