SOAS University of London

Learn a Language

Language Entitlement Programme Arrangements for 2018-19

Language learning is a key aspect of the SOAS experience. We teach more than 20 modern and a range of classical languages, ensuring broad coverage of our regions of interest. No other UK university offers the choice of African, Asian, and Middle Eastern languages we do.

One of SOAS’s key aims is to produce graduates who can understand and interpret the world through a relevant language. It is our aim that all SOAS students have the opportunity to gain at least some knowledge of the languages of Africa, Asia and the Middle East taught in our world class language departments, with their rich array of approaches and perspectives on the language and culture of a region. 

Languages are closely embedded in our research and in our teaching, and we believe that language study should be embedded in students’ programmes of study and an integral part of their curriculum. It is the close connection between language study and discipline study which underpins students’ engagement with and understanding of associated societies, histories and cultures.

For students starting in 2018-19 language-learning embedded in your programme of study for credit or be taken alongside your degree study not for credit, either in a Language Department or in the SOAS Language Centre.

Language Study for Credit

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 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 onwards, our students’ opportunity to learn a language 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. These languages are key regional languages in the areas we specialise in and many of them can only be studied at SOAS. Taking a module in one of these strategically important languages is an exciting, intellectually and personally enriching experience and adds a distinctive element to your CV.

Language Study Not for Credit

In the small number of cases where there is no language option for UG programmes in their first year or for PGT programmes, non-credit bearing language courses can be taken as academic modules in our strategically important and vulnerable languages. These modules will be housed inside language departments and have close links with them. The following strategically important and vulnerable languages will be available as non-credit bearing options in the language departments for undergraduate and masters students:

Region Languages
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

Alternatively, all SOAS students may take any of the Language Centre language courses throughout the year, including summer, paying the SOAS student discounted fee (25% off), whether or not the degree programme offers a language option
for free in Term 2 provided the student is eligible for a free LEP class – see below.

Transition from Previous LEP Free Classes: Academic Year 2018-19 Only

  • New students enrolled for 2018-19 are not entitled to a free additional language class.
  • Students who joined SOAS before 2018-19 and who have not yet taken a free LEP class are still entitled to a free additional language class.

Term 2 Language Classes in the Language Centre

During this year of transition to the new LEP arrangements, students who joined SOAS before 2018-19 and who have not yet taken a free LEP class in the Language Centre will still be able to have a free class. This includes all under-graduate and post-graduate students, full-time or part-time and students on joint degrees who registered prior to this academic year.

Other students may also be eligible, if they are unable to take an open option class during their time at SOAS.

All SOAS students who are not eligible for LEP or those who want to take a second language class can enrol for any Language Centre course at the special student price (25% discount). More details on Language Centre enrolment.

How do the free LEP classes in the Language Centre work?

  • 2-hour class, once a week, in the evening
  • Over 10 consecutive weeks in Term 2 starting the week beginning 14th January
  • Tuition is free but there is a £20, non-refundable admin fee
  • All levels of course are available but post-beginners must take an assessment first
  • You may need to buy course materials
  • There are no exams and the courses are not credit-bearing; however, you can request a certificate of attendance
  • Places in classes are offered on a first-come basis depending on places available
  • In enrolling for a class, students accept the  .

We have extended the enrolment deadlines to 2nd January for ‘Beginner’ classes and 7th January for ‘Post-Beginner’ classes.

Please contact Romany Luckock at the SOAS Language Centre ( +44 (0)20 7898 4595) to enrol.

If you wish to enrol in a Beginner class, please quote the name of the course, the day and the course code in your mail to Romany. You will find the information on the schedule of beginner classes at . The first choice of language for this free class is not guaranteed and so you should send Romany 2nd and 3rd choices as a back-up.

If you wish to enrol as a ‘Post-Beginner’, you cannot choose a class and will need to take a placement test in early January (7th-9th), so tell Romany which language you'd like and book with her to do the test in good time.