Learning languages at SOAS
Developing language skills opens up a world of possibilities for dialogue, understanding, personal development and careers. 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.
We cover most of the major languages of Africa, the Middle East, East Asia, South Asia and South East Asia, modern and ancient. See a list of languages you can learn at SOAS - you'll also find a contact person listed for each language to answer any questions you may have on how to make learning a language part of your life at SOAS.
Languages within degree programmes are taught in various sections of the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, the School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics, and the SOAS Language Centre, which offers an even wider range of evening and weekend language classes.
Most language degrees are 4-year degrees, including a year abroad, but students pay reduced fees for the year abroad. See more details on tuition fees.
Professor Anne Pauwels - Languages for an interconnected world
Learning a language as part of your studies at SOAS
As the main focus of your degree
If you want to put learning a language at the heart of your studies, the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures and the School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics offer 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
SOAS Language Centre
The SOAS 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 main aim is to make the learning of languages accessible to people from all walks of life. SOAS students are entitled to a 25% discount on any of the regular evening or Saturday language classes.
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.