School of Oriental and African Studies

School of Oriental and African Studies

The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) is a specialist constituent of the University of London committed to the arts and humanities, languages and cultures and the law and social sciences concerning Asia, Africa, and the Near and Middle East. SOAS currently offers over 300 undergraduate Bachelors degree combinations and over 70 one-year intensively taught Master's degrees. MPhil/PhD research degree programmes are also available in every academic department. Located in the heart of London, SOAS describes itself as the 'world's leading centre for the study of a highly diverse range of subjects concerned with Asia, Africa and the Middle East'

SOAS was founded in 1916 as the School of Oriental Studies at 2, Finsbury Circus, London, England, the then premises of the London Institution. The School received its Royal Charter on June 5, 1916; admitted its first batch of students on January 18; and was formally inaugurated by the King Emperor George V in the presence of Lord Curzon among other cabinet officials just a month later on February 23, 1917. Africa was added to the school's name and remit in 1938 and the school permanently shifted to Thornhaugh Street, which runs between Malet Street and Russell Square.

For sometime in the mid-1930s, the School was located at Vandon House, Vandon Street, London SW1. However, its move was held up by delays in construction and the half-completed bulding took a hit during the Blitz in September 1940. The School had, on Government's advice, evacuated to Cambridge and returned to London to resume work in July 1940. Most colleges of the University of London were evacuated from London in 1939 and billeted on universities all over the provinces. SOAS was transferred, but without its library, to Christ's College, Cambridge. When it became apparent that a return to London was possible, the School returned to the city and was temporarily housed for some months in 1940-41 in eleven rooms at Broadway Court, 8 Broadway, London SW1.

The institution's founding mission was primarily to train British administrators for overseas postings across the empire. Since then the school has grown into the world's foremost centre for the exclusive study of Asia and Africa.[citation needed] A college of the University of London, SOAS fields include Law, Social Sciences, Humanities and Languages with special reference to Asia and Africa. SOAS consistently ranks among the top twenty universities in the UK league tables and in 2004 was ranked 44th in the world, 7th in the UK and 11th overall in Europe according to The Times Higher Education Supplement.[citation needed] The SOAS Library, housed in Philips Building (designed at the beginning of the 1970s by Sir Denys Lasdun), is the UK's national resource for materials relating to Asia and Africa and is the largest of its kind in Europe.[citation needed]

The School has grown considerably over the past thirty years, from under 1,000 students in the 1970s to over 4,500 students today, nearly half of them postgraduates. SOAS is partnered with the Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales (INALCO) which is located in Paris. INALCO is often considered the French equivalent of SOAS

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Fantastic place to study. At SOAS you will find some of the most interesting people whose passions create learning envirnments.

The roots of education are bitter, but the fruits is sweet ~ Aristotle

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Education is not a preparation for life, Education is life itself ~ John Dewey
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