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Study Abroad/JYA at SOAS

The Academic Programme

Programme length

The academic year at SOAS runs from September to June, and is made up of three terms. The first two terms are approximately 11 weeks long and typically the main teaching terms, whilst Term 3 is the examination period with little formal teaching. One week in each term is designated as a reading week, when no formal teaching takes place.
Study Abroad and Erasmus students have a choice of three study periods:

  • Full academic year (September to June)
  • Term 1 (September to December)
  • Terms 2&3 (January to June)

How long you would like to stay for is your decision. However, we recommend that students consider enrolling for the academic year so that they can take full advantage of their time at the School and in London.

2013/2014 Term Dates
  • Term 1: 23 September - 13 December 2013
  • Term 2: 6 January - 21 March 2014
  • Term 3: 22 April - 13 June 2014

Orientation will most likely take place on either 22 or 23 September 2013 for Full Year and Term 1 Only students and on 5 January 2014 for Terms 2&3 Only students.

2014/2015 Term Dates
  • Term 1: 22 September - 12 December 2014
  • Term 2: 5 January - 20 March 2015
  • Term 3: 20 April - 12 June 2015

Orientation will most likely take place on either 21 or 22 September 2014 for Full Year and Term 1 Only students and on 4 January 2015 for Terms 2&3 Only students.

Planning your Courses

When planning your programme of study, you should explore carefully what is available at SOAS and discuss the options with your advisor at your home institution. When choosing courses, please refer only to the list of course options available to Study Abroad and Erasmus students. 

Course Load and Assessment

SOAS does not operate a semester system. This means that the majority of our courses are taught over the full academic year (September-June). These are called full units. However, SOAS also offers half units which are taught in either just term 1 or term 2. All undergraduate Study Abroad and Erasmus students, whether Full Year, Term 1 only or Terms 2&3 only, will take 4 courses during their time at SOAS; postgraduates will take either 3 or 4.
Whichever period of study you choose, your workload at SOAS is deemed equivalent to a full workload at your home institution. At the end of your studies, SOAS transmits to your home institution a transcript of your work, which contains a list of courses taken together with the mark for each course.

Full Year

Course Load: students can choose to study 4 one-unit courses, or a mixture of one-unit and half-unit courses, provided this totals 4 units. Postgraduate students may choose to take 3 units in total given the intense nature of these courses.

Assessment: full year students are assessed in exactly the same way as full-time SOAS undergraduate students. This will vary from course to course, but could include essays, examinations, projects, presentations and, for language classes, oral and listening exams.

Term 1/Term 2&3

Course Load: Undergraduate students will also select 4 courses, which can either be full or half units; postgraduate students can take between 3 and 4.
Term 1 only students will leave their courses early, and Term 2&3 students will begin half-way, in January. We accept a large number of students who only stay for Term 1/Terms 2&3, so it is very common not to complete a full unit course. This will not affect your credit transfer. 

Assessment: Students who are taking full unit courses and are present for Term 1/Terms 2&3 only will be set a separate assessment covering the period of the class they attended.

Language Study

SOAS offers a wide range of Asian and African languages, all of which are available from beginner to advanced level. it is very common for study abroad students to take a language - this semester students have chosen to study several languages including Arabic, Vietnamese and Zulu!

For a full list of languages offered, please see the course lists. If you are considering studying a language at beginners level then please be aware that this in only open to those students that start in September (either Full Year students or those just coming for Term 1). If you start in January and wish to take a language then you must have prior knowledge of the language. When looking at the language options please also note that all language acquisition courses are taught over one year. The half unit courses are normally not language acquisition courses, but language use i.e. literature, drama.