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The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)

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I did my MA at SOAS, it's a brilliant place. Though, I was there several years ago when you would walk into the building at night to get to the library and on the way get high from the cloud of pot that wafted up from the bar in the basement. I heard they cracked down on that now (no pun intended), so I don't know what it's like anymore. I was also there at a time when the $ was a little bit stronger..I went back a few years ago and was absolutely shocked to see how high the tube and restaurant prices have gotten. London was never cheap, but now it's really really not cheap. Otherwise, the atmosphere at SOAS is brilliant, my classmates were awesome, I loved the course. I really grew during that year, probably one of the best years I've ever spent in school. Highly, highly recommended.

As far as the housing, they have a graduate dorm, which I lived in. It wasn't bad at all. If you are a girl, I'd opt for an all girl flat. (you share a kitchen, but have your own bedroom/bathroom). I'm not against living with guys but you know, they get very needy when it comes to kitchen stuff, and it's something that you just don't want to deal with when you have so much work (no offense..there are plenty of self sufficient men.) When there are guys and girls living closely there is always drama..saw it lots. It's just something you want to minimize as much as possible in school. Not that it happens all the time....but well, it does happen.

Edited by mims3382
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I'm considering of applying to the SOAS if I do not get any funding from the American schools. Does anyone have insights about the SOAS? What's academic environment like? Do you enjoy your experience in the SOAS? What's the housing like in London?

Thanks in advance!

I'm at SOAS right now in my third year. I can't say much about cultural anthropology (if that's what you're applying for). As far as the School goes, as the previous poster mentioned, you really do grow intellectually and as a person if you take things seriously. I think I've far outstripped my friends at other top unis in terms of being able to articulate critically for just about any issue. A large part of that is probably a product of the School, but also because of the people in it. Plenty of intelligent/fun people, but plenty of retarded/overly politically correct/boring people, but I suppose that's everywhere. The School itself is physically crap. They're refurbishing the whole place, but that's going to be done in 2016 for some centennial grand re-opening of some sort. There is one post-grad hall (Paul Robeson House), which seems to be okay. But there are PLENTY of places, (albeit rather pricey) around central London.

BTW the whole excessive pot-head on campus phase is pretty much over, but hey its still uni so you can't do too much about it...

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SOAS has a number of subject-, topic-, or nationality-specific scholarships, which might interest some prospective students: thathttp://www.soas.ac.uk/registry/scholarships/

Individual departments will also have a handful of funded studentships each. In addition, I'm pretty sure there are often TA opportunities for PhD students (but not MA).

As SOAS is a small college, it won't have access to many Research Council studentships, if any.

So, yeah, the funding situation is not great. Definitely get in touch with prospective supervisors first who can advise on what's available.

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