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Department of History

Key Facts

Our Strengths

Research-led teaching of the history of Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Our expertise covers the remote as well as the more recent past of the countries, peoples, and cultures of our regions. Our students develop the skills to understand the historical conditions of the contemporary world from a global perspective. The department runs an active world renowned regional seminar programme in Africa, Near and Middle East, South Asia, and Southeast and East Asia.

Facts and Figures

  • 93% satisfaction for teaching and 90% satisfaction overall (NSS 2014) from our undergraduates
  • 7th for staff-student ratio and ranked 14th overall in the UK (Guardian Good University Guide 2014), 11th in the UK for graduate prospects (Complete University Guide 2014)
  • UK Applicant/Place Ratio 3:1
  • Number of Staff: 19 academic, 1 teaching and scholarship, 24 teaching and scholarship (fractional)


For further information contact the Arts and Humanities Faculty Office

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7898 4020
E-mail: history@soas.ac.uk

Our Head of Department Says:

Richard Reid

This is a vibrant, highly motivated, and outward-looking Department which boasts unparalleled expertise on the histories of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. We approach those histories by focusing on a range of topics, including culture, religion, gender, economics, law, politics, technology, and warfare.

Our historians are world-leading specialists on areas of the globe which comprise more than three-fifths of the world’s population: colleagues work on the Middle East from the era of the Crusades to the more recent past, on nineteenth- and twentieth-century China and Japan, on the formation of state and society in Africa, and on Islam from West Africa to Southeast Asia.

Our range of programmes at BA, MA and PhD level attract growing numbers of students every year, who come to the History Department to gain access to our unique research community, and to the insights we offer on the making of the modern world.

Professor Richard Reid, Professor of the History of Africa


Forthcoming Events