School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)

The School of Oriental and African Studies (better known as SOAS) is part of the mega University of London. SOAS specialises in the humanities and social sciences particularly politics, law, economics languages referring to the continents of Africa, Asia and the Middle East. SOAS is a well respected university and often scores well in external assessment.

The university received its royal charter in 1916 when it was know as School of Oriental studies. The university has 3700 students of which approximately 40% are studying on a postgraduate degree course.

Looking to study at SOAS then read our university checklist or if you are coming to study in London from oversea then read our guide to studying in the UK.

SOAS Campuses

SOAS has 2 campuses one based in the Russell Square campus is based in the Bloomsbury district of the city which has a vibrant theaters and nightlife. The other campus, Verson Square campus is a much newer campus opened  in 2001 and it is based in  Islington and it is close to Kings Cross train station.

The University’s Structure

The university is divided into 3 facalties:

  • Faculty of Arts and Humanities
  • Faculty of Languages and Cultures
  • Faculty of Law and Social Sciences (L&SS)

Notable SOAS Facilities

SOAS library is in the Russel Square campus and is one of the best reference resource in the UK for information on Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The library is currently undergoing a modernisation and expansion programme.

SOAS houses the houses the Brunei Gallery as a gift from the Sultan of Brunei Darussalam. The gallery has a Japanese galley on its roof.


SOAS being a member of the University of London has access to UoL’s facilities this includes their libraries and accommodation.

The School of Oriental and African Studies has private accommodation for their students in the Paul Robeson House which is owned by Shaftesbury Housing, James Lighthill House and Winwiddy House.

Read our accommodation checklist to ensure your move goes smoothly.

Looking for private accommodation? We have the best offers on student accommodation in Central and North London ideal for SOAS student.

Famous Students

Famous past SOAS’s Students include royalty and famous political figures including the Sultan Salahuddin, Mette-Marit prince of Norway and princess Maria Laura of Belgium. Famous politicians include John Atta Mills (president of Ghana) and former Prime Ministers of Mozambique and Turkey.

SOAS’s Rankings

SOAS has a good reputation in the latest university guides. See our comprehensive review of SOAS’s rankings.

Tuition Fees

Full-time undergraduate courses (BSc, BA & LLB) in 2013/14 are £9,000 for UK and EU students. Overseas students will pay £14,590.

Information checked on 18/02/2013. For up to date information on tuition fees please see the official SOAS website

Your thoughts

If you are a SOAS student let us know what are your experiences of studying in the university. What is the best accommodation? What is the student nightlife like? Please post your comments below.

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