Frequently Asked Questions
We have compiled these FAQs from our previous students and hope that they will answer any questions you have.
If your query is not covered here and you are unable to find the information within the Welcome Week pages, please email the Welcome Week team on email@example.com
I hold a Conditional Offer - can I still enrol?
You must have met all of the conditions of your offer before you can complete enrolment. If possible, you should provide the evidence that you have met your conditions in advance of Welcome Week, but you can bring the evidence with you when you arrive and present it to the Admissions Team.
What should I do during Welcome Week?
During Welcome Week you can take part in a number of important workshops and activities. There will be Faculty and Department welcome meetings, study skills talks, language tasters, walking tours of the area an the campus, events organised by the Students' Union and many more!
You will also formally enrol in the School and collect your Student ID card.
The full schedule of events will be available in the Summer.
What happens if I am not able to attend Welcome Week?
It is important that you enrol during Welcome Week at your scheduled time. A lot of essential information about SOAS, your Faculty and your programme of study is provided at this time, as well as the social events and activities to help you settle in.
If you are not able to enrol during Welcome Week, there will be a late enrolment facility.
Full details of the schedule can be found on the Welcome Week pages.
I will not have my visa in time to attend Welcome Week - what should I do?
If you are still overseas and your visa has not arrived, please ensure that you keep us informed of the situation. We may be able to delay your enrolment onto your programme of study if necessary.
Please ensure that you provide the Registry with regular updates by email on firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are unable to obtain your visa, you can defer your place to next year.
If your visa has expired and have applied for a replacement from within the UK, you should bring along all relevant documentation as detailed in the International Students section of this site to show that you have made the application within the required limits.
How do I pay my fees?
I want to change my Programme of Study before I enrol - what should I do?
If you wish to change the Degree you have been accepted onto, you are advised to do this in advance of Welcome Week.
This process involves agreement from various departments before it can be confirmed and during Welcome Week many of the staff involved in this process are heavily involved in the formal enrolments and other events.
If you want to change your programme, you should email the Admissions Office detailing which course you wish to change to and your reasons for wanting to change. Please ensure that you quote your full name and, if appropriate, your UCAS ID number.
If you arrive at enrolment wanting to change your Degree programme, you will be referred to the Admissions team who will look at this for you.
Are there any specific events for International students?
Yes. As an international student, you are strongly advised to attend the International Orientation Day on Monday 23 September. This is a valuable introduction to all aspects of SOAS life for all non-UK students coming to SOAS for the first time.
You are also expected to attend a number of general meetings and talks during Welcome Week, such as Students Services talks and welcome meetings hosted by the various academic departments and Faculties in the School.
You might also be interested in attending language events, workshops of study tips an social activities including walking tours of the local area.
Will my department have a Welcome Meeting?
Yes. Faculties and Departments have welcome meetings. The schedule of these will be published in the "Faculty Registration" section of this site.
What study support is available?
Each Faculty has a Student Support Office where dedicated staff can provide you with access to information and contacts. Additionally, each undergraduate student is provided with access to a tutor for pastoral and academic support.
Faculty Offices also arrange back-up for emergencies when a particular tutor may not be available.
Course Teachers, Programme Conveners and/or Departmental Tutors are also able to offer advice on academic issues.
Academic Development Directorate
The Academic Development Directorate (ADD) offers study support and academic skill development for all students throughout the year.
The list below is an example of the workshops we offer:
- writing essays/dissertations
- reading the books on your reading lists
- listening to lectures and taking notes
- managing your time
- making presentations
- revision and exam techniques
You can contact the Academic Development Directorate by email at email@example.com
When will I get my timetable?
The school timetable will be available online at SOAS Timetable before the beginning of term. You will need your username (SOAS ID) to access your personal timetable.
Your personal timetable only covers lectures for which you are currently registered within the student records system.
I have a disability/have dyslexia - what should I do?
If you have a disability (including any specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia), please contact Zoe Davis, the Student Disability Advisor as soon as possible. Zoe can be contacted by email on firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone +44 (0)207 074 5018.
She will be able to advise you on the arrangements that can be made for you and let you know about the facilities available. Please bring any relevant documentation (eg medical certificates, dyslexia assessment reports) with you.
You can find out more about being a student with a disability at SOAS by going to the Student Disability Office.
What mental health services are available?
If you need assistance or advice, you should contact the disability office - this is particularly important if you need specific support during your studies at SOAS.
We also offer a Student Counselling Service, which you may find helpful. Full details can be found on the Student Services webpages.
I can't find space in University Halls - where can I find accommodation?
If you are unable to secure accommodation in Halls, you will need to look at private rented accommodation. Details can be found on the SOAS Website under Accommodation.
How do I find out more about using the Library?
All the information you need is available on the SOAS Library webpages.
Training sessions on using the Library, on regional resources and on electronic resources will be held during term. You may also book a one-to-one introduction session with a specialist librarian. Look out for emails or see the Library Training webpages for further details.
Can I get meals on campus?
The Refectory, located on the lower ground floor of the Russell Square campus opens from 8.30am - 10.00am; 11.45am - 2.30pm; and 5.00pm - 7.00pm (evenings in term time only).
The Refectory offers both a hot breakfast and continental breakfast, lunch and dinner, including a range of international cuisine, as wall as salads, sandwiches, confectionery, soup and jacket potatoes. You can either eat-in or take the food away.
The Students' Union snack bar in the Junior Common Room on the ground floor offers a wide variety of snacks, such as sandwiches, salads and crisps, as well as hot and cold drinks. Freshly ground coffee and healthy snacks are also available in this student-run snack bar.
The SOAS bar is just downstairs from the Junior Common Room and serves alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, including teas and coffee, as well as a number of snacks, including pies, pasties and samosas.
At the Vernon Square campus there is also a snack shop and common room, which can be found on the ground floor.
If I am not feeling well, is there a health service near SOAS I can go to?
In an emergency there are qualified first-aiders available at all the SOAS sites.
The nearest GP surgery is University of London Central Institutions Health Service at 20 Gower Street WC1 (close to Russell Square). You can register with them if you live in central London.
If you are living outside of central London, it is advisable to register with a local doctor. Visit the National Health Service website to find out how to find a local doctor.
Please note there is also an Accident and Emergency department at the nearby University College Hospital at 235 Euston Road, London NW1 2BU
What do I do if I have financial problems?
The SOAS Welfare Officers give advice on budgeting and financial matters including assistance in dealing with problems with student loans. In some circumstances students are entitled to apply for hardship funds for extra financial support. Email email@example.com for advice or to make an appointment.
If you are considering taking on a part-time job, SOAS Careers Service (based at the Russell Square campus) advertises part-time and temporary job vacancies. The Careers team can also help you to write an appropriate CV. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
I need to open a bank account - how do I go about doing this?
UK students can apply for a student bank account with an interest-free overdraft. Please be careful with this facility and only use this overdraft for emergencies, and stay within your authorised overdraft or you will be changed high fees and interest.
International students may wish to open a bank account in the UK and you can do this once you have enrolled at SOAS. Further information will be provided at the International Students' Orientation Day.
If you are opening a student account, you will need a letter from SOAS for your bank stating your student status. This can be obtained by completing the online order form on the Registry pages - but you must have fully completed your enrolment and have been issued with a Library ID card.
Please be aware that at the start of the academic year there is a high volume of requests and the production of you letter may take a little time. You must be able to provide us with the name and branch of the bank where you are opening your account.
What sports facilities are available?
The SOAS Students' Union runs a number of sports societies and teams, from football and tennis to martial arts and capoeira. You can find out how to get involved from the Students' Union webpages.
The University of London Union (ULU), which is just around the corner from the Russell Square campus on Malet Street, operates Energy Base - a comprehensive gym and swimming pool. More information can be found on their website at www.ulu.co.uk/energybase
Does SOAS have showers that I can use?
Yes, there are showers available at the Russell Square campus and at the Vernon Square campus.
What social activities are available?
As well as the wealth of social facilities in and around London, the SOAS Students' Union and the University of London Union (ULU) organise events and activities throughout the year. The SOAS Students' Union runs a very popular bar with regular evening events, including a pub quiz, live music and cultural evenings.
SOAS is also a member of International Students House (ISH) which organises social activities throughout the year.
Are there any childcare facilities in SOAS?
Although SOAS does not provide its own childcare facilities, students are entitled to apply to those of nearby institutions, such as UCL and the Institute of Education. Our website has a section on this matter which you may find useful: www.soas.ac.uk/equalitydiversity/childcare
Can I bring my car? Is there parking available?
Due to SOAS's central location, car-parking is very difficult. There are car parks nearby and some parking bays near Russell Square and Vernon Square for card and motobikes.
The School provides plenty of space for bicycles.
Is there somewhere I can leave my bike?
SOAS has bike racks at both Russell Square and Vernon Square.
Can I combine my course with a job?
Yes, but you should check your visa status and consider your workload before you commit to any job.
Most international students can work up to 20 hours a week part-time. If you are not sure if your visa allows you to work, you should contact the Welfare Office on email@example.com
The SOAS Careers Service (room G12 on the ground floor of the main building) advertises part-time and temporary job vacancies, as well as full-time graduate jobs. The Careers team can also give you feedback on your CV and give you advice on how to choose a job which will develop your career as well as helping to fund your studies.
Where can I buy cheap stationary?
You can buy this in the Students' Union shop on the ground floor of the Russell Square campus.
Are there any second-hand bookshops nearby?
Yes, there are several second-hand bookshops near SOAS:
- Arthur Probsthain (Oriental and African bookseller) has two branches, one on campus in the Brunei Gallery and the other opposite the British Museum (41 Great Russell Street, WC1B 2PH).
- Oxfam Bookshop - 12 Bloomsbury Street, WC1B 3QA
- Judd Books - 82 Marchmont Street, WC1N 1AG
- Waterstones - 82 Gower Street, WC1E 6EQ (second-hand and remainders sections on the first floor).
Alternatively, you can search online second-hand bookshops to compare prices and availability.
What facilities does SOAS offer for practising my religion?
SOAS is not only a centre for the academic study of religions and cultures at the heart of a great world city, it is also a community of people where individuals live out their faith in an open and encouraging environment.
A team of chaplains offer many services to students, including opportunities for prayer and worship. The SOAS Chaplaincy is situated in the Faber Building, room F403 (top floor), or you can visit the SOAS Chaplaincy website.
Can I drive in the UK?
If you come from a non-EU country, you may drive on your valid foreign licence or International Driving Permit only for a period of 12 months from the date you arrive in the UK (not from the date you start driving).
After this time, you must obtain a provisional licence (you are able to do this after you have been resident in the UK for six months), pass the theory test and take the practical driving test.
Under a provisional licence, you must show L plates and drive only with a qualified driver (someone who is over 21 years old and has had a valid licence for at least three years) in the passenger seat. You are not permitted to drive on motorways.
You must be covered by motor insurance for the vehicle you are driving.
It is strongly recommended that you buy and read a copy of the Highway Code. In the UK there are strict laws against drinking alcohol and driving. Convicted drivers are banned, heavily fined and can be imprisoned.
Detailed information can be found on the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency website.
How do I get to SOAS when I arrive in the UK?