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 ...
The Language Entitlement Programme for 2018-19

In order to strengthen language study at SOAS, we have developed the curriculum of our programmes over recent years to ensure that language study is part of the module choices available in almost all our of our UG and PG programmes. Students can now choose a language option as an integral part of their degree in the vast majority of our programmes.

This means that from 2018-19 our students’ entitlement to learn a language (the LEP) will be embedded in their degree-level programme of study.  As well as providing pedagogically sound language provision nested in clear student support functions, this kind of language provision is linked to credit-earning, and so is included on a SOAS transcript and then becomes a clear and evident skill on a student CV.

This model of language provision is part of our long-term strategy to maintain and strengthen teaching, research, and scholarship in a wide range of African, Asian, and Middle Eastern languages, which add to SOAS’s academic mission and distinctiveness.

LEP for programmes starting in 2018-19 - in cases where structure does not allow credit-bearing options

In the small number of cases where there is no language option for UG programmes in their first year or for PGT programmes, then the LEP will be offered as a non-credit bearing language course in one of our strategically important and vulnerable languages.

These modules will be housed inside departments and have close links with them.

The following strategically important and vulnerable languages will be available as non-credit bearing options for such undergraduate and masters students:

Region Language
Africa Amharic, Hausa, Somali, Swahili, Yoruba, Zulu
Near and Middle East Hebrew, Persian, Turkish
South Asia Bengali, Hindi, Nepali, Punjabi, Urdu
South East Asia Burmese, Indonesian, Thai, Vietnamese
East Asia Tibetan
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 …

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

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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 students are entitled to a 25% discount on any of the regular evening or Saturday language classes. 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.