SOAS University of London


RAE Results 2008

On the 18th December 2008 HEFCE published results of the 12 Units of Assessment entered in the 2008 RAE exercise by SOAS. The table below outlines results for all 12 units.

The Times Higher Education and Guardian also published today their national league tables for research.  The Times Higher put SOAS in 29th position (if we exclude two specialist institutions – the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Institute of Cancer Research). The Guardian places SOAS one rank lower.

We entered a little over 92% of our eligible staff (Category A), but we are aware that league table compilers have given data that includes teaching-only staff thereby reducing our figure to 65%.

SOAS has achieved much in this research assessment. In addition to our premier position in Asian Studies, four of our units of assessment have figured in the top 25% as compared with their equivalent departments nationally, namely Anthropology, History, Music, and Politics.

In the majority of SOAS submissions at least 60% of the staff submitted were ranked at either the highest grade of 4* (world-leading quality) or 3* (internationally excellent):

  • Music: 80% of the submission was graded 3* or 4*
  • Anthropology: 70% of the submission was graded 3* or 4*
  • Asian Studies: 65% of the submission was graded 3* or 4*
  • Study of Religions: 65% of the submission was graded 3* or 4*
  • History: 60% of the submission was graded 3* or 4*
  • Middle East and African Studies: 60% of the submission was graded 3* or 4*
  • Politics: 60% of the submission was graded 3* or 4*

SOAS's Asian Studies submission to the RAE has been a spectacular success. In 2001, along with several other universities we received a 5 rating for Asian Studies, while both Oxford and Cambridge were awarded 5*. To put it simply: we have regained our national pre-eminence in this field of research, and by a significant margin.  Other success stories are Anthropology, which is ranked 3rd out of the 19 departments submitted nationally for assessment, and History, which, following its two outstanding grades in the previous two RAEs, is ranked 15th out of 83.  Music is ranked 12th out of 53, and Politics is ranked 7th out of 59.  In five of our twelve units of assessment, thirty or more per cent of research activity was judged to be of world-leading quality.

These results are a reflection of the quality of the scholarly endeavour that goes on in these areas.  We commend those at SOAS who have contributed to achieve these successes. 

2008 Research Assessment Exercise: SOAS
 Unit of AssessmentFTE
A staff
Overall quality profile
(percentage of research activity
at each quality level)
36Business and Management Studies14.0053550100
39Politics and International Studies18.25154530100
43Development Studies30.50103040200
48Middle Eastern and African Studies25.30253530100
49Asian Studies28.00303520105
61Theology, Divinity and Religious Studies16.90155025100
64History of Art, Architecture and Design11.50302040100

For more information on the league tables, please visit the Times Higher Education ( and Guardian ( websites.

Professor Graham Furniss. Pro-Director