SOAS University of London

About SOAS

Applications and Information FAQS

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 study@soas.ac.uk

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 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 this year (but will have to pay it next year). Please email mastersadmissions@soas.ac.uk 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 International Baccalaureate (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.

Where A-Levels are concerned, the UK Government and awarding bodies have confirmed that students will be awarded a final grade in August that fairly reflects their work to date. This calculated grade process will take into account a range of evidence including non-exam assessment and mock results.For IB students, IB Certificates and Diplomas will be awarded to each student in July, based on coursework.

We can confirm that we will accept any grade awarded in these qualifications this year as normal. We will consider your grades when they are available and, providing you meet your offer conditions, your place will be secured.
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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. Most countries are working on solutions to ensure students can complete their school or university studies and receive a final grade.
US: AP exams are being postponed and held online. High School Diplomas will be awarded in a number of ways, dependent on the state. All SAT exams have been cancelled, but the College Board plans to run ‘make-up’ exams when the situation allows.
Hong Kong: The Hong Kong Examination and Assessment Authority (HKEAA) have announced amendments to the examination schedules and process. Information can be found at HKEAA.
India: Indian Board Exams will be postponed and rescheduled on a state by state basis. See the latest updates from the Central Board of Secondary Education.
Africa: In March, the West African Secondary School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) were suspended across Anglophone West Africa. The exams have now been rescheduled

We can confirm that we will accept any grade awarded in these qualifications this year as normal. We will consider your grades when they are available and, providing you meet your offer conditions, your place will be secured. This applies wherever you are studying in the world.
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.

Events 

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?

The Home Office has confirmed that international students can apply for a UK Visa for distance/ blended learning programmes for the 20/21 academic year, provided that you intend to transition to face to face learning as soon as circumstances allow (which for SOAS will be from January onwards).
This means you can come to London in September on a Tier 4 visa, or you can apply for your visa now but stay in your home country in Term 1 (studying online), then come to London in January to begin on-campus teaching for Term 2.

For more information the UK Government has produced a comprehensive document.

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. 


Will I be eligible for the Graduate Immigration Route?

As you may know, the UK Government has announced plans to introduce a new ‘Graduate Immigration Route’ which would allow international graduates of UK Universities to remain and work in the UK for up to two years after their degree, without the need for a ‘Work Visa’.

The recent announcement by the UK Government has confirmed that provided students are in the UK by 6 April 2021 and meet the rest of the requirements to be announced by the UK Government, they will be eligible to apply for the Graduate Immigration Route.

Brexit update for EU students 

Do I need a visa?

EU students who arrive in the UK before 31 December 2020 will not need to apply for a Tier 4 visa; those who arrive from January 1 will be classed as International students and will be required to apply for a visa in order to study in the UK under the new immigration system.

Am I eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme? Students who come to London before 31 December 2020 will be eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme for pre-settled status. This will allow students to retain the right to live, study and work in the UK for up to 5 years with the opportunity to apply for settled status, and permanent residence in the future. This option will not be available for students who come to the UK after 31 December 2020. What rate of Tuition Fees will I pay? EU Students who start an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in September 2020 will be guaranteed ‘Home/EU’ fees for the full duration of their degree.
EU Students who start an undergraduate or postgraduate degree from September 2021 onwards will be classified as ‘Overseas’ fees.
This means any EU students who choose to defer to September 2021, will be charged Overseas fees rather than Home/EU fees.
Can I apply for Student Finance funding? EU Students who begin their studies in September 2020 will be guaranteed access to Student Finance (UK government loans) for the duration of their degrees. Undergraduates can apply for a Tuition Fee Loan for each year of studies and potentially a maintenance loan (based on prior residence in the UK). Postgraduate taught students can apply for a Postgraduate Masters Loan and research students a Doctoral Loan to cover the full duration of their programme.
Unfortunately, September 2020 is the last year that EU students will be able to access UK Student Finance, so any EU students who defer to September 2021 will not be eligible to apply for any UK Government Student Loans.
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. 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. Read more here.

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.