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Masters Frequently Asked Questions

If this does not answer your query, then please e-mail the Head of Admissions and Recruitment: mastersadmissions@soas.ac.uk, clearly indicating that you have read the Frequently Asked Questions in the Subject 

  • Is there an application deadline?

    We recommend you submit your application and all supporting documentation by 30 June . This is to ensure you get a reply in time for September entry. However, it is advisable to apply much earlier, especially if you are applying for scholarships and need a decision on whether or not you have a place to study at SOAS.  

    Overseas students who must apply for a Tier-4 student visa should also consider applying as early as possible. Students will need an unconditional offer before they can be issued with a CAS . Visas procedures can be subject to delays and  all students are expected to register as per the programme start date on the offer letter.

  • I have missed the recommended application deadline. Can I still apply?

    We recommend you submit your application by June 30  to give us time to assess it and get back to you to enrol in September. Applications submitted after that date can be considered but there is no guarantee that a decision can be given in time for registration.  

    Many academics and members of staff are on leave throughout the summer and the decision making process can take longer.

    You will also need to consider being able to meet fully both Academic entry requirement and English Language evidence (if relevant) before the start of the programme. 

    MSc Economics, Finance & Financial Law and MA Law programmes have an earlier start date and no new applications will be considered after 31 July.

    Finally Non EEA students who need to apply for a tier-4 student visa should not underestimate the time it can take for a visa application to be processed.  Submitting a late application to study at SOAS means that a decision may not be ready in time to apply for a visa and be here at the start the programme .

  • Am I eligible to study at SOAS?

    It is not always possible to give you any firm indication as to whether your qualifications and grades make you eligible to study at SOAS. We normally suggest that you submit an application for consideration, sending all the appropriate supporting documents. Admissions tutors take into account academic qualifications, relevant work experience, academic recommendations, professional references and your personal statement. 

    You can also email the relevant programme Convenors to find out if your current academic/work experience makes you eligible to apply. Visit the Department list to find the name of the person you need to email.

  • What information needs to be included in the reference?

    Your reference should include an opinion (in English) on your academic and personal suitability for the proposed programme of study.

    If you are applying for any MSc Economics programme it is particularly important for the referee to comment on your grasp of basic mathematical and statistical concepts, and microeconomic and macroeconomic concepts.

    Furthermore it would be helpful if the reference could discuss:

    • ability to pursue your own initiatives
    • ability to work alone for short periods
    • ability to synthesise material from different sources
    • originality in interpretation
    • fluency in articulating an argument
    • discipline in submitting written work on time
    • ability to co-operate in the life and work of the academic community.

    If there is a first degree examination outstanding, some indication of the class of degree you expect  to obtain.

  • How can I submit my references?
    • Enter your referee's email address in the relevant section of the online application form.                 
    • Confirm whether you want your referee to submit their reference online or by post.  
      • If you select the online option,  your referee will be automatically contacted and will be invited to submit their recommendation online.
      • If you do not select the online option,  your referees will have to send their recommendations directly to us either via email of to the postal address below.

    References sent from a Hotmail/Gmail/Yahoo or similar accounts might not be acceptable and we may ask to see the hard copies before assessing your application.

    Emailed references must be sent directly by the referees to mastersadmissions@soas.ac.uk , clearly stating your name, the programme applied for and their full contact details. References must sent from the referee's university/ work email address.  

    All references whether submitted  by post or sent via email must be on letter headed paper, signed and dated.

    References sent by post must be submitted in a sealed envelope signed across the seal.       

    We do not accept references sent directly by applicants.

    Postal Address:

    For Masters Admissions SOAS, Student Admissions and Recruitment, Room G1, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H OXG

  • I want to apply to study at SOAS. How do I proceed and what documentation is required? Do you need original documentation?

    You can apply for a taught Masters programme and the Graduate Diploma in Economics via the online application form

    We won't be processing incomplete application so please ensure to include 

    • A supporting statement
    • Full academic transcripts (Current transcripts if you have not graduated)
    • Degree certificate ( if you have graduated)
    • Evidence of English language Proficiency if English is not your first language
    • Two academic references


     If your transcript or degree certificate is not in English you are required to provide the original transcript and degree certificate, as well as a copy of the same translated into English and authenticated by a legal translator.  Please note that self-translated documents are not acceptable.

    Note that only scans of original documents will be accepted.  We do not accept scanned photocopies. 

    You do not have to provide the hard copies of original documentation but we might request certified hard copies before making an offer.  The documentation must be certified by the University Registry office / British Council with a stamp and signature confirming their authenticity.  

    You will need to bring the originals at registration for verification

    You are encouraged to read the notes on the application form itself before completing the online application.

  • I want to submit an application for a Masters programme but have not yet completed my degree studies. Will you consider my application?

    We would consider and assess your application based on a current transcript and grades obtained so far. If we offer you a place,  it will be conditional and you must send your final results and evidence that your degree has been granted as soon as they are available. These will be assessed and we will review the offer letter accordingly. No final decision will be made until we have received evidence of your degree with final grades and the condition on the offer letter have been met.

  • I need my SOAS student reference number to complete my CAS request form. Can I use my application ID number?

    You can use your application 7 digit number or the SOAS 6 digit number if it has already been allocated.
  • When is the starting /end date for Masters programmes?

    All taught Masters programmes, regardless of the mode of study, start in mid-September. There are no provisions to start in January. All full time MA programmes end on 30 September the following year, once the dissertation has been submitted. MA Results are available in December.

    Applicants for MA Law programmes, MSc Economics programmes and MSc Finance and Financial Law programmes will be required to register at an earlier date in September as each of those programmes includes a compulsory preliminary course. 

    Further details about the preliminary course will be included with the offer letter  

  • How many Taught Masters programmes can I apply for per academic year?

    You can only submit one application at a time, and have the option of selecting two programmes. You will be initially considered for your first choice programme. Your alternative choice will be considered only if you are not successful with your first choice programme.

  • Will I automatically be considered for the two programmes I put on the application form?

    No, you will only be considered for your alternative programme if you are not offered a place on the programme of your first choice.  In certain cases, the academic selectors might offer you a place on a programme other than the ones you have selected because they feel they are better suited to your academic background and interest. 

  • Do you need my GRE scores?

    We do not required GRE scores  to assess applications. 

  • How long should my statement of purpose be?
    Your personal statement should be no more than 1,000 words. It should include the reasons why you are interested in the programme, highlight your relevant experience and suitability for the programme as well as future plans.
  • I want to reply to my offer. What do I do? Will I receive an acknowledgment?

    You must reply to our offer online via the submit your reply link on your offer letter.  I am afraid the system does not allow us to accept or decline the offer on your behalf.  

    Kindly note that even if you confirm your acceptance or decline in an email, you must also confirm it online. Otherwise your reply will not be registered.

    We will not email any acknowledgment at this stage, however if you want to be certain that your online reply has been logged,  please email mastersadmissions@soas.ac.uk for confirmation.

  • I cannot reply within the 4 weeks deadline because I am still waiting for a decision on a scholarship application / decision from another university/degree results. What do I do?

    You should submit your acceptance online via the submit your reply link on the offer letter to register your interest and keep your place.

    If you decide later on not to take up the offer just let us know. We will amend your records. 

    Offers are automatically withdrawn if we do not get a reply from you within a 4 weeks period.

  • How do I apply for accommodation?

    Please refer to the offer letter as accommodation information and your unique serial number is included in the offer letter.

    If the serial reference number is missing, please email mastersadmissions@soas.ac.uk

    Kindly note however that Admissions cannot help you with accommodation issues.

    For further information on accommodation, please visit: 
  • I am requested to submit a certified copy of my transcript and/or certificate. Where can I obtain this?

    Please do not send original certificates and diplomas, since certified documents will suffice prior to enrolment. 

    Certification can be obtained from the Registrar Office of the awarding university or the British Council. 

    We cannot accept documents certified:

    • by Public Notary
    • by Academic Tutors
    • by the applicant  

    We may request you to submit the HARD certified copies issued with the original stamp before you can enrol. 

  • What if I need a translation of my transcript and/or of my certificate or diploma?

    If your transcript or degree certificate is not in English you are required to provide a certified copy of the original transcript and/or degree certificate, authenticated by the university as well as a copy of the same translated into English and authenticated by a legal translator.  We do not accept photocopies as final evidence. The British Council or British government bodies in your home country might be able to refer you to a list of accredited translators.   Please note that self translated documents are not acceptable

  • I have been offered and accepted a place to study at SOAS. I need a certification letter to open a UK bank account. Can you please help?

    We normally issue letters to students once they are fully enrolled and have paid their tuition fees. 

    We can sometimes provide overseas students a letter confirming that an offer to study at SOAS has been made before the registration date . You will need to give us the name of the branch where the account will be held as well as a UK address.

  • My contact details have changed, who shall I notify?

    We cannot unfortunately change the profile email  address used to create your online profile account on AY. You will have to update it yourself in the account settings of AY.

    If you encounter some problems, contact the HOBSONS helpdesk

    As this is the email address where all correspondence will be sent to, it is important that you keep  your email account up-to-date. 

    Please notify mastersadmissions@soas.ac.uk with any change of postal address clearly indicating whether this is your correspondence or home address and the dates it is valid until.

    Don't forget to quote your full name and student reference number!

  • Where can I find out the timetable for my programme?

    You will have access to the timetable once you have accepted an unconditional offer to study at SOAS as you will need your SOAS  student reference number to access it. The timetable will be posted on the website and the final version is usually available by July/August. Please visit the timetable page for up to date information

  • Can I change my mode of study from full-time to part-time, or from part-time to full-time?

    It is normally possible to change your mode of study, but non EEA students who have to apply for Tier 4 student visa can only study on a full-time basis.  Students who have restrictions upon their right of stay in the UK should note that they may have difficulties entering and/or remaining in the UK to study on a part-time basis and should take appropriate advice before registering on a part-time programme.

    Please email mastersadmissions@soas.ac.uk if you want to change your mode of attendance giving the reasons why. 

  • I am considering deferring my place. How may I do so? Do I have to resubmit an application?

    You can request to defer your offer to the following year entry. 

    Please make your request in writing to mastersadmissions@soas.ac.uk stating the reason(s) why you wish to defer.

    There is no need to submit a new application when requesting a deferral but you might be asked to provide updated information such as a new reference, statement, or evidence of English language proficiency( if relevant)  before a decision can be reached

     First deferrals are normally approved but are not guaranteed - Deferrals are considered once, and for the following academic year only.  If you cannot attend you will need to submit a fresh application. 

    Please note that course options are subject to changes and you will need to refer to the SOAS website to check what courses will be on offer for the next academic year. The updated course list will be available by August each year.

  • Will IELTS/TOEFL/PEARSON scores or previous English assessment still be valid if I defer entry?

    Applicants should note that extension of a previous assessment is not automatically granted since the evidence already submitted may not reflect the applicant’s level of English at the start of the  academic year. Therefore new evidence of English Language proficiency might be needed.

    Please note that  English language tests are only valid for two years.  We will accept tests taken up to two years preceding the programme start date. However, the School reserves the right to request further test evidence so that a more reliable assessment can be made in some cases.

  • Which English tests are recognised? And how long the test certificates are valid for?

     See the full list of acceptable evidence, tests and scores

    IELTS or TOEFL or Pearsons Test results are valid for 2 years. We will accept tests taken up to two years preceding the programme start date. However, the School reserves the right to request further test evidence so that a more reliable assessment can be made in some cases.

  • Do I have to submit evidence of English language proficiency with my application?

    Although your English results can be submitted separately from your academic application, we recommend you  submit IELTS /TOEFL/ PEARSON test results by 31 May or as early as possible so you can have time to either retake the test if your scores are too low or to meet the requirements to attend the pre-sessional courses as required by the English language assessor.

    It is advisable to register for your test as early as possible as test centers get fully booked at certain times of the year and you might not be able to sit your exam and have your results before the start of the academic year.


  • Can I enrol on a pre-sessional English course at SOAS instead of taking an English language test?

    It is not possible to enrol on a pre-sessional English course without having first submitted IELTS/ TOEFL/PEARSON test results. The decision on whether you are required to take a pre-sessional English course will depend on your results. 

    Applicants must demonstrate a minimum level of English to be considered for a pre-sessional English course at SOAS. For further information about the English language pre-sessional courses and other English language courses at SOAS, please go to the IFCELS centre.

  • Where should I send my English test results?

    Please send your results to Admissions and Recruitment Office, SOAS, University of London, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H OXG or email mastersadmissions@soas.ac.uk

    We can accept copies of IELTS/TOEFL scores to make an assessment. If we cannot verify your results  you will have to provide the original test certificate before we can make a decision .

    You can also request the test centre to send your original results directly to us at the above address.

    • If you have taken IELTS, please quote SOAS, University of London
    • If you have taken TOEFL, please quote the SOAS code which is 0107. There is no departmental code
  • Can my fees be waived?

    No, unfortunately, fees cannot be waived. 

  • Can I pay my fees in instalments?

    Yes. A fee payment by instalment option is available to all self-funding students undertaking on-campus degree programmes. The minimum tuition fee for instalments is £1500. The fees are paid in two equal instalments:

    • the first instalment is due before or at enrolment in September
    • the second is due by 31 January

    An administration charge of £150 is payable for the instalment option.

  • How can I pay my fees?
    Information about fees and ways to pay can be found on the Tuition Fees pages. You must quote your six digit SOAS student reference number when making payments.
  • I have been assessed as an ‘Overseas’ student but I believe I should be paying ‘Home’ fees. Can you please review my status?

    The main criterion for Home/EU fee status is settled residency: 3 years ordinary residence in the UK or EU country for purposes other than full-time education. The 3 years is normally the period preceding 1 September before the start of your course. Your fee status will not normally change during your degree. Full details on how your fee status is determined can be found on the UKCISA web-site.

    If you have a query about your fee status, you can complete a fees questionnaire.

    Please return the completed questionnaire along with supporting documentation to  mastersadmissions@soas.ac.uk 

    If you have been granted indefinite leave to remain, you must submit the relevant pages from your passport or a letter from the Home Office confirming your status. On receipt of the completed questionnaire, and relevant evidence, we will then review the decision on your fee status and you will be informed of the outcome. If you have been working overseas on a temporary contract, you must submit a copy of your contract and the conditions of your employment.

  • My final grade is lower than the one SOAS has asked for, have I lost my conditional place?

    If your results do not meet the academic conditions set out in the offer letter, please send your final transcript and grades to the Admissions and Recruitment Office as soon as possible. We will review your results and will get back to you to let you know whether or not we can accept you on to the programme.

  • I will not get my final grades and evidence of my degree award before the deadline set in my offer letter, will my offer still stand?

    As long as you have accepted the offer, your place on the programme  will remain secure.

    If you are a non-EEA student who needs to apply for a Tier 4 student visa you should meet the conditions as early as possible, taking into account visa requirements and processing time to meet our enrolment deadline. Furthermore a CAS will only be issued once an offer is unconditional.  

    If your results are not going to be available before the enrolment date,  you may have to consider deferring the offer to the following year.

  • I have sent my final transcript/certificate, will I receive an acknowledgment?

    We do not normally acknowledge receipt of the documentation that has been sent. However, you will get a reply as soon as the final decision has been taken and a revised offer will be made accordingly.

  • Can you send me information about the Graduate Diploma in Economics?

    For more information see Graduate Diploma.

    If you want to apply for the Graduate Diploma in Economics, you can use the same application form as the Postgraduate Taught Masters programme.

  • How do I apply for the MA International Studies and Diplomacy/Globalisation & Corporate Development

    You can apply in the same way as any other Taught Masters degree programmes using the online application.

    However if you have any queries about the programmes and their content please e-mail: cisd@soas.ac.uk  or visit the CISD site for full information.

  • Can you please send me a postgraduate prospectus?

    The is available online.

    To request a hard copy of the prospectus, please e-mail study@soas.ac.uk or complete the request form 

  • What scholarships are available and how can I apply?

    For information about SOAS scholarships and bursaries and how to apply please go to the Scholarships page and refer to the Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do I need an offer before I can apply for a SOAS scholarship?

    You will need to have submitted and application and have an offer by the scholarship deadline.

    For more information about Scholarships and funding options please see the Scholarships pages.

  • I need an unconditional offer to apply for a scholarship in my country. Could you please send me an unconditional offer or proof of admission to SOAS?

    We can only provide an unconditional offer once all the entry requirements have been satisfied. 

    If you hold a conditional offer, we can only revise the offer once we have received evidence that all the conditions set out in the offer letter have been met. However this should be sufficient as proof that you have been offered a place to study at SOAS albeit conditional.

  • What is the structure of the SOAS LLM?

    SOAS students have to select four subjects in total. Three of those must be taken at SOAS and one of these has to be in the form of a dissertation.  The fourth course can be taken outside of SOAS with a partner institution, please contact the school of Law for further information regarding this or for any course updates. A course list is available from the website.

    There is also the option to take a specialist LLM (Masters of Law ) programme such as LLM International Law or LLM Islamic Law. Information about what programmes are available can be found on the LLM Masters in Law pages.

    You will be able to confirm which structure of the LLM you want to follow when you enrol on the programme. 

    For example, If you have applied to study for a specialist LLM programme (eg LLM in International Law), you will make your final course selection at enrolment. In order to be awarded a specialist LLM you must fulfil all the requirements attached to that programme

  • As a non- EEA student how can I obtain a visa to study at SOAS?

    You will need to request a Confirmation of Acceptance for Study (CAS)  before you can submit your Tier 4 visa application .

    We highly recommend that all prospective non-EEA applicants visit the HOME OFFICE website for up to date information about visa regulations and procedures. 

    The UKCISA (UK Council for International Student Affairs) website also contains useful information about studying in the UK

    Please also refer to the International section on our website

    Note that US Nationals do require a student visa to come and study in the UK

    A student cannot apply got a Tier 4 visa more than three months before the start of his/her course.

  • I need unconditional offer to apply for my visa. Could you please send me an unconditional offer?

    We cannot send an unconditional offer until all the entry requirements have been met. Only then we can issue a Confirmation of Acceptance for study (CAS) that will allow you to apply for a visa.

    Therefore if your offer is conditional on your submitting academic or any other evidence, we cannot make your offer unconditional until you have fulfilled  the conditions set out in the offer letter.

  • How can I arrange to visit SOAS?

    During the year the Student Recruitment Office holds a number of Postgraduate Open Events. These are aimed at anyone interested in studying at SOAS and provide visitors with the chance to:

    • Speak to academic members of staff to gain information and advice on our courses
    • Meet current students
    • Tour the campus and view our facilities – Every Wednesday afternoon
    • Visit the halls of residence

    All of the open events are to be held at the Brunei Gallery, which is part of the Russell Square campus.

    For further information please consult the Postgraduate Open Days pages.

    Please contact study@soas.ac.uk for further details and registration or book online

  • I have received an offer and have accepted my place. Do I need to do anything else?

    If you have an unconditional offer, there is nothing else to do.  Non-EEA students will need to submit a CAS request to apply for their Tier-4 visa. If you have a conditional offer, you must provide us with evidence to meet the condition(s) set in your offer letter. 

    Enrolment information will be sent in August/ Beginning of  September. In the meantime, you can refer to the welcome week page

  • Can I work whilst studying at SOAS?

    For information about the type of work that may be available, please see the Careers Service.

    Non-EEA student on a tier-4 student visa will only be permitted to work up to 20 hours per week. Please note that because of the intensive nature of Masters programmes, it may not be possible to balance work and studying.

  • My query has not been answered by the FAQ. What do I do?

    If this does not answer your query, then please email us at mastersadmissions@soas.ac.uk, clearly indicating that you have read the Frequently Asked Questions in the Subject.

    For information regarding Research programmes and Visiting Research programmes, please email researchadmissions@soas.ac.uk