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Diploma and Certificate in Modern Chinese - Full-time

The three terms run over 11 months from September to August.

Mode of Attendance: Full Time


The course leading to the Diploma in Modern Chinese is an intensive language programme designed to provide students with no prior knowledge in Chinese with solid practical language skills for living and working in a Chinese-speaking environment. It comprises three terms and is divided into two stages. Stage 1 covers SOAS Language Centre Chinese Courses (SOAS LCCC) Elementary to Upper Intermediate Chinese in the first two terms. Stage 2 covers SOAS LCCC Upper Intermediate to Early Advanced Chinese in the third term.

Students who complete Term I and Term II successfully are awarded the Certificate in Modern Chinese. Students who complete Term II and Term III successfully are awarded the Diploma in Modern Chinese. 'Successful completion' means that the student has followed and completed the course work satisfactorily and passed the end of term oral and written exams.

Admittance to the course is subject to interview, which includes an assessment of language level in the case of non-beginner. Provided they pass the end of Term I exams, students may join at the start of Term II to register for the Certificate or Diploma but cannot join thereafter.

How are the classes structured?

Classes run for 15 hours per week, Monday to Friday. In addition to the classroom contact hours, some individual tutorials will be available by appointment

Classes are held between 9.30 am and 12.45pm. The program is very demanding and students will be expected to spend at least 15 hours of study outside class every week.

The course is continually under review and improvement so the exact structure can vary from session to session.

The course includes work on all the four skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing with emphasis on the balance of those four skills. Assessment is through a combination of termly oral and written examinations and continuous assessment.

What can I do by the end of the Certificate course?

By the end of the Certificate course students will be able to:

  • Communicate on a fair range of topics in everyday social conversation.
  • Express personal opinions and have simple discussions on a range of topics.
  • Give a short presentation on a prepared topic.
  • Understand clear, standard speech in everyday situations.
  • Obtain information and extract details on a range of everyday topics.
  • Understand the main points of simple visual and audio materials.
  • Will have studied approximately 1200 Chinese characters.
  • Have a reading speed of familiar text of around 100 characters per minute.
  • Understand simple, selected authentic text on familiar topics.

Write short notes and compositions on a limited range of topics.

What can I do by the end of the Diploma course?

By the end of the Diploma course students will be able to:

  • Communicate effectively on a wide range of topics.
  • Express ideas and opinions, and carry out discussions on a wide range of social and current-affair topics.
  • Give a logical and well-structured speech on prepared topics.
  • Understand clear standard speech on matters regularly encountered in work, study and leisure.
  • Obtain general information and specific details from the mass media on a broad range of topics.
  • Will have studied approximately 2000 characters.
  • Have a reading speed of around 180-200 characters per minute.
  • Read simple authentic text and understand the gist of newspaper articles on current affair topics.
  • Write simple reports, social letters and routine work-related correspondence.
  • Describe events and convey own ideas and opinions in written form.
How does this course compare with other recognised standards?

Approximate equivalents with other recognised standards are given below for reference only. For a detailed description of CEF Level Descriptors for SOAS Language Centre Certificate / Diploma courses, see our page on external frameworks.

Languages Lead Body National Language Standards
  • end of NVQ level
  • Stage One (Certificate) 3
  • Stage Two (Diploma) 4
Common European Framework
  • end of level
  • Stage One (Certificate) B1
  • Stage Two (Diploma) B2
Who are the teachers?

The SOAS Language Centre has a staff of over 20 fully-trained, experienced, native-speaker teachers of Chinese, backed by a coordinator and under the academic supervision of a senior member of the Department of China and Inner Asia.

The Certificate and Diploma courses are normally taught by a team of four to five teachers. The end of term examinations are supervised and approved by the Academic Director and External Examiner.

Course Assessment

Students are assessed through a combination of termly written and oral examinations and continuous assessment. Students have to achieve 40% to pass. The term grade will consist of continuous assessment (30%) and end-of-term examination (70%).

Continuous assessment will be based on marked homework and tests, both written and oral. The end-of-term and the end-of-course exams will comprise oral and written parts.



£7,140.00 the course can be paid in two termly instalments of the following:

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

£10,995.00 the course can be paid in three termly instalments of the following:

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

*we apply a 5% discount to those who pay the full course fee at the start of Term 1

Student testimonial 2011

"This is an intensive, well designed, well organised course in which the four teaching strands of speaking, listening, reading, and writing are brought together to offer the prospective student a comprehensive Chinese learning experience. Regular assessment provides students with constructive learning advice, and ensures that what is learned is consolidated.  The course is an excellent introduction to Chinese, and a solid foundation for further language learning." Niall Coen

Philippa Marriott

"Chinese is undoubtably one of the most useful languages in the modern world, but also an exciting challenge. Although this course has been very intensive, I have learned so much more in this year than I thought I could. Seeing yourself grow into a more confident Chinese speaker after every lesson is deeply rewarding.The teachers give so much of their time to help to support us in furthering our language learning, both inside and outside of class." Philippa Marriott


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

  • Chinese for Everyone Books 1 and 2
  • Colloquial Chinese
  • A Trip to China
  • Understand China Through Newspaper Readings (Elementary)
  • Read This Way 1 and 2

Text books are supplied by the Language Centre.


Dates for the 2013 - 2014 session:
  • Term1: Monday 16h September 2013 to Friday 13th December 2013
  • Term2: Monday 6th January 2014 to Friday 4th April 2014
  • Term3: Tuesday 22nd April 2014 to Friday 30th July 2014

Applying for the course

To apply for a Language Centre Certificate/Diploma course you can download our application and payment forms, above right. Or contact us for the forms. Read the terms and conditions. Completed application forms, accompanied by the course fee, made payable to SOAS, should be returned to SOAS Language Centre.

The closing date for applications: 31/08/2014

We suggest you read the course description above and our terms and conditions before filling in the form. Admittance to the course is subject to interview, which includes an assessment of language level in the case of non-beginners.
The Language Centre contact for this course is Ms Wei Jin
Tel: 020 7898 4873