Department of Politics and International Studies


Established in 1962, the Department of Politics and International Studies has grown into one of the largest Departments at SOAS and is now home to almost fifty academics and 1,000 students across undergraduate and postgraduate levels. 

The department offers a wide range of degree programmes provide students with expert grounding in the disciplines of Politics and International Relations through deep engagement with the historical legacies and political realities of Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The Department is unique in combining this regional expertise with the study of world politics from the perspective of the Global South. 

The Department is home to the six centres with distinct research agendas and networks. Each centre is linked to one of our postgraduate degrees, and they regularly host events and external speakers.


Our Head of Department says...

If you want to study politics from a non-western angle, this is the place to be. Most of our academics speak one or more of the languages in the regions they study; they spend substantial periods of time in their countries of expertise. This enables us to produce world-leading research. It also informs our teaching.

Together with our students, we explore politics in the rich and complex worlds of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. We also study the issues cutting across these regions and how they connect with other parts of the world. We show that politics—internationally and domestically—has many layers and many faces. We provide our students with the tools they need to understand the world around them. And, within that world, we encourage them to make a difference.

Facts and figures

5th in UK

QS World University Rankings 2023

17th worldwide

QS World University Rankings 2023

3rd worldwide

QS World University Rankings 2022 (Academic Reputation)