SOAS University of London

Centre for Development, Environment and Policy (CeDEP)

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any questions about your studies, you can contact at any time. However, we have collated a number of questions that we are often asked. Take a look and see if your query has already been answered.


I have submitted my enrolment form but have heard nothing since. What is the status of my enrolment?

During enrolment periods we receive a very large number of enrolment forms and it can take some time for all of these to be processed. We will send a confirmation email to you once your enrolment has been successfully processed. If there is a problem with your enrolment, we will contact you by email. If, after 10 working days from the submission of your form, you have still not received an email, you should contact us to check on the status of your enrolment.

I have successfully enrolled. When should I expect to receive my module materials and VLE login details?

Module study packs are sent out via DHL during the two months running up to the start of the study period. You will be sent an advisory email by DHL to inform you that your materials are on their way. This email will include the Air Waybill number of your package, which you can use to track the shipment. Fr new students, your VLE login details will be emailed to you approximately three days before the start of the study period.



Can I get a refund if I no longer want to study the module?

Module fees are fully refundable up to the point that you receive the learning materials for that module. After receipt of the materials, if a cancelation request is made within two weeks, the module fees can be refunded less a charge to cover the costs of materials and administration. If the cancelation request is made more than two weeks after the receipt of the learning materials, all fees paid are non-refundable.

I require an invoice or my bank will not allow me to transfer money out of the country. How can I get one?

Contact to request a statement of your fees due.



How long should I spend studying each module per week?

For the 2014 study year onwards, students starting February should allow around 5-6 hours per week for each module and for students who starting May, 10-12 hours per module, per week is advised.

How many modules should I take per study year?

This depends on how quickly you wish to complete your programme. If you are taking an MSc and wish to complete in three years, you should try to complete three modules per year, usually starting with core modules. If you are happy to complete in four years, then you can study two modules per year in most of these years. We strongly recommend that students who are planning to complete an MSc aim to complete at least two modules in their first year, so as to generate some momentum for the remainder of their studies. (Note that this guidance refers primarily to students who register for a February start. Students who register to start in May may wish to take one module in their first study session, then increase thereafter).

Students wishing to complete an MSc in two years will need to register for four or five modules in their first year, including all their core modules and Research Methods. Students wishing to do this should satisfy their academic programme convenor that their personal circumstances will allow sufficient study time for this on a weekly basis (e.g. those students not in employment or in part-time employment). Please contact your programme convenor by email.

More information on this topic can be found under Study Time Requirements and under the Teaching and Learning tab of the MSc page of the study programme that you are interested in.

When can I access the virtual learning environment?

Access is made available at the start of the study year in February or if you are a new student starting in May, at the beginning of the study period.

What do I need an Athens username and password for and how do I get this?

You will need an Athens username and password to access the selection of electronic journals available through the University of London Online Library. To obtain your unique Athens username and password, you will first need to register with the University of London Online Library. A link to the library website can also be found on the VLE. Once you have registered, your Athens username and password will be sent to you via email.

I am currently in London. Can I use the SOAS library?

We can provide you with a form, which you need to take with you to the SOAS library to prove your eligibility. Having submitted the form, you will be given an annual library membership (including full borrowing privileges). With this membership you will also be able to apply for borrowing rights at over 170 academic libraries throughout the UK and Ireland through the SCONUL Access scheme.

My circumstances have changed. Can I defer my module?

We understand that situations can arise that mean it is difficult for you to continue to devote sufficient time to your studies. You can defer your studies on a module at any point up until the examination date. If you wish to defer a module on which you are enrolled, you should contact

Can I change programmes and will the modules I have already taken count towards my new programme?

Students may request to transfer their registration to a different programme by completing an Upgrade or IPA Transfer form. Permission to transfer a student’s registration is granted at the discretion of the Programme Convenor. Only modules completed that are part of the new programme can be used as credit towards the award of this qualification.


Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)

I have sent a message to my module tutor through the VLE, but have not received a response. How can I contact my tutor?

Our module tutors should respond to academic queries submitted through the VLE within three working days. If you have not received a response within this time period, please notify



Why is there only one exam period per year?

The cost of running more than one examination period each year is prohibitively high. If we were to run a second exam period, the cost of each module would need to increase by at least £300. We want our modules to be affordable to as many people as possible, so we try to keep our costs down. As a result, we only have one exam period held during October each year.

Can I have some past exam papers / model answers?

Past exam papers are available to students on the VLE. However, please note that model answers are not available. Also, a Specimen Exam paper is included in the Introduction unit of each module. Whilst the actual questions set in the exam will be different from those on the Specimen Exam paper, these do provide a valuable guide as to the structure of the exam and format of the questions that you can expect.



I have just applied for a job/PhD and they require references. Am I able to ask a tutor or Programme Convenor to provide me with a reference?

As a current student or graduate, we can provide you with a letter of academic reference. This letter, signed by the Programme Convenor, will outline the programme that you studied and your academic performance across the modules.