The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) is a college of the University of London and the only Higher Education institution in the UK specialising in the study of Asia, Africa and the Near and Middle East. In 2008, SOAS jumped 15 places up to ninth best university nationwide in The Good University Guide, and we were rated fourth in London. We also moved three places up to eighth in The Guardian newspaper's league tables of top UK universities. SOAS is a remarkable institution. Uniquely combining language scholarship, disciplinary expertise and regional focus, it has the largest concentration in Europe of academic staff concerned with Africa, Asia and the Middle East. On the one hand, this means that SOAS remains a guardian of specialised knowledge in languages and periods and regions not available anywhere else in the UK. On the other hand, it means that SOAS scholars grapple with pressing issues - democracy, development, human rights, identity, legal systems, poverty, religion, social change - confronting two-thirds of humankind. This makes SOAS synonymous with intellectual enquiry and achievement. It is a global academic base and a crucial resource for London. We live in a world of shrinking borders and of economic and technological simultaneity. Yet it is also a world in which difference and regionalism present themselves acutely. It is a world that SOAS is distinctively positioned to analyse, understand and explain. Our academic focus on the languages, cultures and societies of Africa, Asia and the Middle East makes us an indispensable interpreter in a complex world.
School of Oriental and African Studies