Mills Soko earned his undergraduate degree in Social Sciences from the University of Cape Town (UCT) in 1992. Soon thereafter he worked for a year as a research assistant with UCT’s Equal Opportunities Research Project. From 1994 to 1995 he was employed by the Institute for Democracy in South Africa as a researcher on parliamentary affairs, monitoring and preparing reports on the work of parliamentary committees in South Africa’s first democratic national legislature.
In 1996, he joined the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) – the upper house of the South African Parliament – as a researcher to the Select Committee on Trade and Industry, Foreign Affairs, and Public Enterprises. During this period he completed a Master’s degree in International Studies through the University of Stellenbosch. This was followed by his appointment as Head of Policy and Legislative Research in the NCOP, where he oversaw and coordinated the work of committee researchers.
Subsequently he resumed his academic studies and obtained a Master’s degree in International Political Economy from the University of Warwick. In 2004, he completed a doctoral thesis on the political economy of trade policy reform in post-apartheid South Africa at the same university.