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School of Oriental and African Studies
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Law at SOAS...your opinions


i have submitted my UCAS application today and SOAS is one of my choices...Would be nice to hear from those currently studying what do you think about the degree as a whole? Is it really that specialised? And do you absolutely have to take modules, that include african and oriental laws?
Reply 1

I'm a second year law student atm (haven't been asked to leave and politely escorted to the doors yet...). The degree's quite interesting. With regards to African and Oriental laws, in the first year compulsories only Legal Systems of Asia and Africa focus on them. After that you seem free to pick them or not as the mood strikes you. If you have a burning passion for a particular area of the world you could choose a module in it or do as I did and just pick 'regular' law modules. There's usually some mention of oriental and african laws in all modules simply because most lecturers tend to specialise in one region or another. Er, I think that pretty much covers it. Hope it's been helpful
School of Oriental and African Studies
Reply 2
I started it this year, did not enjoy it one bit. Found it boring and tedious. No doubt it is interesting and the topics covered are specialist in certain parts of the world. I dropped my law modules and switched to politics, much more interesting. But hey your going to get those who think the reverse.
Reply 3

Ok i replied in the other thread, but perhaps it's would've been a better to reply to you here...

I do Law & Politics but most of my mates do straight Law, so if there's anything i can't answer i can chase em up.

If you have any specific questions feel free to ask, because otherwise my feedback is 'yeah, it's good' and i'm not sure that'll be of much help! :smile:
Reply 4
Copied from the other thread...

Whats the typical week like for a law student? (Straight law without anything else)

No. of lectures/seminars/tutorials

Generally are the lecturers any good?

Whats the oversea to national student ratio?

On average how many mature students do law?

What are class sizes like?

So basically just the general stuff... Anyone willing to answer..? Would be very grateful if you could, would make my decision easier. I have an offer from SOAS and City atm and just deciding between them. Those questions answered will make my choice easier .. thanks!

Ok, this is going to sound very blunt and biased, but SOAS would beat City hands down any day. Especially for Law...but i guess you could find that out through league tables and the fact that you'd need 3 A's to study law here in the first place.

I genuinely think soas will only get better as a uni - as dictated by the growing number of applications to the uni and the tougher entry standards. Also, apparently there are certain law firms that 'want' soas students in particular because of the inbuilt global outlook taught within their UG law degrees - i don't know to what extent that's true, but i've heard it a couple of times now.

In all honesty though, soas isn't for everyone. It's definitely not a very glam looking uni, it's small and it's a very lefty / politically active uni (our UGM's are brilliant) - though none of the above bothers me at all, i understand that it's not to everyone's taste.

On the other hand, and this is gonna sound corny and cliche, the people here are very friendly and probably a lot more interesting than the average student types. Despite the fact that it's in central London and the added fact students are generally miserable bastards, most people here are very approachable (we even had dinner in the canteen randomly with one of our tutors one day...this probably makes me sound like a right nerd, but it didn't seem weird at the time)

Unique is the best word to describe the place.

Also don't be put off by the fact that the average joe will have NO IDEA what soas's well respected amongst academics and law firms, who will hopefully recognize that it's a top ten law school and it's also well respected internationally.

Aaaannnnyway back to the q's...

Average week -
Consists of 4 x 2 hour lectures and 4 x 1 hour tutorials...i.e. 12 hours a week. Some people manage to get a day off during the week, but it just depends on your timings. Obviously you'll need to put more hours in yourself as there's quite a bit of reading.

Lecturers -
I'm still in my first year, so have yet to see all the law lecturers. Prof Menski for Legal Systems of Asia & Africa is brilliant...if you choose soas buy his book and start reading it asap as it'll help A LOT...and don't worry about having to learn about foreign legal systems (as i did), this course is actually one of my fave atm, very interesting.
Our lecturer for the Intro to Law & Legal Processes course isn't as great, if i'm honest, but he's alright in the tutorials and his lecture notes are useful...however for some reason his lectures tend to go right over my head. Still, quite a few people managed to get 1sts in our first exam, so evidently he's not that much of an obstruction. As for the other two courses, i don't do them, but apparently the criminal law lecturer is very good and the contract law lecturer is good but the topic itself is pretty boring.

I don't know the oversea:national student ratio or how many mature students there are, though i'm sure you can find this out somewhere, try the prospectus.

Class sizes -
There'll usually be around 10 students in your tutorials. Sometimes less, sometimes more, depending on what time people sign upto (though if it's too disproportionate, they'll redistribute students). Now and then when you're late you can join someone else's tutorial, you're not supposed to, but it's usually not a problem...which is quite handy. Soas is generally pretty flexible in reality.

Have a look at the link below, as i've rushed this and it may explain things better than i have:

Quite an essay, apologies, i hate really long replies but i hope that helps. Feel free to ask more...though i'm not on here that often...
Reply 5
Thanks everyone. I appreciate your replies, however, I feel obliged to point out that I have actually withdrew my application from SOAS. Either way, I am sure many other applicants found (and are yet to find) this information extremely helpful, especially the extensive and detailed post above!

Thanks again.