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International Students

Study Abroad FAQs

Below are some of the answers to the most common queries that we receive about the study abroad programme. If you can't find the answer to your question here, please feel free to email us at studyabroad@soas.ac.uk

Eligibility    

I’m not studying at a U.S. university – can I still apply?
I’m not a U.S. citizen – can I still apply?
I’m not in my junior year – can I still apply?
I’m a postgraduate student – can I apply?
I don’t meet the academic entry requirements – will you still consider my application?
I don’t qualify for the study abroad programme. Are there any other ways to study at SOAS?

The Application Process

When is the deadline for making an application to the Study Abroad programme?
When can I expect a response to my application?
Can I apply early?
Who can write my academic references?

Visas and Immigration

Am I entitled to work when I am in London?
Do I need to apply for a visa to come to London?
When should I apply for entry clearance?

Arriving in London

Will you meet me at the airport?
How do I get to my accommodation?
When can I check in?
What do I need to bring with me to check in to my accommodation?
Where do I get my keys?
What if I’m delayed?

Costs and Fees 

How much does it cost to study abroad at SOAS?
How do I pay my tuition fees?
Can I pay my tuition fees in instalments?
Do you offer any scholarships?
Can I open a bank account in the UK?

Important Dates

What are the term dates?
When will I find out the dates of my exams?
When should I plan to arrive in London?

The Academic Programme

Where can I find course descriptions?
How many courses do I take?
How many credits do I get for my study at SOAS?
Can I take less or more than the required course load?
How do I know which level of language class I should take?

Accommodation

How do I apply for accommodation?
Where is my SOAS student reference number?
How will I be notified if I am offered accommodation?
How do I accept an offer of accommodation?
How do I pay for accommodation?
Can I pay in instalments?
When can I move in to my accommodation?
When do I have to move out of my accommodation?
Will I need to buy kitchen utensils for my flat?
Will I need to buy bedding?
Do I need to take out insurance to cover my possessions?

Other queries

Is there a Study Abroad summer programme?
Can I get in touch with other Study Abroad students before I arrive?
I have to take exams in absentia for my home school – can you help?

Eligibility
I’m not studying at a U.S. university – can I still apply?

Yes. It is possible for students from all over the world to apply to study abroad at SOAS.
However, if you are currently studying in Europe then please check the Socrates / Erasmus pages to see whether or not your home institution already has an agreement with SOAS. If there is a link between your university and SOAS, you must apply through this link. Your university will provide you with the information about how to do this. If there is not, you are welcome to apply for the Study Abroad programme.

I’m not a U.S. citizen – can I still apply? 

Yes! Your nationality has no relevance to your application.

I’m not in my junior year – can I still apply?  

Yes, students in any year can apply, provided you have the permission of your home institution to study abroad.

I’m a postgraduate student – can I apply?  

Yes. The Study Abroad programme can accommodate postgraduate students yes, although applicants must be studying a postgraduate degree at another institution and meet the entry requirements for the Masters programmes at SOAS. Please contact studyabroad@soas.ac.uk for further details.

Undergraduate students are not permitted to take postgraduate level courses at SOAS, even if they are in their final year of undergraduate study.

I don’t meet the academic entry requirements – will you still consider my application? 

Yes, we will still consider your application. The academic requirement (for example current GPA or current overall grade) is only one part of our assessment and we would encourage anyone who is interested in the programme to apply. We do not ask for a personal statement but if you wish to submit one, or if there are any extenuating circumstances which have affected your grades, then we will take these into consideration.

I don’t qualify for the study abroad programme, are there any other ways to study at SOAS?  

You may be eligible to apply to SOAS as an Erasmus student or on the Japanese or Korean exchange programme.  SOAS also has short term academic English programmes, which may interest you.

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The Application Process 
When is the deadline for making an application to the Study Abroad programme?

The deadlines are as follows:
Full Year (September-June) – 30th June
Term 1 Only (September-December) - 30th June
Terms 2 and 3 Only (January-June) – 30th October

When can I expect a response to my application?

We aim to respond to students within one month of receiving their complete application materials.

Can I apply early?

Yes. If, for example, you will be studying abroad during the time when applications are being made or it will be difficult to contact you, we can process your application early. However, please make sure that you state clearly on your application when you wish to study abroad.

Who can write my academic references

Along with your application form you should submit two references. One should be an academic reference. This should be written by a professor who knows you well, but it does not have to be a professor who is teaching courses related to your studies at SOAS or your major.
The other reference should come from your Dean of Students/Academic Dean. However, if this is not the procedure at your home institution, we are happy to accept a recommendation from your Study Abroad Advisor/ International Office instead.

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Visas and Immigration
Am I entitled to work when I am in London?

Yes, you are entitled to work provided that you obtain the proper entry clearance before you arrive in the U.K. Full-time international students on the correct visa are entitled to work for up to 20 hours during term time, and full time during university holidays. For further information please contact our immigration advisors (welfare@soas.ac.uk)

Do I need to apply for a visa to come to London?

This will depend on your nationality and the length of time you plan to study at SOAS. Please refer to www.ukvisas.gov.uk for further information.

When should I apply for entry clearance?

Again, this will depend on your personal circumstances. Please refer to www.ukvisas.gov.uk for further information.

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Arriving in London
Will you meet me at the airport?

Unfortunately the Study Abroad staff cannot meet students at the airport, but we will provide you with comprehensive information about travelling to your accommodation from the London airports one month before your departure.

How do I get to my accommodation?

We will provide you with comprehensive information about travelling to your accommodation from the London airports one month before your departure.

When can I check in?

The reception desk is open from 9am-5pm Monday-Friday. If you are arriving outside these hours, you must email Dinwiddy House, student@sanctuary-housing.co.uk and they will arrange for your keys to be left with the night porter for you to collect when you arrive.

What do I need to bring with me to check in to my accommodation?

For check in you will need to bring some form of ID with you, such as a passport, and a copy of your offer letter/e-mail or payment receipt (don't forget that you have to pay your first housing instalment before you can check in).

Where do I get my keys?

You can pick up your keys from the reception desk at Dinwiddy House when you check-in to your accommodation.

What if I’m delayed?

The reception desk at Dinwiddy House is only open from 9am-5pm. If you are arriving outside this time you MUST call Dinwiddy and let them know that you will be arriving late so that they can arrange for your keys to be left with the night porter. If you have been delayed for more than 24hours, you must also inform Study Abroad staff, studyabroad@soas.ac.uk

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Costs and Fees (see the Accommodation section for housing fees)
How much does it cost to study abroad at SOAS?

Tuition fees are listed on the fees and expenses pages. 

How do I pay my tuition fees?

For information about how you can pay your fees, please visit the tuition fees section. 

Can I pay my tuition fees in instalments?

No. All tuition fees must be paid in full before enrolment.

Do you offer any scholarships?

Yes. Study Abroad students currently registered at a US or Canadian University are eligible to apply for the Butex scholarship. For more information please see www.butex.ac.uk

Can I open a bank account in the UK?

Yes. You should be eligible for a “basic bank account” with a number of different banks. You normally need to be physically present in the UK to open a UK bank account. You will need to take with you your passport, SOAS acceptance letter and your housing contract. The SOAS Welfare Office will be able to provide you with more information.

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Important Dates
What are the term dates?

Term dates for next year are available on the programme of study pages.

When will I find out the dates of my exams?

The exam timetable is usually published at the end of Term 2, which is usually around the end of March, depending on term dates.

When should I plan to arrive in London? 

You should plan to arrive in London at least one day before orientation. Orientation is compulsory for all Study Abroad Students because there is a lot of very important academic/health/financial information that you will need, but it’s also a great way to meet people.

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The Academic Programme
Where can I find course descriptions?

All of the course descriptions are detailed in the course lists.  

How many courses do I take?

All students should take four courses at all times while studying at SOAS.

How many credits do I get for my study at SOAS?

Four courses will transfer back as a full course load at your home school. Each course that you take at SOAS has an equal credit value.

Can I take less or more than the required course load?

You cannot take more than the required course load. You may, with the permission of the course convener, audit a class, but you will not submit coursework or receive credit.
You can take less than the required course load with the written permission of your home school, but this will not alter the programme fee.

How do I know which level of language class I should take?

Unless you are beginning a language from scratch, you will take a short placement test. This usually involves a conversation in the foreign language and, in some cases, a short written test. This test is not a formal examination. It is just to make sure that you are placed in a class which will challenge you, without being overwhelming.

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Accommodation

This information has been taken from www.smsstudent.co.uk. This is the website of Sanctuary Management Services, the company responsible for the SOAS undergraduate residence, Dinwiddy House.

How do I apply for accommodation?

Accommodation applications are separate from the Study Abroad programme application. You should make an application for housing at the SOAS undergraduate residence, Dinwiddy House, online at www.smsstudent.co.uk/soas.asp as soon as you have received your acceptance letter from SOAS.

Where is my SOAS student reference number?

Your SOAS student reference number is at the top of your offer letter. It is 6 digits long.

How will I be notified if I am offered accommodation?

All offers are sent to the email address that you give on your accommodation application form. Therefore please make sure that you check your mail regularly.

How do I accept an offer of accommodation?

You can accept an offer of accommodation at Dinwiddy House and pay your deposit online at login.smsstudent.co.uk

A booking fee is required to reserve a place in Dinwiddy House. The booking fee is payable online and most debit and credit cards are accepted. Receipt of payment and confirmation of your acceptance will automatically be sent to you by email.

How do I pay for accommodation?

When you receive an offer you will be given access to a user area of the website www.smsstudent.co.uk where you can make online payments and view your account details, payment schedule, and Tenancy Agreement.
Students are encouraged to use the secure online payment system. You can use most credit and debit cards to pay your booking fee and accommodation fees instalments.

Can I pay in instalments?

Yes, it is possible to pay in instalments. Fees are divided into three instalments which are made across the academic year.

When can I move in to my accommodation?

Usually students move into accommodation 3-4 days before the beginning of term. If you are arriving in September it is usually possible to move in earlier than this if you need to, at an additional cost. The exact dates will be on your tenancy agreement.

When do I have to move out of my accommodation?

Term 1 Only students can stay in their accommodation until the end of December or early January, depending on the academic calendar.
Terms 2&3 and Full Year students can stay in their accommodation until the day after the last day of Term 3. It is usually possible to stay on in Dinwiddy house after the end of term 3 at an additional cost if you wish to stay in London.

Will I need to buy kitchen utensils for my flat?

Residences are self-catering so you will need to bring your own cooking utensils, plates, cutlery, pans etc. Some students wait until they move in and then buy items such as a kettle or toaster together with other students sharing their kitchen.

Will I need to buy bedding?

Yes. This is available for purchase at Dinwiddy House or there are several places locally where you can buy bedding.

Do I need to take out insurance to cover my possessions?

A basic insurance policy is included in the rent. More expensive items such as bicycles and computers can be insured through Dinwiddy House for an additional fee.

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General
Is there a Study Abroad summer programme?

SOAS has a whole range of summer programmes.  For more information please visit the summer school pages.

Can I get in touch with other Study Abroad students before I arrive? 

Yes. We send all students a link to the SOAS Study Abroad Facebook group. Students who choose to join the group can use it to get in touch with other students.

I have to take exams in absentia for my home school – can you help?

Yes, we are happy to proctor exams if you need us to. Please get in touch with us if you need to make these arrangements.

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