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 can't find the answer to your question here, email us at


The application process

Visas and immigration

Arriving in London

Costs and fees

Important dates

The academic programme


Other queries


I’m not studying at a U.S. university – can I still apply?

Yes. It is possible for students from all over the world to apply to study abroad at SOAS. If there is an exchange agreement between your university and SOAS, you may apply through this link. Your university will provide you with the information about how to do this.

I’m not a U.S. citizen – can I still apply? 

Yes! Your nationality has no relevance to your application.

I’m not in my junior year – can I still apply?  

Yes, students in any year can apply, provided you have the permission of your home institution to study abroad.

I’m a postgraduate student – can I apply?  

Yes. The Study Abroad programme can accommodate postgraduate students yes, although applicants must be studying a postgraduate degree at another institution and meet the entry requirements for the Masters programmes at SOAS. Please contact for further details.

Undergraduate students are not permitted to take postgraduate level courses at SOAS, even if they are in their final year of undergraduate study.

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, which may interest you.

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The application process 

When is the deadline for making an application to the Study Abroad programme?

The deadlines are as follows:

  • Full Year (September-June) – 30 June
  • Term 1 Only (September-December) - 30 June
  • Terms 2 and 3 Only (January-June) – 31 October
When can I expect a response to my application?

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

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 abroad.

Who can write my academic references

Along with your application form you should submit one academic reference. This should be written by a professor who knows you well, but it does not have to be a professor who is teaching courses related to your studies at SOAS or your major.

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Visas and immigration

Am I entitled to work when I am in London?

Yes, you are entitled to work provided that you obtain the proper entry clearance before you arrive in the U.K. Full-time international students on the correct visa are entitled to work for up to 20 hours during term time, and full time during university holidays. For further information please contact our immigration advisors (

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

This will depend on your nationality and the length of time you plan to study at SOAS. Please refer to the UKVI website for further information.

When should I apply for entry clearance?

Again, this will depend on your personal circumstances. Please refer to the UKVI website for further information.

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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 one month before your departure.

How do I get to my accommodation?

We will provide you with comprehensive information about travelling to your accommodation from the London airports one month 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).

Where do I get my keys?

You will usually pick up your keys from the reception desk when you check-in to your accommodation.

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. 

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Costs and fees (see 'Accommodation' section for housing 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.

Do you offer any scholarships?

Yes. Study Abroad students currently registered at a US or Canadian University are eligible to apply for the Butex scholarship.

Can I open a bank account in the UK?

Yes. You should be eligible for a “basic bank account” with a number of different banks. You normally need to be physically present in the UK to open a UK bank account. You will need to take with you your passport, SOAS acceptance letter and your housing contract. The SOAS Welfare Office will be able to provide you with more information.

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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, depending on term dates.

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 academic/health/financial information that you will need, but it’s also a great way to meet people.

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The academic programme

Where can I find module descriptions?

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

How many modules do I take?

All students should take four modules at all times while studying at SOAS.

How many credits do I get for my study at SOAS?

Four modules will transfer back as a full course load at your home school. Each module that you take at SOAS has an equal credit value.

Can I take less or more than the required module load?

You cannot take more than the required class load. You may, with the permission of the module convener, audit a class, but you will not submit coursework or receive credit.
You can take less than the required module load with the written permission of your home school, but this will not alter the programme fee.

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.

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This information has been taken from Sanctuary Students . This is the website of Sanctuary Students, the company responsible for the SOAS undergraduate residence, Dinwiddy House.

How do I apply for accommodation?

Accommodation applications are separate from the Study Abroad programme application. You can make an application for housing at the SOAS undergraduate residence, Dinwiddy House, online at Sanctuary Students as soon as you have received your acceptance letter from SOAS.  You are also welcome to apply to other providers if you wish, but you may not be guaranteed a September to January or January to June contract.

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.

How will I be notified if I am offered accommodation?

All offers are sent to the email address that you give on your accommodation application form. Therefore please make sure that you check your mail regularly.

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.

How do I pay for accommodation?

When you receive an offer you will be given access to a user area of the provider's website where you can make online payments and view your account details, payment schedule, and Tenancy Agreement.
Students are encouraged to use the secure online payment system. You can use most credit and debit cards to pay your booking fee and accommodation fees instalments.

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.

When do I have to move out of my accommodation?

Dinwiddy House will issue contracts from September to January for term 1 only students, and from January to June for term 2 only students.  Full year students will be issued a September to June contract.

Terms 2&3 and Full Year students can stay in their accommodation until the day after the last day of Term 3. It is usually possible to stay on in Dinwiddy house after the end of term 3 at an additional cost if you wish to stay in London.

Will I need to buy kitchen utensils for my flat?

Residences are self-catering so you will need to bring your own cooking utensils, plates, cutlery, pans etc. Some students wait until they move in and then buy items such as a kettle or toaster together with other students sharing their kitchen.

Will I need to buy bedding?

Yes. This is available for purchase in advance or there are several places locally where you can buy bedding.

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.

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Is there a Study Abroad summer programme?

SOAS has a whole range of summer programmes.  For more information please visit the summer school pages.

Can I get in touch with other Study Abroad students before I arrive? 

Yes. We send all students a link to the SOAS Study Abroad Facebook group. Students who choose to join the group can use it to get in touch with other students.

I have to take exams in absentia for my home school – can you help?

Yes, we are happy to proctor exams if you need us to. Please get in touch with us if you need to make these arrangements.

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