KCL War Studies or SOAS International Relations and Politics? Watch

alevano
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Hello everyone, I don't know which of the two firm as my insurance offer. I had applied for International Relations at KCL, but then got this alternate offer, War Studies. The programme is not really what I wanted, but it could be interesting and KCL for this sort of subjects has a really good reputation. On the other hand, I got the course I had applied for at SOAS, but I'm not convinced either: first, I'd probably ask to change it into IR+Chinese (is it possible?), then I don't know if I really want to go, I don't know how seriously it is considered, how strong its reputation is. Thanks in advance to anyone who will have anything interesting to say regarding the matter, I long for useful advice
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Snufkin
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Look at the department websites for KCL War Studies and SOAS IR and find the degree structures; there should be a list of all available modules - read the module descriptions thoroughly and make a list of which modules you'd like to do. If one list is substantiality larger than the other, you have your answer - do that degree. If however neither appeal to you, consider taking a gap year and applying for something else next year.

You will have to ask SOAS if you'd be able change to IR and Chinese, but if you meet the entry requirements, I doubt they'd say no. Alternatively, you could also do Chinese language modules in the single-honours IR degree. I don't know how prestigious SOAS' IR degree is, but if you are interested in Asia and international politics, SOAS is hard to beat.
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Lwin
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In terms of Asian languages SOAS is very hard to beat. Personally I would choose SOAS over KCL if you want to follow down any kind of oriental studies or politics because it is specifically directed towards those subjects and has a solid reputation. The reason it's lower in university rankings is due in part to this specialism.
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slitheryserpent
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(Original post by alevano)
. Thanks in advance to anyone who will have anything interesting to say regarding the matter, I long for useful advice
I read history at UCL but did several modules at King's War Studies and was blown away by the dynamism of the department, the excellence of the teaching and the variety of the modules available. It really is a fantastic course. The guest speakers that come in to talk to war studies students are worth it alone. My friends on the course all enjoyed their studies immensely and during their degrees became some of the most articulate and knowledgeable people of my acquaintance.

You should also consider the differing student experiences that both universities offer. SOAS is tiny, close knit and very politically active, whereas King's will offer more in the way of a traditional university experience - SOAS provision of sports and societies is quite poor due to its small size. Anecdotal evidence from friends at SOAS has not been particularly positive. Nonetheless, SOAS is currently undergoing a massive renovation and upgrading all its facilities so perhaps in years to come studying there will acquire a different feel. King's already has great facilities though, and the beautiful Maughan library on Chancery Lane is a very inspiring place to study, as is the Strand campus (where War Studies is based), which has breathtaking views onto the river.
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polscistudent88
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With no doubt I would choose War Studies at King's, the dept. is absolutely outstanding for war studies and has an incredibly strong international reputation. SOAS is amazing if you want to study an area+the language. Otherwise, despite being surely a very good school, has a much less strong reputation internationally for political science/international relations. What I would eventually ask is if, being at King's, you could read modules in Chinese at SOAS... But even if you can't the difference is, to me, quite big. Anyways it's your choice and gut feeling is also very important in this kind of decisions best of luck!
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Cal-lum
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Kings if you decide not to pursue Chinese however SOAS is your best choice if you decide that taking Chinese is your preferred idea.
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Oh Hi
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(Original post by alevano)
Hello everyone, I don't know which of the two firm as my insurance offer. I had applied for International Relations at KCL, but then got this alternate offer, War Studies. The programme is not really what I wanted, but it could be interesting and KCL for this sort of subjects has a really good reputation. On the other hand, I got the course I had applied for at SOAS, but I'm not convinced either: first, I'd probably ask to change it into IR+Chinese (is it possible?), then I don't know if I really want to go, I don't know how seriously it is considered, how strong its reputation is. Thanks in advance to anyone who will have anything interesting to say regarding the matter, I long for useful advice
Hey there.

This may be too late but I am a current War Studies student at King's, so feel free to throw any questions my way! Can't pretend I know all that much about SOAS other than its strong reputation for area studies.

Regarding you concern about module choices the only real difference is first year.
War Studies and IR only share the module ('Contemporary Security Issues') in year one. However, from my experience in years two and three, when you choose all your own modules you could do identical modules to that of an IR students. You need to remember that the King's IR BA is still within the War Studies department. Due to this after year one the degrees kind of merge to a certain extent in that both degrees pick from the same pool of modules.

Whilst some of these modules give preference to IR students, and others War Studies students, I have never yet heard of someone not getting their preferred choice of modules in either. For example I have chosen and two 'IR' modules in my final year. After year one the only really difference in the degree is the name to be honest! And in my opinion, the BA War Studies probably does carry more weight currently than the BA in IR from King's, simply due to its long-term establishment and prestige.

It's an exciting time to be part of the War Studies department at King's no matter which degree you do. Due to the new IR degree the number of modules offered (to both programmes) has risen exponentially. If I had been a third year student last year I would have had to pick from about 12 modules. This year I chose from almost 50.

On a final note, I was surprised to see that you were offered War Studies having applied for IR! In my cohort they shared the admissions stats at our department introduction and in terms of application-offer ratios War Studies was more competitive than IR. That being said IR was only in its first year when I joined!

Anyway, sorry for the essay but hope it helped. Don't hesitate to ping any more questions about any aspect of King's (social or academic) my way.

Good luck with your decision!
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nikortu
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Hi there,

I am currently having the same issue: choosing between SOAS or KCL for IR.

The course at SOAS is really interesting, but I feel both accommodation and facilities there are not the best I could ask for, whilst at King's everything seems more organised.

However, when looking at UNISTATS, SOAS beats KCL for many many areas, so I'd like to hear your opinion as well.
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