SOAS University of London


Location London, England
Established 1916
Percent International Students 53
Famous For African, Asian & Middle East Studies
International Fees £13,200-14,750


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.


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:

  • 50th in the Times University Guide 2021
  • Silver ranking in the Teaching Excellence Framework
  • Global Top 50 for Arts and Humanities (QS World University Rankings 2020)
  • Top 20 European Institution (QS World University Rankings 2020)

Top ranking subjects in QS World University Rankings 2020 include:

  • Development Studies (6th in the world)
  • Anthropology and Sociology (13th in the world)
  • Politics (18th in the world)
  • History (45th in the world)


SOAS has two exclusive halls of residence, 20 minutes walk from the main campus, and with options of catered or self-catered rooms. SOAS students can also take up residence in University of London intercollegiate halls, where they will have the opportunity to mingle with students from other University of London institutions. SOAS can also help students find privately rented accomodation, and are on hand to check contracts and provide housing support. For students with families or partners, family-friendly studios and flats are available within the SOAS halls of residence.


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.


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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