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About SOAS

100 years of SOAS

Early days

Early advertisement for the School of Oriental Studies

SOAS was founded as the School of Oriental Studies, with the emphasis on practical instruction, as displayed by this early advertisement

Celebrating our achievements

In nearly 100 years of existence our small, specialist institution has built a strong academic reputation throughout the world and especially in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. As we look back over a century of scholarly achievement, we are also looking to the future educational and research needs of our academic community.

In readiness for our celebrations, we will amalgamate our two campuses onto one central site in Bloomsbury, transforming SOAS’s ability to fulfil its academic vision and mission.  The development of the North Block of Senate House will extend our vibrant campus in this prestigious London district of learning and heritage, enable the planned increase by 25% of SOAS’ student community and support initiatives like the newly launched SOAS China and South Asia Institutes. 

The entrance to the redeveloped north block of Senate House

The entrance to the redeveloped north block of Senate House, launching in SOAS' 100th academic session

A chance to reflect

Planning our future

As SOAS approaches its centenary, our goal is to deepen our impact on Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Phenomenal economic growth in China and India, political upheaval in the Middle East, the burgeoning middle classes of Africa – our world class scholars are well-placed to provide the analysis and understanding of our rapidly changing world. Our new courses, such as BA International Relations and BA English are examples of the constant innovation we bring to our teaching programmes in order to equip and inform today’s and tomorrow’s global citizens and institutions.
Architects' impression of Senate House atrium

Architects' impression of the atrium at the heart of the redeveloped Senate House North Block

As SOAS embarks on its second century, it will offer state of the art research, teaching and student provision, all in one precinct. It will ensure the future of SOAS as a top flight university which offers a unique resource for a complex world, and an institution of which our alumni can remain truly proud. 

Centenary research themes

A displaced man in Somaliland

SOAS marks its centenary in 2016-17. Our five centenary research themes frame the School’s key aspirations for its future research in the future.

  • Global voices
  • Heritage of humanity
  • Global interactions
  • Sharing a small planet
  • Global diplomacy and governance

Read more about our centenary research themes...

Shunga - a major exhibition of Japanese Art at the British Museum

SOAS in the world