[skip to content]

Department of Politics and International Studies

Department of Politics and International Studies

Department of Politics & International Studies achieves excellent levels of student satisfaction

94% of the Department’s final year SOAS students say they were satisfied with the overall quality of their course, up 7% from 2013.

The Study of Politics at SOAS

The Department of Politics and International Studies at SOAS is one of the leading and most exciting departments in the UK in which to study global politics with a focus on Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The study of Politics at SOAS offers a unique perspective that grounds the analytical tools and concepts of the discipline in the historical and contemporary contexts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East as well as in global trends that influence politics in these regions.  

Studying the Politics of Asia, Africa and the Middle East at SOAS opens up new horizons for understanding the issues and concerns that animate the citizens in these important world regions, from their everyday experience of government to the globalised trading and exchange networks in which they participate.  The  Department offers wide-ranging programmes of study that cover timely topics such as the political economies of Asia-Pacific (China, Japan, Korea, ASEAN) and India, the fast-paced politics of the Arab Uprisings (Egypt, Syria, Tunisia) with their global repercussions and resonances, and the politics of justice and reconciliation in Africa.

Originally established as part of the Department of Economic and Political Studies in 1962, Politics and International Studies came into existence as a distinct department in 1990. Since then, it has grown steadily, expanded its course offerings and introduced new undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. In 2013/14 the Department launched a new MSc in Comparative Political Thought, and in 2014/15, it will launch a new BA degree in International Relations.  At present, there are 500 students studying for various degrees (BA, Certificate, MSc and MPhil/PhD) in the Department. The Department also attracts visiting students who spend up to one year at SOAS as part of their study towards degrees in other countries (notably the United States, EU, Korea and Japan).

The Department’s academic staff are leading and highly-regarded scholars in their fields and most have knowledge of one or more languages of their regions of interest, in addition to their disciplinary specialism. Staff members conduct cutting-edge research, with expertise in nationalism, urban politics, political violence, security, migration and diaspora mobilization, Islamic political and intellectual history, transitional justice, politics of multiculturalism, international relations theory, gender, comparative political economy, human rights, and the study of ideologies inter alia.

In the 2008 UK HEFCE Research Assessment Exercise, the Department of Politics & International Studies received a strong evaluation: SOAS RAE details

National Student Survey: The Department scored a 94% satisfaction rate in the 2014 NSS.

The Department of Politics and International Studies has been awarded a shared ESRC Politics research studentship as part of the Bloomsbury Consortium Doctoral Training Centre. For more information on how to apply please see ESRC Studentship in Politics.

For Politics league tables, see: