SOAS University of London

Approaches to teaching and learning at SOAS

Plans for 2022-23 academic year

From this autumn, all seminars and tutorials will be taught in-person on campus. Lectures will be offered across a variety of delivery modes - in person for some modules, and hybrid or on-demand content for others. This means you will have variety in how you engage with your learning at SOAS, which will suit different preferences to learning. 

Associate Director for Student Experience and Outcomes Ilana Webster-Kogen and SOAS Students Union Co-President of Democracy and Education Lucia Rodriguez Pedroso explain how staff and students have come together with a new teaching strategy and how it will benefit you.

All degree courses at SOAS, whatever the subject, encourage the development of independent, critical thought and offer the opportunity to apply what is learnt in a variety of ways and situations. Study methods include the formal lecture, which sets out the main themes, issues and critiques of the topic, normally supported with a reading list for other course material. This provides the framework for more detailed exploration and analysis which takes place in seminars and tutorials. These offer the opportunity for small groups of students and a teacher to discuss the issues and to share ideas.

Language students work in classrooms and in the language laboratories with ample opportunity for practical work. Private study, either in the library or own your own, will play an important part in your learning experience at university. In this way you will become familiar with the research and problem solving skills which are essential in many careers. Other forms of learning are likely to include essay and or report writing, presentations in seminars, computer-aided learning, and studying abroad (for most language students).


On undergraduate programmes, work is assessed through a combination of unseen examination and coursework. The coursework may take the form of an essay, project or a presentation. The ratio of exam:coursework varies from course to course and you area advised to consult the web pages relating to your course of interest for further details.

A typical first year time-table

A typical student doing a BA in Economics and History may take the following mixture of core and optional units:

  • Introduction to Economic Analysis (core) 3 hours per week;
  • Comparative Economic Growth (option) 3 hours per week;
  • Approaches to History (core) 2 hours per week;
  • History of Africa since 1830 (option) 2 hours per week.

The student may take advantage of the study skills sessions so will attend 3 classes over the year each consisting of 2 hours. In addition to the class contact time, the student will need to devote a minimum of 20-25 hours per week private study time.