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Faculty of Languages and Cultures

Language Entitlement Programme

SOAS would like all of its undergraduate students to possess at least a basic working knowledge of one of the languages of Africa, Asia or the Middle East by the time they graduate. With the language entitlement programme if you are a SOAS undergraduate, regardless of your department or degree registration, you are entitled to register for one language course during your time with us for free, and we hope that you will consider doing so.  

Ideally, you will take one or more languages courses in one of the School’s Language and Culture departments as a part of your degree.  Degree syllabus requirements vary across the School, but every syllabus does allow you to take at least two courses outside your department during your time at SOAS.  You do not need to have any qualification in or experience of language study to take language courses in this way. Simply visit the Languages and Cultures Faculty Office (Room 351) at the beginning of the academic year and complete the relevant form.

If you are unsure whether you have the aptitude for language learning, and are therefore reluctant to risk taking a language course as a part of your degree, you are entitled to take (a) either a 1-unit language course in one of the Departments at the appropriate level, or (b) a one-term non-credit-bearing beginner’s course in the SOAS Language Centre, in addition to your four required courses. This course will not count towards your degree credits and classification, but you will receive a certificate of attendance and, if you submit coursework and take the exam, your marks.


If you want to take a language entitlement course, this is what you should do:

Year 1 students: Year 1 students will not normally be able to take a Language Centre course in Term 1; to apply for a Language course in Term 2 you need to submit the application form to the Faculty Office before the beginning of Reading Week of term 1.  To apply for a place on a language course in one of the Departments, you must submit an application form by the end of Welcome week. This form should be signed by your Personal Advisor and by the course convenor.

Students in other years: You can apply to take a Language Centre course either via the route above (for courses beginning in Terms 2 or 3) or through the ‘signing up for courses’ procedure (for courses beginning in Terms 1, 2 or 3) towards the end of your first year.
For Department courses you apply though the route above.

Please note that:

  • We cannot guarantee that you will be able to get onto your chosen course immediately because we only have so many teachers and so many rooms, and the demand for certain languages is high.  Please be patient if you find you have to wait (or consider taking a different language). Availability of places on each course is limited, and places will be allocated on first come first basis
  • Some Departments have a set test during Welcome Week to identify the right entry level for each student, and you will need to take it: please check on the Welcome Week leaflet for the time and location
  • availability of places will also be subject to timetabling: if there are timetable clashes, you may not be able to take that particular course
  • Some of the courses will only run subject to quorum
  • You may not take more than one course in the Language Centre, unless you pay for the additional course yourself.