SOAS University of London

About SOAS

Support and information for future students

Joining us in September? Here’s what you can expect... 

We understand that students are concerned about starting university in September given the uncertainties surrounding Covid-19, and are keen to have the information that will help you make a decision.

We want to reassure you that your safety is our highest priority and that SOAS is committed to ensuring the least amount of disruption to those of you joining us for the 2020/2021 academic year. 

If you have any questions regarding the application and offer process or anything else, take a look at our frequently asked questions page.

Our aim: We want to deliver - no matter what the situation - a positive and rewarding student experience, facilitating excellent learning and engagement, student support, and wellbeing. From September, we will provide a blended learning experience that incorporates online learning with access to our campus and virtual social network.

On campus, we will ensure we follow regulations on social distancing and health and safety measures so our students and our staff community can work and study safely. This blended learning experience means that all our students around the world - from Mumbai to Manchester - can start their SOAS journey with us in September.

What will Term 1 look like?

All lectures and seminars will be delivered online in Term 1 combined with on-campus appointments with academics and student support. We aim to offer small group face-to-face academic activities on campus in Term 1, and hope to transition to more on-campus teaching from Term 2 in January 2021 (but this will depend on health and safety guidance at that time)  If government guidelines are relaxed during Term 1, we will aim to be as flexible as possible in adapting to those new guidelines and, where possible, expanding student contact on the campus. SOAS is very well prepared to deliver online teaching with 20 years’ experience running distance learning programmes. We are successfully delivering remote access to all our services already.

Engaging and interactive, our online teaching will include:

  • Online lectures and seminars with interactive Q&A sessions
  • Reading materials
  • Discussion forums
  • Podcasts
  • Video seminars
  • PowerPoints with voiceover
  • 1-1 academic appointments (online and on campus)

Campus will be open with social distancing measures in place, ensuring we offer an environment that complies with all aspects of public health and advice to enable students access to our facilities:

  • SOAS Library
  • Study spaces with WiFi
  • Printers and scanners
  • Careers, Student Advice and Wellbeing, and support and guidance on fees and funding, with some on-campus appointments and a range of online appointments available.
  • In-person appointments with academics
  • Support towards necessary equipment such as laptops for eligible students through our Hardship Fund

Halls of Residence will be open:

  • Students will be in private rooms with shared kitchens
  • We understand that our Accommodation providers will follow the latest guidance on social distancing
  • Halls are open to all students - not just first years
  • Most of our halls are within walking distance of campus

For students who choose to stay at home in Term 1 and study remotely, all of our professional services - Careers, Health and Wellbeing, Financial support - will be available online to arrange 1-to-1 appointments and group workshops. 

We have a large amount of e-resources available to SOAS students which are always available to access remotely. 

Social life

Our Students’ Union (SU) has worked hard to create a virtual Students’ Union space on Facebook called the SOAS Quarantine Qrew for the SU, societies and other SOAS groups to hold events, run campaigns, discuss life in quarantine and provide each other with useful resources. The group aims to keep students active and engaged with SOAS from afar. The SU are putting on daily events and activities which are getting great engagement.

We know that the London experience will be very important for many of you, while others may prefer to study from home in Term 1. That is why we are giving all students a choice for September: you can come to London and have access to the campus facilities and accommodation while studying online, or you can study in Term 1 fully online, then join us in London in January. We want you to enjoy your time with us, despite the limitations imposed by Covid-19.

Our university layout and infrastructure will operate in line with the most up to date Public Health England advice and social distancing measures and be incorporated in all our areas of operation. As London begins to reopen over the summer, the attractions that London life has to offer will become more available once more. Shops are opening from 15 June and the mayor has announced that large areas of the city will be car-free to allow people to walk and cycle safely.


Public health guidance is constantly evolving, and one of the latest possibilities is the idea of linking households in ‘social bubbles’. Under these arrangements, students would be able to choose a small number of friends to mix with, but would be under strict orders not to mix with anybody else. This would allow SOAS students to socialise together more easily, particularly those staying in Halls of Residence. We know that the social aspect of university life is a hugely important part of your experience, so as and when we learn more about this, we will share the latest guidance with you.

How does online teaching work?

Students will be engaging with academics in two different formats: lectures (larger groups) and seminars (smaller, more interactive groups). If you’d like to get an idea of what online teaching is like, join in one of our live June Masterclasses. Taught by SOAS academics, these are tasters of what a real online seminar at SOAS would be like. Our Masterclasses cover a range of topics -- you are welcome to join as many as you like, including those not relating to your chosen programme. These are a great way to learn something new, meet SOAS lecturers and experience online teaching before September.

Register for our June Masterclasses.

If you have any questions regarding the application and offer process or anything else, take alook at our frequently asked questions page. If you have further questions, please contact