The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) is located in London, close to the British Museum and Library, just two minutes walk from Russell Square tube station. You can take the subway straight to Heathrow Airport. It is also within easy reach of London Gatwick Airport and the Eurotunnel train terminus to take the railway to Paris and Brussels.
SOAS is a constituent college of the University of London. It was founded in 1916 and was formally inaugurated by King George V. In 1938, it was renamed as the School of Oriental and African Studies, and it opened its first university foundation programme in 1985.
SOAS is unique because it is the only higher education institute to study Asia, Africa and the Middle East in the UK. It is also the largest school among the same kind of institutes in the world. SOAS currently has over 3,200 students from more than 100 countries, and another 1,000 students are studying distance education courses globally.
In the assessment of teaching quality and research levels in 2001, SOAS’s scientific research was at the forefront of many UK universities. 10 out of 15 faculties earned the highest score of 5 and 5 *. In the field of Oriental and African Studies, SOAS’s teaching staff worked hard in science and education research to stay at the frontline. Its library is an international resource centre for scholars to study Asia and Africa.
SOAS’s Brunei Gallery was built after a generous donation given by a Sultan of Brunei in 1995. It exhibits from Asia and Africa reflects the value of its work.
SOAS is a research centre established in Europe specialising in topics of Oriental and African cultures, arts and exchange. It has departments of Art, Law, Music (Ethnomusicology), Geography, Economics and Political Science.
Professional programmes include: Indian and South Asian Studies; Modern Languages and Literature; Language and Culture in Southeast Asia; Modern and Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures; African Languages and Culture; Phonetics and Linguistics; History; Law; Anthropology and Sociology; Economics; Political Science; Geography; Art and Archeology.
SOAS has six regional research centres: South Asian Studies; Southeast Asian Studies; Near and Middle East Studies; African Studies; Institute of Contemporary China; Centre for Japanese Studies; Korea Research Centre. There is also a Music Research Centre, Religion and Philosophy Research Centre.
Master’s Foundation Programmes
Pre-Master’s programmes were founded in 1993 for two kinds of student. The first kind of student included those who wanted to change their professional subject(s) (for example, the student’s original subject is Language and Literature, but he or she wishes to take Social Anthropology or International Relations). They might also want to improve their English, study skills and/or research skills. The second kind of student wanted to focus on a specific subject, and to pursue further study or research in the same or a related field. However, they needed a more solid foundation in English ability, academic research skills and independent research skills.
Foundation courses last one academic year. Students need to study two compulsory units, and based on their academic background and interest to choose two optional units. Compulsory modules include strengthening of English, and an independent research project. Academic mentors guide every weekly research topics. Optional units, include: Studies in European Society, Issues in International Development Studies, Comparative Studies in Culture, Introduction to International Relations, International Business Studies, Studies in Media and Communications and International Law and Society.
There is also IELTS and GMAT counselling. Many students that complete SOAS’s pre-master’s courses go to other UK universities for further study. 17% of graduates went to LSE, 30% went to SOAS, others to Bristol, Edinburgh, Imperial College, King’s College London, Oxford and UMIST last year. Students are required to have a bachelor’s degree, English ability at least equivalent to a TOEFL score of 540 or IELTS 5.5 (including 5.0 in Writing). The Registration Fee £90.
Undergraduate Foundation Programmes
The university co-hosts this programme with the University of London. Students that have successfully completed courses can get a certificate issued by the University of London. The foundation programme is recognised by all the universities in the UK. SOAS staff at the Central London campus does all teaching.
The course aims to help students enter UK universities and apply to courses related to Humanities, Social Sciences, Law, Business-related studies and language and academic skills. The foundation course takes a total of 19 hours per week. Students need to take two compulsory units and two optional units. Compulsory units include: Intensive English for Academic Study, Introduction to European Society & Thought. Optional units including: Art History of Africa, Asia & Europe, Approaches to World History, World Literature, Issues in Development Studies, International Law, Politics, Media & Communications, Introductory Business Studies, Quantitative Methods, Introduction to Economics.
In order to apply for the foundation programme, you need to have graduated high school, with an IELTS 5.5 (Writing section 5, or a TOEFL score of 450). Admission will be considered after a thorough telephone interview. The Registration Fee is £90.
Undergraduate and Graduate Programmes
SOAS has a series of undergraduate courses, including Social Anthropology, Art History, Economics, Geography, History, African Studies, Chinese, Arabic, South Asian Studies, Indonesian, Law, Language, Music and Politics. Graduate courses in Social Anthropology, Economics, Finance and Tourism, Environment and Development are available.
SOAS Professional Subjects
Anthropology, Southeast Asian Studies, Art, Law, Middle Eastern and African Studies, and Music.
SOAS’s dormitories can accommodate about 800 students. There are another eight housing buildings of the University of London near SOAS’s campus. The university’s accommodation office will help arrange accommodation for students. Students will have teachers to take care of students’ welfare or academic progress. The school has welfare commissioners, professional consultants, as well as health services and comprehensive social entertainment and sports facilities.
SOAS Entry Requirements
- SOAS recognises many international certificates. Students applying for graduate level courses must have a bachelor’s degree. International students must be undergraduate: TOEFL score of 640 or IELTS 7.0.
- Graduate: TOEFL score of 640 or IELTS 7.0.
- Undergraduate and Graduate courses: TOEFL score of 550 or IELTS 5.5.
SOAS Tuition Fees
- Undergraduate Foundation courses (Liberal Arts): £8,200 per year (£90 Application Fee)
- Undergraduate courses: £8,145 per year.
- Graduate Foundation courses: £8,200 per year.
- Graduate courses: £8,350 -8,750 per year.