SOAS University of London


Living in the UK (Living Expenses)

Living Expenses

When you arrive you will feel as if you have a lot of money with you. Please budget sensibly. You will need to think about paying for fees and accommodation, everyday living expenses from food to transport, notebooks to clothes.

How much will you spend day to day?

It is difficult to estimate accurately the cost of living since so much depends on your lifestyle. On the whole, university accommodation is cheapest. You will also find that SOAS and other colleges of the University offer subsidised cafes and bars where eating and drinking is more affordable.

The following is offered as a rough guide (per month).  Please note that there will be other areas/costs that we have not included. It is possible to live on less but the following will ensure a reasonable standard of living:

ExpensesCost GBP (£) per month
(in self-catered halls including bills other than laundry and telephone)
Telephone20-40 (depends on usage)
Travel (buses, trains within London)50-110
Books, supplies, stationery40-70
Personal expenses20-35 (inc toiletries)
Miscellaneous40-70 (entertainment)
TOTAL£1,000+ per month
Travel and Other Expenses

Most halls of residence, including the SOAS residences, are in easy walking distance of SOAS. SOAS is based in the central travel zone (Zone 1) where the minimum underground fare is around £2 using an Oystercard; a single bus fair is around £1.50 using an Oystercard.  If you are going to use public transport a lot then buying a student travelcard will help to reduce the costs. These passes allow for unlimited travel on the buses and tube.  For more detailed travel information and prices, please see the Transport for London website:


Students from a different climate may find it cheaper to buy warm clothing on arrival. Good quality, ready to wear clothes from a chain store cost, for example, £21-£36 for a warm sweater; £36-£78 for a raincoat; £62-£150 for an overcoat; women's practical shoes £26-£50 or boots £36-£100; men's shoes £36-£62. Buying clothes will be less expensive if you are prepared to purchase sale or reduced items from department stores.

Personal Expenses

Toiletries, household articles, stationery, stamps and local telephone calls, regular use of a launderette and occasional use of dry cleaners - average £25 per week.

Sport and Entertainment

A day pass to the university gym is £4.50 or membership costs £30 per month. Entrance to parks, museums and galleries is often free. Tickets to the cinema will cost about £5.00 to £12; for the theatre £12-£30; for a concert £16-£32; for the opera £10-£140. Student reductions are often available, just remember to show your student ID.