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Department of Politics and International Studies

BA Politics

Programme Code: L202 BA/POL Duration: 3 years


2016 Entry Requirements

  • A Levels: AAA
  • IB: 37 (6/6/6)
  • Access to HE: Minimum of 30 Level 3 Credits at Distinction
  • Scottish Highers: AAAAA
  • Scottish Advanced Highers: AAA
  • Irish LC: 360 points from 5 Higher level subjects at grade C1 or above
  • Advanced Placement: 4 5 5 (Two semesters - UCAS Group A) plus US HSGD with GPA 3.0
  • Euro Bacc: 85%
  • French Bacc: 15/20
  • German Abitur: 1.5
  • Italy DES: 85/100
  • Austria Mat: 1.5
  • Polish Mat: 80%

Interview Policy: Candidates with 'non-standard' qualifications usually invited

The Politics degree at SOAS is structured around four core subdisciplines, namely political theory, political sociology, political economy, and international relations. Students receive a thorough training in the theories and methods of these sub-disciplines, which are then applied to the analysis of real world political situations.

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By studying Politics at SOAS, students will gain detailed knowledge and a thorough understanding of some of the most important power shifts and conflicts of ideas unfolding in the world today. They will also learn to critically engage with and explore the relevance of social science concepts for understanding contemporary geopolitics, regional politics of Asia, Africa and the Middle East, as well as the ability to undertake analyses and comparisons of political developments in specific countries.

Teaching in the Department of Politics and International Studies combines an introduction to the discipline of politics as a comparative exercise together with awareness that comparisons must always respect the individuality of each country and population. This awareness is complemented by the work carried out in other departments of SOAS. A Politics degree at SOAS therefore gives our students a better opportunity than most to understand global politics since our courses cover the politics of three quarters of the globe. BA Politics may be taken as a single subject or two-subject degree.  A sampling of the courses we offer include Government and Politics of Asia, of China, of the Middle East, and of Africa, International Politics, Islam and Democracy, Politics of Development, Globalization and Global Governance, and Politics of Culture.


Learn a language as part of this programme

Degree programmes at SOAS - including this one - can include language courses in more than forty African and Asian languages. It is SOAS students’ command of an African or Asian language which sets SOAS apart from other universities.

Year One
4 Units required: ONE from A, B, C and D
Any other unit available in another department of SOAS for first year UG students- an 'open option'
Year Two
4 Units required: TWO from A, ONE to TWO from B and up to ONE from C
A. TWO of the following DISCIPLINARY units:
B. ONE to TWO of the following REGIONAL units:
C. Any other unit available in another department of SOAS for second year UG students- an 'open option'
Or ONE of the following:
Year Three
A. ONE to THREE of the following DISCIPLINARY or REGIONAL units:
B. ONE to TWO of the following remaining options:
Any unit available in another department of SOAS for third year UG students- an 'open option'
To take 153400057 you should have previously taken: 153400067 OR 153400014
To take 153400065 you should have previously taken: A course in Middle East or South Asian Politics
To take 153400073, 153400070 or 153400068 you must have taken 153400014
To take 153400075 or 153400074 you must have taken 153400056 OR a Politics course from the list of regional courses
To take 153400053 you must have a mark of 2:1 or above in Year Two. Students CANNOT take BOTH an Independent Study Project and two Extended Essays.

Programme Specification


Teaching & Learning

Teaching & Learning

Classes are taught through lectures, tutorials and seminars. Assessment is by a combination of written examination and essays.

SOAS Library is one of the world's most important academic libraries for the study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, attracting scholars from all over the world. The Library houses over 1.2 million volumes, together with significant archival holdings, special collections and a growing network of electronic resources.


SOAS BA Politics students leave SOAS not only with a knowledge and understanding of the complex political and cultural issues of global politics, but also with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek in many professional and management careers, both in business and in the public sector. 

Politics students follow many different careers in business, government, international organisations and NGOs, as well as further study.

Graduates have gone on to work for a range of organisations including:

BBC - World Service
British Council
Center for International Peace Operations
Channel 4
Civil Rights, Human Rights and Peace Movement Meretz
Council for Assisting Refugee Academics
Eversheds LLP
Financial Times Limited
Global Policy Institute
Go East Consulting
Grassroot Diplomat
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
Norwegian Broadcasting Corp
Pakistan Institute of Corporate Governance - PICG
Public Affairs Council
Standard Chartered Bank
Sveriges Riksdag, Swedish Parliament
Think Security Africa
Uganda Conservation Foundation
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:
Asia-Pacific Desk Editor
Donor Development Officer
Senior Policy Adviser
Grant Programme Officer/Consultant
Communications Coordinator
Lawyer, International Arbitration and Litigation
Film Maker
Head of Strategy & Corporate Development
Media & Marketing Officer
Project Manager
Senior Clinical Researcher
Barrister at Law
Market Analyst
Foreign Affairs Correspondent
Senior Consultant
Commercial Advisor
Corporate Affairs Manager, Europe
Country Director
Project Coordinator
Communications strategist
For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website

A Student's Perspective

SOAS is a unique University that combines both academic excellence and a vibrant, active and innovative student body.

Ingrida Kerusauskaite