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.

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. 

Meet the academics

Our Head of Department says...

If you want to study (international) politics from a non-Western angle, this is the place to be! Our Department is home to an incredibly diverse group of scholars. Most of our academics speak one or more of the languages of the regions they study and have spent substantial periods of time in the countries of their expertise. This enables us to produce world-leading research, and it informs our teaching. Together with our students we explore politics in the rich and complex worlds of Asia, Africa and the Middle East, the issues cutting across these regions and how they connect with other parts of the world. We show that (international) politics has many layers, many faces, and the knowledge we share is critical, theoretical and hands-on. As such, we not only provide our students with the tools to understand the world, we hopefully also inspire them to make a difference.

Facts and figures

5th in UK

QS World University Rankings 2022

3rd in world

QS World University Rankings 2022 (Academic Reputation)

Our research

The Department of Politics and International Studies is one of the leading research-driven centres in the UK. It is unique in its regional coverage in the UK and beyond, and is respected for its combination of in-depth knowledge of Asia, Africa and the Middle East with a consciously critical research approach.  The research work of the Department is recognised for its innovative research methods and cutting-edge theoretical contributions.

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