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Doctoral School Frequently Asked Questions

  • What facilities does the Doctoral School have?

    The Doctoral School facilities in 53 Gordon Square include seventy work stations with PCs spread across three floors, and work stations with Wi-Fi for laptops on the lower ground floor. There are coffee stations on each floor, in addition to a small common room and kitchen in the basement. We also have two showers and 200 lockers. 

    In addition to the study spaces, there are three meeting rooms on the ground, lower ground and third floors. One holds six people and the other two hold ten people. The third floor room has AV equipment.

    Postgraduate research students also have sole access to the following study spaces across SOAS:

    • R301: 44 workstations, plus 6 for econometrics
    • Library carrels: 16 workstations
    • Helen Kanitkar library: 5 workstations
  • Who may use these facilities?

    The study spaces are reserved exclusively for postgraduate research students.

    The ground floor meeting room is to be particularly used for vivas throughout the year, but all the rooms may be used for any meetings, discussion groups, seminars or training, if these activities are dedicated to doctoral research for or with research students.

  • What are the opening hours?

    The building is open from 8am until 11:30pm, with a member of security present at all times.

  • Does the Doctoral School have wheelchair access?

    The Doctoral School does not occupy a single location; there are facilities open to doctoral students in a number of parts of SOAS. These include the Research students area (R301) in the Russell Square main building complex and 53 Gordon Square.

    Wheelchair access to the main building in Russell Square is broadly quite good (an access statement is available on request to the Diversity Advisor) as the entrance to the building is ramped and inside there are lifts to help with vertical access to the upper floors. However, the external door and internal doors are not currently automated and some can be quite heavy to open unassisted; this includes the door to R301.

    53 Gordon Square has listed building status; it was built during the Georgian era and therefore was not designed to modern standards. SOAS has worked with the Local Authority to maximise the wheelchair access, but both the listed building status and the original design of the building impose some limits which cannot be overcome (for example, it is not possible to enlarge the lift enough to accommodate a wheelchair). So wheelchair access is limited to the ground floor only where there is a meeting room, space for individual and group study for wheelchair users and an accessible toilet.

    The main entrance to 53 GS has steps and no ramp. There is a wheelchair accessible entrance (with a call button) to the side of the main entrance. This entrance  has a large, heavy door and this must be opened by the Security staff.   To access the building either press the call button or call 0207 898 4382, which is the Gordon Square reception, to arrange for the security officer in the building to open the door. Once inside the door, there is a platform lift to access the ground floor.

  • How do I book a room?

    The room numbers are DSL10, DSG03 and DS303, and are available to view on the SOAS timetable. Please email: doctoralschool@soas.ac.uk to book a room.

  • Is catering provided for 53 Gordon Square?

    Refreshments can be ordered through the Conference Office as for events in other SOAS buildings.

  • What are the SOAS research ethics guidelines?

    Students are likely to have to go through an ethical review before starting fieldwork. It is a checking and approval process at the Faculty (or possibly School) level, which is not dependent on training attendance. Always remember to discuss with your supervisor. You can find the upgrade form and research ethics checklist, and the research ethics review form here:

  • What are the SOAS travel insurance details for fieldwork?

    Students going on fieldwork must arrange for their own insurance cover.

  • Conference funding for students

    Arts and Humanities 

    Postgraduate research students nearing completion of their thesis may apply for a maximum amount of £300 to help meet the cost of conference attendance. The actual amount awarded may be less. Applications will only be considered if the student has a formal letter of acceptance from the conference convenor to give a paper.

    Applications for the 2013-14 academic year will close on 11 November 2013 for deadline 1 and 17 February 2014 for deadline 2.  All applicants will be notified by email.

    Students wishing to apply should send an application to the Academic Support Team Leader, Carol Miles, by email (cm17@soas.ac.uk)or hard copy (room 321).

    For the application form and further details, please visit the Arts and Humanities web page.

    Languages and Cultures

    Postgraduate research students may apply for a maximum of £300 to enable them to attend conferences/workshops, etc. to present papers. Only one award per year is possible, and there are a limited number available.

    The applicant should first email his/her supervisor with the following information:

    • Name
    • Conference title, date and venue
    • Title of paper
    • Estimated cost

    The supervisor should then forward the email with approval to Dr Rachel Harrison, Associate Dean Research (rh6@soas.ac.uk), copying to Roger Nuthall, Faculty Administrator (rn2@soas.ac.uk).

    For further details, please visit the Languages and Cultures web page.

    Law and Social Sciences

    Postgraduate research students may apply for a maximum of £500.00 to partially meet the cost of conference attendance for students nearing completion of their dissertation, though the actual grant may be less. There will be two calls for applications if funding allows: one in term one, and one in term three. Information will be sent to all research students registered in the faculty via email.

    For further information, please visit the Law and Social Sciences web page and email Elaine Jakeman, Academic Support Team Leader (ej7@soas.ac.uk)

  • How can I put my PhD profile on the SOAS website?

    Use this form to update the information and email webcontent@soas.ac.uk with a photo of yourself to upload.

    This is an excellent opportunity to enhance your profile and gain good exposure of your research work.

  • How do PhD students get business cards?

    There is a student business card request form here.