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SOAS Language Centre

Certificate & Diploma in Communicative Arabic

Start of programme: 28th September 2015

This is a one-year programme with three syllabus units taught over three terms.

Mode of Attendance: Full-time


The Diploma in Communicative Arabic at SOAS Language Centre in London is designed to prepare students with no previous knowledge of Arabic to live and work in an Arabic-speaking environment. In addition to learning modern standard Arabic, both written and spoken, students will be introduced to Arabic dialects.

Complete beginners all apply directly for entry to Unit 1/Term 1. Non-beginners should contact the Programme Convener, Ms Ilham Salimane, to arrange an assessment interview.

Tel: +44 (0)20 7898 4870
Email: is23@soas.ac.uk

A place in Term 2 can be reserved following satisfactory placement assessment. Because of minimum attendance and coursework requirements, there is no direct entry to Unit 3/Term 3.

Students who successfully complete Unit 1 may progress to Unit 2. Students who successfully complete Units/Terms 1 and 2 are awarded the Certificate in Communicative Arabic and may progress to Term 3. Students who successfully complete Units/Terms 2 and 3 are awarded the Diploma in Communicative Arabic. 'Successful completion' means that the student has met the attendance requirements for the term, has submitted satisfactory course work and passed the end-of-unit oral and written exams.

A student awarded the Certificate will be able to communicate effectively in Arabic in a limited range of situations and be able to read and write basic Arabic with ease. S/he will have a good command of the language used in survival situations, social conversations, everyday transactions, discussions of current affairs and in various job-related contexts.

A student awarded the Diploma will be able to communicate effectively in Arabic in a wide range of social and professional situations and be able to read and write Arabic of considerable complexity, ranging across a wide variety of topics. S/he will have an assured command of the grammar and vocabulary of the language and be able to participate confidently in conversations that cover more sophisticated topics and/or involve mixed registers.

How do these awards compare with other standards?

Approximate equivalents with other recognised standards of language proficiency are given below for general guidance only.

AwardLanguage LevelCEFR CategoryCEFR BandAl-Arabiyya  Test
DiplomaUpper IntermediateVantageB2Upper Intermediate

Progression to Degree

The Diploma gives exemption from the first year of a SOAS language degree. Students who successfully complete the Diploma in Communicative Arabic may apply, through the School’s admission process, to join Year 2 of a SOAS BA Language Studies degree.


Classes will be scheduled to run Monday to Friday daytime, with most classes being held from 10:00 to 13:00. In addition to the classroom contact hours and scheduled online sessions, some small group or individual tutorials will be available by appointment. The programme is very demanding and students will be expected to spend at least 20 hours of study outside class every week.

The programme is based on the communicative approach to teaching Arabic and develops the skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing in a balanced way. Students will also learn to activate grammatical patterns and acquire a wide range of vocabulary which they can use to express their meanings accurately and appropriately. The programme is continually adapted to students’ learning needs and so the pattern of learning activities varies from session to session.


In addition to audio-visual materials and a variety of original materials supplied by the teachers, the course is based on a number of core textbooks such as:

  • Brustad, K., Albatal, M. & Al-Tonsi, A. (2010) Alif Baa Introduction to Arabic Letters and Sounds. 3rd Ed. Washington: Georgetown University Press
  • Brustad, K., Albatal, M. & Al-Tonsi, A. (2004) Al-Kitaab Fii Ta Allum Al- Arabiyya: Pt. 1. 2rd Ed. Washington: Georgetown University Press
  • Brustad, K., Albatal, M. & Al-Tonsi, A. (2005) Al-Kitaab Fii Ta Allum Al- Arabiyya: Pt. 2. 2rd Ed. Washington: Georgetown University Press

The required materials may be obtained from the Language Centre.

Other Learning Opportunities

Students will have the opportunity to attend relevant seminars and lectures available in the School, such as those organised by the Centre of Near and Middle Eastern Studies, Centre Of Islamic Studies, Centre for Islamic and Middle Eastern Law and the Department of the Languages and Cultures of Near and Middle East.


Students are assessed through a combination of termly written and oral examinations and continuous assessment. Students have to achieve 40% to pass. The overall term/unit grade will derive from continuous assessment (30%) and end-of-term/unit examination (70%). Continuous assessment will include marked homework and class tests, covering all 4 skills (listening, speaking, reading, writing), as well as usage and use of grammar and vocabulary in context. The end-of- term/unit and the end-of-programme (Unit 3) exams will assess all components of the programme syllabus.

Student Evaluation

Our students are very positive about the quality of the learning experience at the Language Centre. This is what Ahmed, a former student, had to say about his language diploma course:

Ahmed Bobat

"Whether it be in learning a language or baking a cake, when looking to create success, one must have a recipe to follow. The Diploma in Communicative Arabic is that recipe. From incredibly motivating and inspiring teachers who go far beyond what can ever be expected of them, to a course curriculum that could not have been better structured - the foundations of excellence are very well laid. And then you add course materials which seem to understand the difficulties of Arabic learners, and last but not least an amazing group of class mates to keep that motivation going. Blend together with a year of solid personal effort and there you have it - success."


Term Dates for 2015 - 2016 and provisional timetables will be available by the end of March.


Certificate: £7,140.00 *
The course can be paid in two termly instalments as follows:

  • Term 1: £3,570.00
  • Term 2: £3,570.00

Diploma: £10,995.00 *
The course can be paid in three termly instalments as follows:

  • Term 1: £3,570.00
  • Term 2: £3,570.00
  • Term 3: £3,855.00

* We offer a 5% discount to those who pay the full course fee at the start of the first term.

How to Apply

To apply for a Language Centre Certificate/Diploma programme you can download our application and payment forms or contact us for the forms. Please read the terms and conditions before filling in the forms. Completed application forms, accompanied by the course fee, made payable to SOAS, should be returned to SOAS Language Centre.

Closing date for applications for Overseas Students: 28th August, 2015.
Closing date for applications for Home/EU Students: 25th September, 2015.

Places fill up very quickly and, to be sure of a place on the course, you should enrol by August 15th.

The Language Centre contact for this programme is Ms Ilham Salimane.
Email: is23@soas.ac.uk
Tel:+44(0)20 7898 4870