England Study Abroad Program at SOAS, University of London
About SOAS, University of London in London, England
- Minimum GPA: 3.0 (4.0 scale)
- Application deadlines: October 15 for spring semester (Jan-June)
April 15 for fall semester (Sept-Dec)
April 15 for full year (Sept-June)
- Program advisor: Aimee Formo
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We're so excited that you're considering IFSA-Butler's program at SOAS, University of London for your semester or year abroad. Located in eclectic and diverse London, SOAS is the only higher education institution in the U.K. specializing in the study of Asia, Africa, and the Near and Middle East. We're sure you're going to love studying there!
What SOAS has to offer
- Specialization in the study of Asia, Africa and the Middle East
- One of the world's leading institutions of its kind
- The SOAS library attracts scholars from all over the world
- A truly international place to study: More than 50 percent of the student body comes from outside the U.K.
- Uniquely combines language scholarship, disciplinary expertise and regional focus
- Part of the University of London (UL), so students can use the University of London Union's excellent facilities
- A great location in the heart of London near the British Museum, Oxford Street, Covent Garden and the West End
- Housing is in Dinwiddy House, the main student residence at SOAS; in a UL intercollegiate residence hall; or in IFSA-Butler housing in west central London
- Students in SOAS and IFSA-Butler housing purchase or prepare their own meals in shared kitchens
- Students in UL intercollegiate halls have meal plans
- A specialized school with more than 500 uniformly excellent courses
- More than 30 different languages offered
- Students take four courses per semester
- Students can choose to focus on a particular region or country or a specific discipline
We look forward to working with you!
CoursesWhere can I find a list of courses that the university offers?
What courses am I eligible to take?
- Open the SOAS online course catalog.
- Please read the "Key to Listings" section before reviewing the course catalog. The first column of numbers is the course value, either 0.5 or 1.0. The second column of numbers is the semester in which the course is offered: 1 = first semester; 2/3 = second semester, 1/2 = first and second semesters.
As an IFSA-Butler student, you are entitled to enroll in undergraduate courses for which you are qualified and in which space is available. Course descriptions in the online course catalog (see above) include prerequisites you must fulfill in order to enroll in each course. You must take all courses for academic credit, and must complete all coursework and exams in order to obtain credit on the Butler University transcript.
For each course that you list on your preference form, be sure to check the following:
- When determining which courses to take, please bear in mind that the academic system is an intensive, three-year program.
- First-year (100 level) courses are appropriate for departments in which you have little or no prior experience.
- Second-year (200 level) courses will be equivalent to advanced sophomore or junior-level U.S. courses.
- Third-year (300 level) courses will be equivalent to senior-level U.S. courses.
- Fourth-year (400 level) courses and higher are part of a postgraduate degree (Masters or Ph.D.). You are not eligible to take these courses as an undergraduate study abroad student.
Where can I get the syllabi of the courses I'm interested in taking?
Downloadable syllabi are not typically available. However, detailed course descriptions are linked in the various departments' course lists. From the SOAS online course catalog, select the Undergraduate Modules hyperlink below the department name. This will take you to a course list. Click the hyperlinked names of courses you are interested in, and this will open a detailed course description.
When and how will I register for classes?
You will officially enroll in classes after you arrive in London. During the SOAS orientation, you will be given instructions and the paperwork necessary to enroll in classes. Although there is no "drop/add" period at SOAS, it is possible to switch from one class to another if you do so within the first week of the semester.
Can I take classes in more than one school/faculty/department?
You may list classes in more than one department, but please be aware that this may cause scheduling problems. You must meet the course entry requirements, such as having a background equivalent to the course prerequisites. Students wishing to take language classes will be required to take a language assessment test upon arrival to determine their language level and competence. Your home university must approve the classes you want to take in order for you to receive U.S. academic credit for them.
What are the classes like at SOAS?
Classes at SOAS often consist of 50-minute lectures given by a member of the faculty. These lectures, similar to lectures in the U.S., will set up important themes and ideas of the class. It is often based on the reading list given to students at the beginning of the term. Classes that are primarily lecture-based are often accompanied by tutorials or smaller class seminars, in which students can discuss the content of the lecture. A teacher who helps lead and/or provoke discussion will accompany this tutorial.
Can I take classes at other schools within the University of London federation?
No. Students enrolled as study abroad students at SOAS must take all of their classes at SOAS.
Students should consult the SOAS course finder for specific course restrictions, which are listed by department. Fourth-year (400 level) courses and higher are part of a postgraduate degree (masters or Ph.D.) and are not available to undergraduate study abroad students. Departments that have only graduate courses (including Gender Studies and Media Studies) are not open to undergraduate students. Independent study projects, dissertations and extended essays are also closed to study abroad students.
History majors should note that H300 courses are capped at 15 students, and registration is on a first come, first served basis.
How many courses am I able to take, and how do I determine U.S. semester credit hours?
IFSA-Butler requires students to enroll in a full course load at the host institution, according to IFSA-Butler. The number of courses you take depends on how long you are studying at SOAS.
A full course load at SOAS for single semester students is four courses, which can be any combination of full or half-credit units. For single semester students, four courses are required regardless of the SOAS credits indicated.
Full-year students must take 4 SOAS credits: for example, three full-credit courses and two half-credit courses. For information on the credit weight, please review the information below:
1 SOAS credit (usually allotted to full year courses only) = 8 U.S. semester credit hours
.5 SOAS credits = 4 U.S. semester credit hours
What are the registration conditions?
You must take a full SOAS course load as determined by IFSA-Butler. Credit will be awarded on a Butler University transcript based on a typical U.S. full course load. All courses are graded on an A-F scale, and there is no provision for pass/fail or auditing courses unless pass/fail is the only method of assessment for the course. You are not allowed to register for online, distance education or hybrid courses.
You should also be aware that you may be charged additional fees by your home institution or host university to take or process additional credits. Taking less than a full course load may jeopardize your student status and result in personal academic repercussions and/or loss of financial aid.
The course preference form is not a registration form; it is a guideline to let your host university know which courses you are interested in taking abroad. You should discuss your course selections with your academic advisor at your home institution and have several backup choices in mind. Neither you nor the university is bound by your selections, and you will not officially register for courses until you arrive on campus.
What do I need to know about exams?
Because of the differences in the academic systems, you will not know your exam schedule until after you arrive at your host university. Please refer to your program calendar to review the exam period for your host university. Your host university's policies do not permit you to reschedule any exams, request alternate assessments or arrange to have your exams proctored in the United States. If this occurs, IFSA-Butler cannot assist you in conducting an academic record appeal for the course in which you made this arrangement. You will need to complete and submit all academic work prior to departing the program.
How will my home university know what my classes were and what grades I received?
After you have returned to the U.S., your home university will receive a Butler University transcript with the credit you earned at SOAS, University of London. The Butler University transcript will report the equivalent U.S. semester credit hours and letter grades. We also will send an official transcript to your permanent address.
Exploring Community & Culture
Student praise for C&C:
"We were able to discuss current issues while bringing information from our classes to the table. My friend from college was in another study abroad program and she was jealous because they didn't have a C&C."
"At first I wasn't sure if I wanted to do it, but it really helped me to see things from a different perspective. I am pretty sure I would not have gotten the same out of my time in London without doing the C&C."
IFSA-Butler's Exploring Community & Culture feature (C&C) is designed to take students' study abroad experiences to another level. It encourages them to get the most out of their time abroad by blending intercultural learning with an exploration of the local community and local community groups. Selected activities will foster your intercultural learning through a series of on-site discussions and self-reflection. Through this special program feature you will be encouraged to engage with the community in which you are living and question your own perspective of the world, while learning to appreciate similarities and differences between cultures and communities.
You may participate in C&C the seminar for 3 U.S. semester credit hours. The C&C seminar is comprised of class discussions combined with instructor-guided field excursions designed to assist you in exploring the complexities and curiosities of London's varied neighborhoods. Students who have participated in the C&C in past semesters have found it a great way to explore and get to know London and, with their fellow IFSA-Butler students, to learn interculturally from their everyday experiences there.
Click here to view the C&C syllabus.
What are my housing options?
The majority of students will be placed in a SOAS hall of residence. Dinwiddy House is the common location for SOAS students, although intercollegiate housing is also a possibility.
In general you can expect the following characteristics at Dinwiddy House:
- Each student has a single bedroom with a sink, toilet and shower.
- A bedding pack is included.
- Housing is self-catering (i.e., there is no meal plan).
- Kitchen equipment is not provided.
- Students are integrated with other SOAS students of all nationalities.
- Students can expect to have their own phone and an email access point.
- Dinwiddy House is a two-minute walk from the Vernon Square campus, and a 25-minute walk (or short tube or bus ride) away from the Russell Square campus.
All accommodations are self-catering. No meal plans are available.
Is my housing included in the program fee?
Yes. Your program fee includes accommodation at the university while classes are in session. You will be responsible for the cost of your meals (whether a meal plan or self-catered) and any commuting costs you may incur. Some university housing requires students to move out during winter and spring breaks. If you wish to remain in residence during the vacation period(s), you must notify the university housing office upon arrival to make necessary arrangements. Staying in residence during university breaks may incur additional costs not covered by the IFSA-Butler program fee.
When will I receive my housing assignment?
You will most likely receive your housing assignment one to two weeks before your departure. However, in some cases you may not receive your housing assignment until you arrive in England for orientation. Your program advisor will notify you of your housing assignment via e-mail when it is released by the university.
Please keep in mind that while IFSA-Butler guarantees housing, we cannot guarantee your preferences.
Can I arrange my own housing?
Yes. IFSA-Butler recognizes that some students require independent housing for their time abroad. If you choose not to take advantage of our guaranteed housing, you may sign up for independent housing on the housing preference form. Once you've made this choice, we will not provide housing for you or bill you for the accommodation fee.
Please be advised that housing costs can be high abroad, and many times students living independently end up spending more money than students living in IFSA-Butler arranged housing. If you are hoping to save money by arranging housing on your own, please research your options early so you can compare costs. You must notify us of your intention to live in independent housing by the program application deadline for your term abroad, listed at the top of this page. We are not able to accommodate independent housing requests after the deadline.
Living and Studying in London, England
Population: 9 million
Location: Southeast England
- One of the most cosmopolitan, hip cities in the world, with an atmosphere of excitement and sophistication
- A major global city with remarkable cultural, historic, artistic, political and intellectual offerings
- Home to many universities scattered throughout different neighborhoods, each with its own atmosphere and attractions
- A diverse population with more than 300 languages spoken within the city
- One of the world's leading business and financial centers
- Use London's excellent transportation links to explore continental Europe
- Take advantage of Britain's extensive rail system to visit other areas of the U.K.
- Take a break from the constant bustle of London and experience the beautiful and historic regions of England
London On Line
Time Out: London
Dates & Fees
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Important: Once you are abroad, please verify the program end date with the department(s) in which you are studying. Ending dates may vary from department to department, and you will be expected to complete all course obligations prior to your departure. Program housing is available only until the program end date.
Your program end date may change due to circumstances beyond IFSA-Butler's control. Upon arrival at your host university, be sure to verify your exam schedule and program end date. We also strongly recommend that you investigate fees and penalties associated with your airline tickets in case you need to make date or route changes.
In the United Kingdom, exams are taken under formal conditions and changes cannot be made for individuals. Exams must be taken where and when scheduled.
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What's included in our England program fees
Academic Year and Fall Payments Due: July 1
Spring Payment Due: November 15
Program Fee Bills
IFSA-Butler will send a single bill for tuition, services and housing. Any bills for tuition differentials and/or supplemental housing fees will be sent separately. Students who opt for independent housing will not be charged the housing component of the program fee.
The housing component of our program fee is based on the average cost of local student self-catering accommodation, usually a shared room in a regular dormitory, apartment or house without any extra features.
Personal Cost Estimates
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These figures are designed to assist students with financial planning but are only estimates based on past students’ experiences at the current exchange rate. Rates are current as of 12/9/2016.
They do not include any entertainment or vacation travel costs. Meals are estimated based on the cost of a weekly standard grocery shop with one or two meals out. If you plan to eat out once a day or more, we recommend using a higher estimate. If you have dietary restrictions or follow a specific diet (gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, organic, etc), you may also wish to budget more due to the higher cost of specialty food items.
The above numbers are general estimates of expenses during a program abroad. We recommend taking into account your current spending habits, the cost of living in your host country and the current exchange rate. Your IFSA-Butler program advisor can be helpful as you attempt to work on a personal budget for your experience abroad.
*Student Visa: U.S. citizens studying in the U.K. for less than six months (180 days) do not need to apply for a visa, but can instead enter the country as a student visitor at no cost. Student visitors are allowed to remain in the U.K. for up to six months but are not allowed to undertake any paid work or unpaid volunteer activities. Citizens of some countries may be required to obtain a student visa. If this applies to you, your IFSA-Butler program advisor will notify you. Detailed instructions regarding U.K. visas will be sent to all students upon acceptance.
Personal Miscellaneous: Covers general expenses of college life, including course supplies, photocopying, toiletries, snacks, personal care, etc.
Commuting: Estimates are for transportation between housing and university. Transportation for personal or recreational purposes is not included in the above estimates.
All costs are in U.S. dollars.
Meet Your IFSA-Butler Team
IFSA-Butler has a dedicated team of staff who are here to help students prepare for their program in London:
Program Advisor Aimee Formo is here to assist with the application process and to answer program, cultural and academic questions before departure. Aimee completed her graduate degrees in History and Library Science at Indiana University, and her undergraduate degree in History at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College. She studied abroad with R-MWC’s program at the University of Reading, where she focused on 19th century social reform movements. Aimee joined the IFSA- Butler team to aid students who want to study abroad and experience all that England has to offer. Aimee can be reached at the email link above or at 800-858-0229, ext. 4253.
Student Accounts Coordinator Angelita Shaffer assists with the financial side of study abroad and processes payments and invoices. Angelita can be reached at the email link above or at 317-940-4221.
Student & Parent Services Manager Donnetta Spears is available to both students and parents for travel questions and information. Donnetta has worked with IFSA-Butler since 2000, and she has traveled through parts of Europe, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand. As the mother of 4 college students (including one who studied abroad on an IFSA-Butler program), she has a deep understanding of the ins-and-outs of study abroad from a parent perspective. Donnetta can be reached at the email link above or at 317-940-4252.
Once abroad, our students are in the capable hands of our on-site office, including our resident directors. Click here to read more about Resident Director Lynne Alvarez.
Academic Records Coordinator Abby Miller graduated from Butler University where she worked as a guide for international students from all over the world. From that experience and combined with her own world travels, she knows the amazing experiences that studying abroad can provide. Abby is excited to work with IFSA-Butler students and to help answer any questions about their academic records. Abby can be reached at the email link above or at 800-858-0229, ext. 4217.
SOAS offers a five-week summer opportunity. Participants take two classes, one in Arabic language and the other an elective in Arab culture or Middle East politics. Guest lectures are also part of the program. Click here to learn more.