Masters Frequently Asked Questions
If this does not answer your query, then please e-mail the Head of Admissions and Recruitment: firstname.lastname@example.org, clearly indicating that you have read the Frequently Asked Questions in the Subject
What documentation is required to apply for a Taught Masters programme at SOAS?
Please go to how to apply.
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. The decision making process can take longer than the usual 4/5 week it can take to make a decision.
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 2011.
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 they might not get a decision in time to apply for their visa and get entry clearance .
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. Please refer to SOAS Admissions policies
You can also email the relevant admissions tutors to find out more if your current academic/work experience makes you eligible for a specific Masters programme. Visit the Department list to find the relevant academic selector or convenor of the programme.
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.
Additionally, if you are applying for a Research degree (MPhil or PhD) rather than an MA or MSc, the referee must give an assessment of your sense of enquiry and ability to generate research hypotheses.
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?
There are several ways in which to submit a reference.
- If you are applying for a degree programme via our online system, you can enter your referee's email address in the relevant section of the application form. Your referee will be automatically contacted and will be invited to submit the recommendation online.
- If you submit a paper application , you can print off the SOAS Reference Form (page 8 & 9) and provide each of your named referees with a copy. References are confidential. Your referees can send their recommendation directly to us at the address below. If the reference is returned to you, it must be in a sealed envelope signed across the seal and you should add it unopened to the application form.
- If your referees don’t have a SOAS reference form, they can write their recommendation on letter headed paper and send it directly to us by post at the address below in a sealed envelope signed across the seal.
- Referees can also email their reference directly to SOAS, clearly stating your name, the programme applied for and their full contact details.
The reference should be sent from the referee's university/ work email as references sent from a Hotmail/Gmail/Yahoo or similar accounts are not acceptable.
If you are applying for a Taught Masters programme, please ask your reference to be sent to Mastersadmissions@soas.ac.uk
If you are applying for a Research programme, please ask your reference to be sent to Researchadmissions@soas.ac.uk
For Masters Admissions SOAS, Student Admissions and Recruitment, Room G1, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H OXG
For Research Admissions: School of Oriental and African Studies, Postgraduate Research Section, Registry, Vernon Square, Penton Rise, London WC1X 9EW
I want to apply online. How do I proceed?
Please read the admissions guideline before completing the application form
I am applying online. Do I have to send the hard copy of the reference letters as well as the transcript?
When applying online, you can enter the names and email addresses of your referees in the appropriate section of the online application form. An automatic request to submit references will be sent to the selected referees.
References can also be emailed directly to us by your referees at email@example.com. Emailed references must clearly state your name, the programme you have applied for and the referees contact details.
References sent from a Hotmail, Gmail or Yahoo account will not be acceptable.
References must be sent from the referee's work / University email address and preferably written on letter headed paper.
You will not need to submit hard copies of the reference letters unless requested by Admissions.
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.
Will my application still be considered if it is not complete?
Your application must be complete before we can start processing it. Please refer to the notes accompanying the application form (online or paper ) to see what documentation is required. We normally require two academic reference letters as well as a final or current transcript (if applicable) and official evidence of degree certificate with final grades if you have graduated.
If you have graduated over 3 years ago and have been working, you can submit one academic reference and one professional one. If this is not possible please submit two professional references.
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.
For 2012-2013 academic year, the majority of full-time Taught Masters programmes will start on 24 September 2012 and end on 30 September 2013.
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 preparatory course.
Further details about the preparatory course will be included with your offer letter.
- For further details about the course for the MA Law programmes, please look at the Law pre-sessional page.
- For further details about the course for the MSc Economics programmes please look at the Mathematics And Statistics (pre-sessional) page.
- For further details about the course for the Finance and Financial Law degree please look at the MSc Finance and Financial Law page.
Applicants who are required to undertake a pre-sessional English language course prior to attending one of the MA Law, MSc Economics and MSc Finance and Financial Law programmes will have to register on the four/eight week A English pre-sessional course. The information will be included in the offer letter. For further information please consult the Pre-sessional Courses pages.
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.
Could you give me the department or institution code to which I could send my GRE scores?
GRE scores are not required to assess applications and therefore you do not have to include them when you apply.
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 accept my offer. What do I do?You must reply to our offer using the submit your reply link on your offer letter. I am afraid the system does not allow us to accept the offer on your behalf. Kindly note that although you may want to confirm your acceptance by sending us an email, you must also confirm it online. Otherwise your acceptance will not be registered.
I have accepted my offer, will I receive an acknowledgment?
We will not email any acceptance an acknowledgment at this stage, however if you want to be certain that your online acceptance has been logged, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for a confirmation.
I cannot reply within the 6 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 still accept the offer and sent the signed acceptance form to keep your place on the programme.
If you subsequently decide not to take up the offer because you did not get your scholarship, just let us know and we will amend your records and release your place and offer it to another student.
Offers are automatically withdrawn if we do not get a reply from you within a 6 -8 weeks period.
When will I receive information about Registration and Orientation week?
We normally send detailed information about Registration and Orientation in August. You will have to enter your enrolment details and payment online, select your courses via the Course Sign-up system then come in person at a designed date to complete the Enrolment process.
Details will be posted on our website in August / September
When will I be sent information on accommodation?
If you have been offered a place to study at SOAS, your offer letter will include a unique serial number which will enable you to apply for accommodation online.
For further information about accommodation please go to the following websites:
Please note that Admissions Office cannot deal with accommodation enquiries or issues.
I have not received information about how to apply for accommodation, what should I do?
Accommodation information with your unique serial number is normally emailed with the offer letter. If for some reasons, you did not receive the information, please contact the Admissions office.
Serial numbers will not be available until January 2012 . Applicants with offers will be emailed then
For further information on accommodation, please visit:
I have uploaded a scanned copy of my degree transcripts onto my online application form. Will this suffice? Or am I also required to send a certified copy of my transcripts by post to the SOAS admissions office?
You will not be required to send certified copies of the transcripts and degree certificate you submitted with the online application if you have attached scanned copies of the original documents.
However, we may request you to send by post hard copies of the documents authenticated by the awarding university or a public notary stamp before we make a final decision .
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 photocopies will suffice prior to enrolment. Certification can be obtained from the Registrar Office of the awarding university. Documents can also be certified by Public Notary.
Photocopies of certified documents/ scanned copies or documents certified by academic tutors are not acceptable. If you are offered a place, you will need to submit the HARD certified copies issued with the original stamp before you can enrol. Please refer to the Notes on completion of the application form.
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 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 address has changed, who shall I contact?
Please notify email@example.com with any change of address clearly indicating whether this is your correspondence or home address and the dates it is valid until and don't forget to quote your SOAS student reference number!
Please also remember to keep us updated with your email address to ensure that you receive all the information we may send you!
Where can I find out the timetable for my programme?
You will have access to the timetable once you hold an 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 July/August . Please visit the website here 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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.
Although my first language is not English, the medium of instruction at my university throughout my First degree and secondary education was English. Can I be exempted for submitting IELTS/ TOEFL?
Some applicants may be regarded as having sufficient academic experience in an English-speaking environment to warrant exemption from submitting a Secure English language Test (SELT) eg; IELTS/TOEFL.
Applicants who have studied a minimum of three years in a University where English is the medium of Instruction or who have successfully completed an academic qualification, at least equivalent to a UK bachelor's degree, which was taught in a majority English-speaking country (see below) may be considered for exemption at the discretion of the School's English Language Assessor.
Antigua and Barbuda
St Kitts and Nevis
St Vincent and the Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago
If you are a Non-EEA student who requires a Tier 4 student visa, you should refer to UKBA website for more information about English language requirements to study in the UK.
Please refer to the SOAS website for further information on English requirements to study at SOAS.
Which English tests are recognised?
See the full list of acceptable evidence, tests and scores here
How long is a IELTS or TOEFL certificate valid for?
In general, English language evidence from tests, e.g. IELTS or TOEFL, taken 2 years before the start of the Masters programme will be accepted. 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 2012 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
- the second is due by 31 January 2014
An administration charge of £150 is payable for the instalment option.
Can I pay my fees earlier than enrolment week?
You can pay your fees before the start of your course if you hold an unconditional offer to study at SOAS. Please ensure that you quote your Student ID Reference Number (your 6-digit admission reference number) when making payments. Information on ways to pay can be found here
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.
Can I pay by bank Transfer?Yes, you can pay your fees by bank transfer. Your bank must quote your SOAS student six digit reference number when making the payment. The School’s bank account details can be found on the Tuition Fees page. You should bring confirmation of the payment to enrolment.
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 (www.ukcisa.org.uk).
If you have a query about your fee status, you can contact email@example.com and we will send you a fees questionnaire to complete. You should return this ideally before enrolment so we can apply the correct fees.
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 we will get back to you to let you know whether or not we can accept you on 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 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?
Click here for information on the 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.
If you have applied to be considered for the Diploma and want to find out the status of your application, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
How do I apply for the MA International Studies and Diplomacy/Globalisation & Corporate Development
I am interested in applying for the MA International Studies and Diplomacy. How do I proceed?
You can download the application form or apply online as you would for any other programmes. See how to apply
If you need information on the content of the MA International Studies & Diplomacy or any other programmes offered by the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy (CISD) please go to the CISD webpage or email email@example.com
Can you please send me a postgraduate prospectus?
The Postgraduate prospectus is available online.
To request a hard copy of the prospectus, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and complete the request form
What scholarships are available and how can I apply?
I am preparing the application form for a scholarship/bursary and I must provide an Applicant/Student Reference no (six digit number). How can I get this?
If you submit a paper application you will be given a six-digit reference number when Admissions acknowledge receipt of your application .
If you apply online, you will be given initially an application reference number starting with "APP" and then a six-digit reference number, which will given to you once your application has been logged in by Admissions. You may write either your "APP" number or your six digit application number on the scholarship application form.
If you do not know your six-digit application/student reference number at the time you submit your scholarship application, please leave it blank. Please do not miss the scholarship deadline because of this.
Can I apply for funding at SOAS only after I have received a positive decision to my MA / MPhil-PhD application?
You should apply for funding and submit your application as soon as possible to the SOAS Scholarship Officer, even if you have not yet received a reply regarding admission on the Master's/ MPhil-PhD programme
For more information about Scholarships 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 revised 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 have to be taken at SOAS and one of these has to be in the form of a dissertation. One course can be taken outside SOAS with a partner institution. A list of courses is available from the website but you must contact the school of Law for any updates.
There is also the option to take a specialist LLM (Masters of Law ) programme such 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 an non- EEA student I require a tier 4 Student Visa to be able to study at SOAS. How can I obtain a visa?
You will need to be issued with a Confirmation of Acceptance for Study (CAS) reference number from SOAS 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 make his/her Tier 4 visa application 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.
If the only condition on your offer letter is to attend an English pre-sessional course, please refer to our website and click here
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.
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. Tier-4 students will need to submit a CAS request to apply for their Tier-4 visa. If you have a conditional offer, you need to provide us with the information requested as per the Conditions of Offer (section 6) of your offer letter. Please send us this information as soon as it is available and as per the deadline set in the offer letter.
We will be sending further information mid-July. In the meantime, you can refer to the welcome week page at www.soas.ac.uk/welcome/
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?