The School was founded in 1916 as the School of Oriental Studies. It took its present title in 1938, by which time it had also established itself as a centre for African Studies. It moved to its present site in 1941.
SOAS offers an extensive range of exciting courses at undergraduate and postgraduate level, as well as masters and diplomas by distance learning, foundation programmes for pre-university study, and a range of shorter language courses and summer school options.
SOAS is unique. It is the only higher education institution in the UK specialising in the study of Asia, Africa and the Near and Middle East. With more than 300 academics dedicated to research and teaching in these areas, it has become one of the world’s leading institutions of its kind.
SOAS students are encouraged to develop a truly global perspective and are uniquely placed to inform and shape current thinking about the economic, political, cultural, security and religious challenges in society.
SOAS graduates aspire to varied and ambitious goals. Whether it be developing a career as a UN diplomat, dreaming of staging a kabuki play, or championing human rights, SOAS develops the skills for students to excel in their chosen area when they graduate.
A range of student services exist to help you during your time at SOAS. They provide an invaluable source of advice and support and are available to all students of the School.
Whether you choose to live in one of our halls of residence or in a privately-rented home, we can provide information and advice to help you find a suitable place to live.
We have accommodation available to both Undergraduate and Postgraduate students with a Firm offer for a place on a course at SOAS.
Consider all options before you apply, for some halls you can make an immediate booking and for others you will have to apply to wait to see if you are successful.
We advise you to apply early to avoid disappointment.
The SOAS Library is one of the world's most important academic libraries for the study of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Housing over 1.2 million printed volumes, together with a major collection of archives, manuscripts, rare books, and electronic resources, the Library attracts scholars from all over the world to further their research.
SOAS offers training in basic computing and MS Office software in the autumn term, plus additional online training courses. Across the campus there are a wide range of open access computer labs; specialist language and music labs; multi-media facilities; plus research and special needs computer facilities.
The University Central Institutions Health Service is located close to SOAS and offers a wealth of experience in dealing with student-related issues such as study strain, stress, fatigue and exam nerves. All students are required to register with a doctor in London, be it the University service or another GP close to your term-time address.
SOAS is one of London’s top universities, with a friendly, cosmopolitan community of students located in the heart Bloomsbury, Central London. SOAS is a short walk from many shops, cafes and supermarkets, as well as world-famous social and cultural sites such as The British Museum, British Library, Regent’s Park and the West End. On campus itself you’ll find internationally recognised buildings like our Brunei Gallery, Japanese Rooftop Garden and a UK top-five library facility.
At SOAS it is possible to join a wide variety of sports’ societies, including Badminton, Basketball, Boxing, Cricket, Football, Lacrosse, Netball, Pool and Snooker, Rugby, Running, Squash, Swimming, Tennis and Volleyball.
Studying for a University of London degree automatically qualifies you as a member of Student Central, which operates a range of sports facilities for students.
Students will find making friends at SOAS easy by joining any of a wide range of sports, societies, events and student-led clubs.
Clubs are as varied as the Beekeepers, who care for two beehives on the roof of SOAS; to the South Asian Film Society, which celebrates Bollywood and South Asia’s rich film culture; the Women’s Rugby Team; to the much-discussed Hummus Society.
SOAS Students’ Union is a bustling and diverse environment, which offers support and representation for all SOAS students. The Union organises approximately fifty clubs and societies, covering sport, dining, political debate, cultural issues and everything in between.