SOAS University of London

Study Abroad / Exchange Programme at SOAS

Study Abroad FAQs

Below are some of the answers to the most common queries that we receive about the Study Abroad programme. If you have any further questions please email if you are an applicant, or if you have been offered a place.


I don’t meet the academic entry requirements – will you still consider my application? 

Yes, we will still consider your application. The academic requirement (for example current GPA or current overall grade) is only one part of our assessment and we would encourage anyone who is interested in the programme to apply. We do not ask for a personal statement but if you wish to submit one, or if there are any extenuating circumstances which have affected your grades, then we will take these into consideration.

I don’t qualify for the Study Abroad programme, are there any other ways to study at SOAS?  

SOAS also has short term academic English programmes and academic summer schools in a variety of disciplines.

The Application Process 

When can I expect a response to my application?

We aim to respond to students within one month of receiving a complete application. 

Can I apply early?

Yes. If, for example, you will be studying abroad during the time when applications are being made or it will be difficult to contact you, we can process your application early. However, please make sure that you state clearly on your application when you wish to study at SOAS.

Where is my SOAS student reference number?

Your SOAS student reference number is at the top of your offer letter. It is 6 digits long.

Visas and immigration

Do I need to apply for a visa to come to London?

Unless you hold a UK immigration permission that allows study, you’ll need to obtain a Student visa or Standard Visitor visa to enrol and study at SOAS. The Standard Visitor visa can only be used when you’ll study at SOAS for less than 6 months. If applying for a Student visa, you will need a Confirmation of Acceptable for Studies (CAS) from SOAS.

Where should I apply for my visa?

If you’ll apply for a Student visa, you must successfully apply in your country of residence before travelling to the UK. If you’ll apply for a Standard Visitor visa, you must successfully apply before travelling to the UK if you’re a visa national. Some nationalities can request their Standard Visitor visa at the UK border on arrival or pass through eGates. If you can pass through eGates, you will automatically have Standard Visitor permission for 6 months from the date you arrive in the UK. Please refer to GOV.UK for further information and remember to keep your boarding pass as you may need this to enrol. UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) also offer excellent guidance on applying for visas and living in the UK on their website.

When will my visa start and end?

This depends on your visa type, where you applied and the length of your course:

Student visa:

Course Duration Visa Start Date Visa Expiry Date
Less than 6 months 7 days before course start date 7 days after course end date
Month than 6 months but less than 12 months 30 days before course start date or 7 days before intended travel date 2 months after course end date 

Standard Visitor visa:

If you applied for your visa before travelling to the UK, it should be valid for a total of 6 months starting a maximum of 7 days before your course start date. If you’re eligible to request a Standard Visitor visa stamp from a Border Force Officer on arrival, you’ll be given 6 months permission from your arrival date. If you’re a non-visa national who can use eGates, your 6-month permission begins on the day you pass through eGates.
Can I work when I am in London?

Students who hold a valid Student visa can work up to 20 hours per week during term time, and there’s no restriction during university holidays. Both paid and unpaid work, including internships count towards the 20-hour restriction. If you have a Standard Visitor visa, you cannot work or do internships. For further information please contact SOAS Advice Service (

Arriving in London

Will you meet me at the airport?

Unfortunately the Study Abroad staff cannot meet students at the airport, but we will provide you with comprehensive information about travelling to your accommodation from the London airports before your departure. 

When can I check in?

This will depend on the accommodation provider, but usually you will be sent this information in advance.  Most receptions will be open 24 hours.

What do I need to bring with me to check in to my accommodation?

For check in you will need to bring some form of ID with you, such as a passport, and a copy of your offer letter/e-mail or payment receipt (don't forget that you have to pay your first housing instalment before you can check in).

What if I’m delayed?

If you are arriving outside this time you should contact the accommodation provider and let them know that you will be arriving late so that they can arrange for your keys to be left with the night porter or evening security. 

Costs and fees 

How much does it cost to Study Abroad at SOAS?

Tuition fees are listed on the fees and expenses pages. 

How do I pay my tuition fees?

For information about how you can pay your fees, please visit the tuition fees section. 

Can I pay my tuition fees in instalments?

No. All tuition fees must be paid in full before enrolment.

Can I open a bank account in the UK?

Yes. You should be eligible for a “basic bank account” with many different banks. You normally need to be physically present in the UK to open a UK bank account. You’ll need to check directly with the bank which documents are required as these vary. 

You may wish to consider an international bank account from a UK online bank such as Starling, Monzo, Atom, Revolut and Curve. The advantages: these accounts can be setup from your phone/laptop and require little or no documents to open. To compare different accounts please see this Money Supermarket comparison guide. Please read all the details before opening a bank account.

Important dates

What are the term dates?

Term dates for next year are available on our how to apply page.

When will I find out the dates of my exams?

The exam timetable is usually published at the end of Term 2, which is usually around the end of March.

When should I plan to arrive in London? 

You should plan to arrive in London at least one day before orientation. Orientation is compulsory for all Study Abroad Students because there is a lot of very important information that you will need, but it’s also a great way to meet other Study Abroad students.

The Academic Programme

Where can I find module descriptions?

All of the module descriptions are detailed in the module lists.  

How do I know which level of language class I should take?

Unless you are beginning a language from scratch, you will take a short placement test. This usually involves a conversation in the foreign language and, in some cases, a short written test. This test is not a formal examination. It is just to make sure that you are placed in a class which will challenge you, without being overwhelming. 


How do I apply for accommodation?

Once you have accepted your offer to Study Abroad, you will be asked to complete an interest form stating your preference on which type of accommodation you would like. This form goes to our Accommodation Manager who will nominate you to the accommodation provider. Students are nominated on a first come, first serve basis, so we encourage you to apply as early as possible. Once you have been nominated the provider will email you to offer a room. 

How do I accept an offer of accommodation?

You can accept an offer of accommodation and pay your deposit online. A booking fee is required to reserve a place in most student accommodation. The booking fee is payable online and most debit and credit cards are accepted. Receipt of payment and confirmation of your acceptance will automatically be sent to you by email.

Can I pay in instalments?

This will depend on the provider - please check with them in advance.

When can I move in to my accommodation?

Usually students move into accommodation 1-2 days before the beginning of term. If you are arriving in September it is usually possible to move in earlier than this if you need to, at an additional cost. The exact dates will be on your tenancy agreement.

I have a question about accommodation, who is best to contact? 

If your query is regarding your accommodation nomination or which type of accommodation is best for you, please email to speak to the Accommodation Manager. If you have a question about the contract, payment, or during your stay, please contact your accommodation provider. 

Do I need to take out insurance to cover my possessions?

A basic insurance policy is included in the rent, however you are recommended to get your own insurance to cover your time in London.

Back to top