SOAS University of London


Applying for Taught Masters Programmes

If this does not answer your query, then please e-mail the Taught Masters Admissions team:, clearly indicating that you have read the Frequently Asked Questions in the Subject 

  • Am I eligible to study at SOAS?

    It is not always possible to give you any firm indication as to whether your qualifications and grades make you eligible to study at SOAS. We normally suggest that you submit an application for consideration, sending all the appropriate supporting documents. Admissions tutors take into account academic qualifications, relevant work experience, academic recommendations, professional references and your personal statement. 

    You can also email the relevant programme Convenors to find out if your current academic/work experience makes you eligible to apply. Visit the Department list to find the name of the person you need to email.

  • Is there an application deadline?

    We recommend you submit your application and all supporting documentation by the 30th of June . This is to ensure you get a reply in time for September entry. However, it is advisable to apply much earlier, especially if you are applying for scholarships and need a decision on whether or not you have a place to study at SOAS.  

    Overseas students who must apply for a Tier-4 student visa should also consider applying as early as possible. Students will need an unconditional offer before they can be issued with a CAS . Visa procedures can be subject to delays and all students are expected to enrol as per the programme start date in the offer letter.

  • Do I have to pay a fee when I submit my application?

    There is currently no application fee to apply to study at SOAS.

  • I want to apply to study at SOAS. How do I proceed and what documentation is required? Do you need original documentation?

    In order to apply for a taught Masters programme, the Graduate Diploma in Economics and most Certificate programmes you will need to submit an application via the online application system

    We can not process incomplete applications so please ensure to include:

    • A supporting personal statement (no more than 1000 words recommended)
    • Full academic transcripts (current transcripts if you have not yet graduated)
    • Degree certificate (if you have graduated)
    • Evidence of English language Proficiency if English is not your first language
    • Two academic references

    If your transcript or degree certificate is not in English you are required to provide the original transcript and degree certificate, as well as a copy of the same translated into English and authenticated by a legal translator or the awarding institution.  Please note that self-translated documents are not acceptable.

    Only scans of original documents will be accepted.  We do not accept black and white scanned photocopies. 

    You do not have to provide the hard copies of original documentation but we might request certified hard copies before making an offer.  The documentation must be certified by the University Registry office / British Council with a stamp and signature confirming their authenticity.  

    You are encouraged to read the notes on the application form itself before completing the online application.

  • How long will it take to process my application?

    We aim to assess a complete application and provide a decision within a 5 week time frame. Overseas students who require a Tier 4 visa and wish to join SOAS should bear in mind visa applications can take several weeks, so you should apply as soon as possible.

  • How many Taught Masters programmes can I apply for per academic year?

    You can only submit one application at a time. You will have the option of selecting a first and second choice of taught masters programme. You will be initially considered for your first choice. Your second choice will only be considered if you are not successful for your first choice of programme or you request us to do so. In certain cases, the admissions tutors may offer you a place on a programme other than the one you have selected because they feel that the course will be better suited to your academic background and interests.

  • I have missed the recommended application deadline. Can I still apply?

    The recommended deadline to submit your application is June the 30th. This will allow for sufficient time to assess your application and get back to you before the enrolment period in September. Applications submitted after that date may be considered but there is no guarantee that a decision can be given in time for enrolment.  

    Many academics and members of staff are on leave throughout the summer and the decision making process can take longer.

    You will also need to consider being able to fully meet both Academic entry and English Language requirements (if relevant) before the start of the programme and bear in mind that the following programmes have an early start date: MSc Economics, Finance, Finance & Financial Law, MSc Research for International Development and all MA Law programmes (not LLM).

    Finally, Non EEA students who need to apply for a tier-4 student visa should not underestimate the time it can take for a visa application to be processed.  Submitting a late application to study at SOAS means that a decision may not be ready in time to apply for a visa and could cause delays in arriving here by the start the programme.

  • How can I submit my references?
    • Enter your referee's email address in the relevant section of the online application form.                 
    • Confirm whether you want your referees to submit their references online or by post.  
      • If you select the online option,  your referees will be automatically contacted and will be invited to submit their recommendations online.
      • If you do not select the online option,  your referees will have to send their recommendations directly to us either via email or to the postal address below.

    References sent from a Hotmail/Gmail/Yahoo or similar free-use accounts may not be acceptable. References sent via free-use accounts will need to be on letter headed paper, dated and signed. We may ask to see hard copies of these before assessing your application.

    Emailed references must be sent directly by the referee to  clearly stating your name, the programme applied for and their full contact details. References must sent from the referee's university / work email address.  

    All references submitted by post must be on letter headed paper, signed and dated as well as being submitted in a signed, sealed envelope.       

    We do not accept references sent directly by applicants.

    Postal Address:

    Masters Admissions SOAS, Taught Masters Admissions, Room 130, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG

  • How many references are required and what information needs to be included?

    We ask for 2 academic references. 

    Your reference should include an opinion (in English) on your academic and personal suitability for the proposed programme of study.

    If you are applying for any MSc Economics programme it is particularly important for the referee to comment on your grasp of basic mathematical and statistical concepts, and microeconomic and macroeconomic concepts.

    Furthermore it would be helpful if the reference could discuss:

    • ability to pursue your own initiatives
    • ability to work alone for short periods
    • ability to synthesise material from different sources
    • originality in interpretation
    • fluency in articulating an argument
    • discipline in submitting written work on time
    • ability to co-operate in the life and work of the academic community.
    • If there is a first degree examination outstanding, some indication of the class of degree you expect to obtain.
  • I have graduated more than 3 years ago and having difficulties locating my academic tutors. What do I do?

    If you have graduated more than 3 years ago you can submit one academic reference and one professional. If you have graduated more than 5 years ago, we can consider two professional references as long as they are relevant to the course you are applying for.

  • How long should my personal statement be?

    Your personal statement should be no more than a 1000 words. It should include the reasons why you are interested in the programme you have chosen and highlight your relevant experience/suitability for the programme as well as mention any future plans.

  • Do you need my GRE scores?

    We do not require GRE scores to assess applications. 

  • I am requested to submit a certified copy of my transcript and/or certificate. Where can I obtain this?

    Please do not send original certificates and diplomas in the post as we can accept certified copies and original scans of certified documents emailed to us prior to enrolment. 

    Certification can be obtained from the Registrar Office of the awarding university or the British Council. 

    We cannot accept documents certified:

    • by Public Notary
    • by Academic Tutors
    • by the applicant  

    We may ask you to submit the HARD certified copies issued with the original stamp before you can enrol. 

  • When is the starting /end date for Masters programmes?

    All taught Masters programmes, regardless of the mode of study, start in mid-September. There are no provisions to start in January. All full time MA programmes end on the 30th of September the following year (or following 2/3/4 years if part time), once the dissertation has been submitted. MA Results are available in December.

    Applicants for MA Law programmes, MSc Economics programmes, Graduate Diploma in Economics, MSc Research for International Development, MSc Finance and MSc Finance and Financial Law programmes will be required to register at an earlier date in September as each of those programmes includes a compulsory preliminary course.  Further details about the preliminary course will be included with the offer letter.