SOAS University of London

Learn a Language

Learning Languages at SOAS

Learning a language enables you to communicate; it gives direct access to foreign-language sources. Learning a language opens up a world of possibilities for dialogue, understanding, personal development and careers: languages set you free.

Degrees at SOAS can include language courses in more than 40 African and Asian languages - indeed it is SOAS students’ command of an African or Asian language which sets SOAS apart from other universities.

On the list of languages you can learn at SOAS you’ll find most of the major languages of Africa, the Middle East, East Asia, South Asia and South East Asia, modern and ancient.  A contact person is listed for each language on the Languages you can learn at SOAS page to whom you can address questions on how to make learning a language part of your life at SOAS.

Languages within degree programmes are taught in the various departments and sections of the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures and the School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics, as well as the SOAS Language Centre, which offers an even wider range of evening and weekend language classes.

Most language degrees are four-year degrees, including a year abroad, but students pay reduced fees for the year abroad. More information on tuition fees.

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Professor Anne Pauwels - Languages for an interconnected world

All SOAS students can learn a language as part of their studies at SOAS:

As part of your degree ...

Nearly all SOAS degree programmes can include language learning as a credit-bearing part of the degree structure. As a SOAS student, this is how you complement your studies of history, culture, politics, society, linguistics or economics with the study of an Asian or African language (List of SOAS programmes with language options).

As the main focus of your degree ...

If you want to put learning a language at the heart of your studies, the Faculty of Languages & Cultures offers a wide range of degree programmes that combine language learning with studying the literatures and cultures of Africa, the Middle East, East Asia, South Asia and South East Asia.

As part of a combined degree …

You can combine all language programmes with another discipline (for example, BA Swahili & Development Studies, BA Japanese & Social Anthropology, BA Persian & History, BA Chinese & Economics, BA Burmese & Politics, BA South Asian Studies & Law and many more).

Through the Language Entitlement Programme (LEP)...

The Language Entitlement Programme gives SOAS students the opportunity to include language learning at SOAS as an extra activity at no additional charge.  Under this scheme you can take language courses in either the regional departments or the Language Centre.

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Sound bites

SOAS Language Centre

The Language Centre is unique, offering short courses, certificates and diplomas within a wide range of languages, major international ones such as Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese and Korean as well as the languages of Asia and Africa. Its principal aim is to make the learning of languages accessible to people from all walks of life. SOAS Language Centre.

International Foundation Courses and English Language Studies 

International Students can also benefit from a range of English language-related programmes offered by the International Foundation Courses and English Language Studies (IFCELS) department at SOAS. These programmes include university preparation and language improvement courses for undergraduate and postgraduate students.

State-of-the-art language learning facilities

Dedicated language laboratories and two open access language resource rooms are available to language students, and a recording studio provides facilities for the production of audio and video tapes. Students and staff also have access to satellite television offering about 30 channels and the School has direct lines to the overseas service of the BBC.

Specialist language teaching and research

The Faculty of Languages and Cultures is home to the joint SOAS-University College London Centre of Excellence in the Teaching and Learning of ‘Languages of the Wider World’, launched in 2005. It promotes and supports excellence in the teaching and learning of less commonly taught languages, particularly those of the Middle East, Africa, Asia and also Europe. These languages include many of growing civic and strategic importance, and it will significantly enhance their national and international profile.

Major research currently under way in the Faculty includes work on endangered languages, comparative literature and a range of other cultural and linguistic topics.