SOAS University of London

Why Choose SOAS?

Explore Cultural Understanding

SOAS Campaign - Cultural Understanding

To engage with the present you need to understand the past.  Our students are taught by researchers with profound knowledge of the civilisations of our regions, their languages, arts, ancient and recent histories.

You could:

  • learn how multinational companies operate in a rapidly changing business environment

through our BA International Management (Middle East and North Africa) programme. You will gain a strong grounding in international management, specialist knowledge of business and management in the cultural context of the Middle East and North Africa and competence in a Middle Eastern language.

  • develop a deep understanding the history of Africa and Asia

with our BA History, which approaches historical subject matter, interpretation and methodology with different eyes, for example through the history of religion and culture

  • study a wider range of religious traditions and in more depth than anywhere else in the world

through our BA Study of Religions. Explore major and local religious cultures of Asia and Africa using a combination of historical, anthropological, philosophical, sociological and textual approaches

  • access the world’s largest concentration of scholars of African languages and cultures of sub-Saharan Africa

through our BA African Language and Culture.  As well as developing robust language skills in Hausa or Swahili, your course options include philosophy and culture, oral and written literature, drama and film, linguistics and other related languages. Students of Swahili also experience life and work in East Africa

  • study the country which the whole world is watching

in our BA Chinese Studies. Develop your established Chinese language skills while exploring multiple facets of this extraordinary nation, led by SOAS experts in SOAS history, anthropology, politics, law, art and archaeology, religion and music

  • learn a South East Asian language in order to explore the region’s culture

With our BA South East Asian Studies programme. Study Burmese, Indonesian, Thai or Vietnamese alongside culture, literature and cinema with options to gain knowledge of South East Asian history, politics, economics, linguistics, religious studies, music, art and archaeology, anthropology and others.

Explore other courses at SOAS. Find out more about undergraduate degrees and the joint degree options available or order a Prospectus.

Meet the world at SOAS

Join us on an Undergraduate Open Day or Postgraduate Open Evening to find out more

See the world more clearly

SOAS is distinctively positioned to analyse, understand and explain our world of shrinking borders and of economic and technological simultaneity. Our unique campus environment is fuelled by our cosmopolitan community. Studying alongside students from 133 different countries gives you a first-hand insight into different cultures. SOAS also has one of the most diverse staff bodies in the world, ranked first in the UK in a UCU report earlier this year.

SOAS academics also brought cultural understanding to the heart of London this year as they played a significant role in shaping the Asian Arts London scene. ‘Shunga: sex and pleasure in Japanese art’, at The British Museum; the V&A’s ‘Masterpieces of Chinese Painting, 700-1900’  and The Brunei Gallery's exhibition on‘The Everlasting Flame: Zoroastrianism in History and Imagination’  all drew from SOAS expertise and are events and resources from which students can explore and benefit.

Fire temple close up
The walk-in fire temple consisting of a prayer room, inner sanctum and ritual precinct on display at The Everlasting Flame: Zoroastrianism in History and Imagination
SOAS was the first UK higher education institution to mark the beginnings of the contemporary academic field of African history in the UK. A major figure in the development of the study of Africa was Professor Roland Oliver, who through his studies realised there was no academic study of African history, only the study of Europeans in Africa. He became a lecturer in the tribal history of East Africa at SOAS.
The Africa Department, 1948
The SOAS Africa Department, 1948

Preparing you for a global future

Discover what some of our alumni have achieved since graduating from SOAS. 

Lana Nusseibeh is the first female Permanent Representative of United Arab Emirates to UN, she graduated in 2003 with Distinction in the MA Israeli and Jewish Diaspora Studies.

Robtel Neajai Pailey a doctoral student at SOAS, University of London has been recognised in the 2013 “99 Under 33” - an international list of the most influential foreign policy leaders under the age of 33.

*Image by Leena Alblooshi, MA Human Rights Law