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SOAS Language Centre

Certificate & Diploma in Communicative Chinese - Full-time

Programme Code: UOFD0002

Start of programme: Monday 5th October 2015

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

Mode of Attendance: Full-time


The Diploma in Communicative Chinese at SOAS Language Centre in London is designed to prepare students with no previous knowledge of Chinese to live and work in a Chinese-speaking environment.

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

Tel: +44 (0)20 7898 4785
Email: sx1@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 Chinese and may progress to Term 3. Students who successfully complete Units/Terms 2 and 3 are awarded the Diploma in Communicative Chinese. '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 Chinese in a limited range of situations and be able to read and write basic Chinese 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 Chinese in a wide range of social and professional situations and be able to read and write Chinese 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 BandHSK
CertificateIntermediateThresholdB1Level 3
DiplomaUpper-IntermediateVantageB2Level 4

Progression to Degree

The Diploma qualification can exempt Diploma holders from the first year of some SOAS language degrees. Students taking the Diploma may apply, through the UCAS process, for entry to year 2 of the appropriate language BA. All aspects of the application will be considered on an individual basis, with a Merit (60%) grade on the Diploma being the expected level for admission.


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 Chinese 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:

Su, D., Atkinson, J. and Zhang, G. (2004) Chinese for Everyone. London: Cypress Book Co. UK Ltd

T’ung, P.C. and Pollard, D. E. (1983) Character Text for Colloquial Chinese. London: Antony Rowe, Chippenham, Wiltshire

Chou, C., Chao, D and Gao, C. (2012) A Trip to China. Princeton: Princeton 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 London Confucius Institute based at SOAS and the SOAS China Centre.


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 Philippa, a recent graduate from the Chinese diploma programme, had to say about the course:

Philippa Marriott
"Chinese is undoubtedly 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


Term Dates for 2015-2016

Term 1: Monday 5th October 2015 - Friday 18 December 2015
Term 2: Monday 4 January 2016 - Friday 25 March 2016
Term 3: Monday 11 April 2016 - Friday 8th July 2016


Students who enrol on this programme may apply for a Professional and Career Development Loan (PCDL) to cover the fees. For further information on this, please follow the link below:
Funding Your Studies

Certificate, 2 Terms:
Home/EU Students: £7,140.00 *

The course can be paid in two termly instalments as follows:

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

Overseas Students: £8,450.00 *

To qualify for a Tier 4 VISA, all overseas students must pay their course tuition fees in full upon accepting their offer.
Diploma, 3 Terms:
Home/EU Students: £9,000 *

The course can be paid in three termly instalments as follows:

   Term 1: £3,570.00
   Term 2: £3,570.00
   Term 3: £1,860.00

Overseas Students:  £10,995.00 *

To qualify for a Tier 4 VISA, all overseas students must pay their course tuition fees in full upon accepting their offer.

* For Self-Funding students only, 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.

For Overseas applicants, you will need to apply for a student visa. To start this process, see our guidelines page.

Closing date for applications for Overseas Students: 28th August, 2015.
Closing date for applications for UK/EU Students: Friday 2nd October, 2015.

Places fill up very quickly and, to be sure of a place on the course, you should enrol as soon as possible.

The Language Centre contact for this programme is Mr Shejiao Xu.
Email: sx1@soas.ac.uk