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Diploma and Certificate in Modern Japanese, Full-time

This is a one-year course with three terms

Mode of Attendance: Full Time


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

By the end of the course, students will be able to communicate effectively in Japanese in a wide range of situations, and be able to read and write Japanese with ease. They should have a good command of the language used in everyday and survival situations, social conversations, current affairs, and job related situations. Adopting the communicative approach in teaching Japanese, the course will develop the skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing in a balanced way. The course assumes no background knowledge of the language.

Students who complete Term I and Term II successfully are awarded the Certificate in Japanese. Students who complete Term II and Term III successfully are awarded the Diploma in Japanese. '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 (16.5 hours in term 2 and 3). In addition to the classroom contact hours, some individual tutorials will be available by appointment.

Most classes are held between 10 am and 1pm (and 2pm to 3.30pm on Wednesdays in term 2 and 3). 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.

Destinations of Diplomates

See reports about the course written by former Diploma students

And a former diplomate Gloria (2011-12) writes:

Gloria studies Japanaese at SOAS Language Centre

What I was looking for was a challenge, and the diploma at SOAS is definitely that. The course is the only one that I know is full time and focuses only on language. 

This is great as each week you can see your progress improving and it doesn't stop at just that. Not only am I improving in my language ability, my confidence is also benefiting from its intensity. 

It's a unique course with so much help and support packed into it.  



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

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

  • Communicate adequately within a range of social situations, using appropriate language strategies. They will be able to establish and maintain spoken contact with others, express opinions on a range of topics and deal with some non-routine activities with a degree of flexibility.
  • Obtain information, extract details and identify main ideas from written and spoken materials on a range of familiar topics. Materials used are largely tailor-made for teaching purposes but includes some media.
  • Recognise and write 600 Kanji (Chinese characters).
  • Write notes, short messages and compositions on familiar topics using a range of structures.
What can I do by the end of the Diploma Course?

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

  • Communicate effectively within a wide variety of situations, selecting and adapting appropriate language strategies. They will be able to seek, convey and respond to information, ideas and opinions in everyday social interactions as well as in discussions and debates.
  • Obtain general and specific ideas, opinions and information on a broad range of topics from a wide variety of written and spoken sources, including newspapers, magazines, journals, TV, video, films, etc.
  • Appreciate works of modern literature and develop an awareness of different writing styles in Japanese.
  • Recognise and write 1000 Kanji (Chinese characters).
  • Write summaries, reports and social and routine work-related correspondence. They will be able to convey ideas and opinions and present and debate arguments 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.

JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test):
end oflevel
Stage One (Certificate)N4
Stage Two (Diploma)N2/3
Common European Framework:
end oflevel
Stage One (Certificate)B1
Stage Two (Diploma)B2
Who teaches the classes?

SOAS Language Centre has a staff of over seventeen trained and experienced teachers of Japanese, backed by a co-ordinator, all under the academic supervision of a member of SOAS faculty.

At present full-time courses are usually taught by a team of four or more, each taking responsibility for different linguistic functions. The end of term examinations are supervised and approved by the Academic Director and External Examiner.


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.

Other academic activities

Language Centre students may attend public lectures and seminars available in the School , such as those organised by the Japan Research Centre and other Departments.

Kanji character for bird written by Ben Sage

Kanji character "bird" written by Ben Sage, Diploma student

Kanji character for love written by Ben Sage

Kanji character "love" written by Ben Sage, Diploma student












Travel award

The Hagio Prize is a £5,000 annual travel award open to students who are taking the SOAS Language Centre Diploma in Modern Japanese.



£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


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:

Certificate course : "Minna no Nihongo I & II"

Diploma course : "Téma-betsu Chú-kyú kara Manabu Nihongo".

Please note that as part of our ongoing commitment to improving all our programmes, the textbooks used in each term are under constant review to keep abreast of current best teaching practice and new materials developments.

Text books are supplied by the Language Centre.


Provisional dates for the 2013 - 2014 session:
  • Term1: Monday 16th September 2013 to Friday 13th December 2013
  • Term 2: Monday 6th January 2014 to Friday 4th April 2014
  • Term 3: 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 Mr Shin Okajima
tel: 020 7898 4874