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University Name:

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UCAS Code: S09

Location: Central London Show on Map

Site: Main site in Bloomsbury; further site King's Cross 

A top UK research-intensive institution; a specialist college of London University and a member of the 1994 Group of universities.

Student Population

Total Students:5,400
FE Students:0%


Total undergraduates:2,970
Full Time:99%
Mature on Entry:26%
UK Students:61%
State school entry:75%

Teaching Staff

200 (full- and part-time).

Broad study areas

 Languages, cultures and societies of Africa, Asia and the Near and Middle East - including law, economics, politics, history, linguistics, music, religions.


Admission Information:Average requirement is 280-360 points from 3 A-levels (excluding general studies) but many courses specify subjects and grades.
Points on Entry (Mean):366
Drop Out Rate:7%
Accommodation:Most first years housed by SOAS or London University 


Structural features:Part of London University.  
Site:Main site, Russell Square Campus (in London University area of Bloomsbury); Vernon Square Campus (at King's Cross, 20 minutes' walk).  
How to get there:Main site close to Russell Square underground station, easy walking distance from several others; Vernon Square close to King's Cross, St Pancras and Angel underground stations; many buses to both sites.  

Student services & facilities

Student advice & services:Welfare office; disability office; chaplains; access to doctors, dentists, FPA, psychiatrist, counsellor, optician, behavioural psychologist.  
Amenities:Refectory, snack bar and bar; also all facilities of ULU. 
Sporting facilities:All ULU facilities (including swimming pool).  
Accommodation:Most first years in SOAS or university accommodation. Approx 760 ensuite self-catering rooms in school residence (with telephone and internet cabling): rent £139 per week, contracts 38 or 51 weeks/year. Also number of places in intercollegiate halls: £149−£280 pw (from £85 pw for shared room), including breakfast and evening meal and all weekend meals, 30-week leases. London University accommodation office helps with university and privately-owned accommodation (based in ULU); rents locally £100-£200 pw. 

Study opportunities & careers

Library & information services:1.2 million volumes in 400+ languages (4000 items of music, poetry and plays; 50,000 photographs and slides), 4500 periodicals, 7000 electronic journals, 650 study places; reserve and short loan collections. Library is national library of the study of Asia and Africa. Information provision, £208 pa spent for each student (FTE). 200+ computers for student use, most with access to internet, some with non-Roman print facilities; student residences online. IT helpdesk in working hours; new students offered training in standard applications. Specialist collections: regional libraries on Africa, Far East, South and South-East Asia, Near and Middle East; subject collections on law, geography, social sciences. Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art (1700 pieces of Chinese ceramics).  
Other learning resources:5 language labs; many language tapes made in School's own recording studio; direct lines to BBC overseas services; satellite TV offering 30 channels. Close to Senate House Library, LSE library and British Library.  
Study abroad:Many language courses involve a period abroad. Extensive links with universities across Africa and Asia, some links in Europe and USA.  
Careers:Information and advice service; access to London University careers service. 


Living expenses budget:Budget of up to £10,000 pa (excluding tuition fees) recommended by School. 
Financial help:Various awards open to students resident in England, whose family income is up to £25k pa: 60 awards of £3000 pa; 30 awards of £3000 in Year 1 (for those on specified courses leading to a profession); of £2000 pa (for those from state schools or colleges); hardship payments for those facing unexpected financial hardship. Also 25 awards of £6000 fee reduction in Year 1 (£4500 and £3000 in subsequent years), open to students resident in England who live in a low-participation neighbourhood or are the first in their family to go to university; or of £500 in Year 1 to students from partner colleges. Also variety of individual scholarships.
University tuition fees:Home students pay £9000 pa for first degrees (less for year abroad). International students pay £13,230 pa (£6615 for year abroad).


Academic features:

Unique range of African, Asian and Middle Eastern languages from Amharic to Vietnamese (all of which can be studied from scratch); full range of social science courses (including law, politics, economics and development studies) and humanities courses (anthropology to study of religions). Degree courses either single subject or two subject. 

Awarding body:

University of London

Main undergraduate awards:


Length of courses:

3 years; 4 years for most languages.

Main subjects offered:

  • African Studies
  • Akkadian
  • Ancient History
  • Anthropology
  • Arabic
  • Art History
  • Asian Studies
  • Bengali
  • Burmese Studies
  • Chinese
  • Cultural Studies
  • Development Studies
  • Economics
  • French
  • Geography
  • Greek, Modern
  • Hausa
  • Hebrew
  • Hindi
  • History
  • Human Rights
  • Indonesian Studies
  • International Development
  • International Relations
  • Islamic Studies
  • Japanese
  • Jewish Studies
  • Law
  • Linguistics
  • Management
  • Middle Eastern Studies
  • Music
  • Oriental Studies
  • Persian
  • Politics
  • Religious Studies
  • Sanskrit
  • Semitic Languages
  • Social Anthropology
  • South East Asian Studies
  • Swahili
  • Tamil
  • Thai Studies
  • Third World Studies
  • Turkish
  • Urdu
  • Vietnamese Studies

Student view

Harrison Lanigan-Coyte (Msc Violence, Conflict and Development), Union Co-president for Finance and Communications


What's it like as a place to live?

London is a great place to live with activities to fit all tastes.

How's the student accommodation?

Standard student accommodation, but it has a good atmosphere. Really good location in central London.

What's the student population like?

Extremely diverse, active and engaging.

How do students and locals get on?

Students have a good relationship with the local community, and engage in many community outreach projects such as the SOAS Saturday school.


What's it like as a place to study?

SOAS is an excellent place to study. Its dynamic, multicultural, active and enjoyable, However, it can at times also be extremely frustrating. The school's admin is less than perfect and classes are hard. After all is said and done however, for all its short falls and frustrations, it's well worth it!

What are the teaching staff like?

Most teaching staff are inspirational and have hands on experience in their field of interest.


What are student societies like?

We have roughly 120 societies, 20 sports teams and 9 martial arts clubs. All are extremely active, with large memberships.

What's a typical night out?

There is no typical London night out. The city offers a whole array of activities, some of the best clubs in the world and lots of hidden treasure. SOAS has its own world music events every Friday night, which are well worth attending. Whatever your looking for London has it all.

... And how much does it cost?

How long is a piece of string.... Nights out in London can be as expensive or as cheap as you want them to be. For your average night of clubbing and partying expect to pay £40/50. Alternatively you can go for a picnic in one of London's beautiful parks for pennies.

How can you get home safely?

Public transport, taxi, walk or have a friend carry you. It all depends on where you live.


Is it an expensive place to live? 

Being a London based university living costs can be high. However, living in London can be much more affordable than most people think so don't despair. The Union itself offers a great alterative to many of the more expensive events going on in the city, so even if you are short of cash you will never be short of a good time.

Average price of a pint?


And the price of a takeaway?


What's the part-time work situation?

Part-time work is always available if you're proactive and look for it. Bloomsbury offers a whole array of cafes, restaurants and shops which employ many of our students. The union also offers students great employment opportunities and pays the London living wage. Most students have some form of part-time job.


What's the best feature about the place?

The best thing about SOAS is its engaging, passionate and active students. Students don't just critique the world around them but actively engage with it to help make it a better palace, by being extremely politically active.

And the worst?

Is that students want to do more than the facilities can provide. Admin can also be extremely frustrating.

Past Students

Paul Robeson (singer); Zeinab Badawi (presenter); David Lammy MP; Dom Joly (Trigger Happy TV).  

More info?

Check out the SU website at www.soasunion.org.



School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London
Thornhaugh Street
Russell Square


020 7898 4034





Student enquiries:

Student Recruitment Office 



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