SOAS University of London

About SOAS

Support and information for future students

Coronavirus Advice and Information

We understand how concerning the current situation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic is to our applicants, offer holders, parents and teachers.

Please be reassured that the health and wellbeing of our students is our absolute priority and we are working hard on finding solutions to areas of concern for prospective students and offer holders, following the best advice from Universities UK, Public Health England and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

We've prepared the following frequently asked questions.  If you have further questions, please contact

Information for future students 

Applications and Offers 

Is SOAS still accepting applications?

YES.  The admissions deadline is 30 June for undergraduates (via UCAS) and 31 July for postgraduates (via the course webpages). Our Admissions Team is currently working from home and applications are being processed as quickly as possible, but we are asking applicants to be as patient as possible as response times may be slightly longer than normal.

What do I do if I cannot get my supporting documents (transcripts, references) due to school closed/exams cancelled/Covid-19?

We are aware that delays may be unavoidable for you in gathering the information needed to support your application and we can make offers based on ‘results to date’.  We aim to be as flexible as possible, so if you need additional time please just let the Admissions Team know so that we are aware that there will be a delay.

Can conditional offers be issued without official transcripts/certificates?

YES.  We can make offers with transcripts ‘to date’ but please note that conditions will need to be met before a confirmation of acceptance of studies number can be issued.  Please contact the Admissions Team for further advice.

Can I defer my offer?

YES.  For most programmes, SOAS will allow a one-year deferral for offers and applications.  If you wish to defer, please contact the Admissions Team to let them know of your intention.

Fees and Funding 

Will my application to the UK Student Loans Company be affected by the outbreak?

NO.  UK and EU applicants to courses starting in September 2020 can apply for student finance online as normal.

Do I still need to pay the postgraduate deposit?

YES. Students starting in September 2020 will need to pay the deposit. However, we understand many students are facing uncertainty in the current climate, and so we have extended the deadline to pay the deposit by one month to 31 July.  If a student is unable to start the programme in September due to Covid-19 issues, the deposit will be refundable.

NO. Students who wish to defer to September 2021 may now do so without paying the deposit. Please email to let them know you would like to defer

Are postgraduate deposits refundable?

YES.  Due to the exceptional circumstances, all deposits will be refundable or deferrable for applicants who are unable to take up their place for reasons relating to the coronavirus outbreak.

Will scholarships still be available if teaching moves online?

YES.  We will offer the UG SOAS Academic Excellence Scholarship and PG International Scholarships.

Exams and School Closures 
My school is closed / I am unable to take exams.

We are aware that school closures in the UK and in many other countries, and the cancellation of examinations––including A-Levels and the IB––is causing anxiety to many of our applicants and offer holders.  We are working on ways to give our applicants and offer holders as much certainty as possible as the situation evolves.  There is a national structure for undergraduate admissions in the UK and we continue to monitor the advice from UCAS, the Government and exam boards, to ensure that we are working in the best interest of our applicants and offer holders.

I’m an international student and my exams have been delayed or cancelled - what should I do?

We are aware that changes have been made to some exams and results outside the UK.  If you are concerned about delays or cancelled exams or qualifications, please contact our Admissions Team.

My teaching and learning have been disrupted – I’m worried about how this will affect my results?

We are aware that education systems in the UK and around the world have been disrupted and we are monitoring the situation.  We aim to be as flexible as we can where applicants are unable to meet the conditions of their offers.  Government officials, awarding bodies, UCAS and universities are working together to ensure that students can progress to higher education as planned.  We expect that grades will be awarded over the summer for a range of different qualifications used to apply to university.

What about independent/home schooled UK students?

Universities are currently awaiting further information from the UK government and awarding organisations regarding the awarding of qualifications.  The DfE in England as stated that they are working closely with the independent regulator of qualifications, Ofqual, to explore options for awarding grades to private/independent candidates, including home-schooled students. UCAS have published the following guidance for independent candidate/home-schooled applicants.

What is SOAS doing to ensure prospective students are not unduly disadvantaged due to the pandemic?

SOAS access team is hosting a varied programme of engaging talks, workshops, courses and summer schools over the next few months. These programmes are being designed to help prospective students experience an exciting new way to engage with SOAS, and includes direct input from our amazing academics and current students. Find out more information.


What is happening about on campus events?

SOAS continues to hold a wide range of events and activities for students, but all of these events have currently moved online.  These include: Virtual Open Days; Webinars; and Offer Holder Chat Rooms.  A full list of events can be found on the SOAS website.

English Language and PSE 

What if I am unable to take an IELTS because my centre is closed?

We understand that the coronavirus has had an impact on the ability of students from many regions to take the IELTS, TOEFL and PTE Academic test, as test centres have been closed. We therefore will be accepting the Duolingo, LanguageCert, and TOEFL IBT At Home online tests from all International and European applicants for the September 2020 intake. Find out more about online English tests.

Will you still be delivering Pre-sessional English courses this summer?

YES.  We are running 4-week and 8-week Pre-sessional English courses online.  You can join the course from your home country and you will not need a visa for the online course if you are studying from your home country.

Visa and Immigration 

I was about to apply for a Tier 4 visa to study at the University, what happens now?

New international students who have been issued a Tier 4 visa but have been unable to travel to the UK to start their course are permitted to undertake distance learning and sponsorship does not need to be withdrawn.  Academic departments will be in contact with guidance on how to start your learning remotely.  New international Students who have not yet applied for a visa but wish to commence a course by distance learning do not need to travel to the UK to do so and therefore do not require sponsorship under Tier 4.

I need to apply for a visa to come to the UK but my nearest visa application centre is closed. 

Please check for updates on when visa offices in your country are expected to reopen.  Remember, students can only apply for a visa three months before their official course start date, so for September 2020 that would be mid-June at the earliest. However, if teaching remains online in September, students will not need to travel to the UK and therefore a Tier 4 visa is not required; a visa is only required to enter the UK.

September 2020

Will the new academic year start in September as planned, or will it be delayed?

We are planning to begin the 2020-21 academic year in September at the usual time but, depending on Government advice, teaching may combine on campus, online and blended learning.  SOAS is very well prepared for online teaching with 20 years’ experience of distance learning programmes, and offers platforms that include student/teacher interactions, student/student interactions, lively discussions, and full student support.

Will there be a January intake of students?

No, we will only have a September intake for the 2020/21 academic year.

How is SOAS responding to the challenges of COVID-19? 

During this unprecedented time, SOAS is committed to supporting our community and sharing our expertise, skills and knowledge to make sense of what’s happening on a global scale and contribute towards the response.

With our specialist, global expertise, our academics are helping to inform and shape current understanding about economic, political, cultural, security and religious challenges in light of the pandemic. 

Read our experts comments and responses to the latest coronavirus developments globally.

Information for Current Students 

Current students can keep up-to-date with all the latest advice and information on the intranet at MYSOAS for students – COVID-19 advice and guidance.