SOAS University of London

SOAS Language Centre

Certificate & Diploma in Communicative Arabic

Programme Code: UOFD0001

Start of programme: Term 1 - Monday 24th September 2018

The Graduate Diploma in Arabic is a one-year programme with three syllabus units (5 study modules) taught over three terms in one academic year. However, direct entry to Term 2 is possible depending on a satisfactory assessment of current language ability at post-beginner level.

Mode of Attendance: Full-time


The Diploma in Communicative Arabic programme at SOAS Language Centre in London is designed to prepare students with no previous knowledge of Arabic to live and work in an Arabic-speaking environment.

Students who successfully complete Unit/Term 3 are awarded the Graduate Diploma in Communicative Arabic. 'Successful completion' means that the student has met the attendance requirements for the Unit/Term, submitted satisfactory course work and passed all the end-of- unit/term exams.

A student awarded the Diploma will be able to communicate effectively in Arabic in a wide range of social and professional situations and be able to read and write Arabic of considerable complexity, ranging across a wide variety of topics. S/he will have an assured command of the grammar and vocabulary of the language and be able to participate confidently in conversations that cover more sophisticated topics and/or involve mixed registers.

Any student who has not met all the requirements to be awarded the Diploma or are unable to complete the full academic ear of study may be awarded the Certificate of Higher Education as an exit award, if they have completed the first and second terms of study and successfully met all the assessment requirements.

How do these awards compare with other standards?

Approximate equivalents with other recognised standards of language proficiency are given below for general guidance only.

Award Language Level CEFR Category CEFR Band Al-Arabiyya  Test
Certificate Intermediate Threshold B1 Intermediate
Diploma Upper Intermediate Vantage B2 Upper Intermediate

Progression to a SOAS Degree

The SOAS Graduate Diploma (with a pass at Merit level) is recognised as an acceptable alternative entry qualification for admission to the SOAS BA Arabic degree.


The course is scheduled to run Monday to Friday daytime. In addition to the classroom contact hours and scheduled online sessions, some small group or individual tutorials will be available by appointment. The programme is very demanding and students will be expected to spend at least 20 hours of study outside class every week and make full use of their Self-Study learning time.

The programme is based on the communicative approach to teaching Arabic and develops the skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing in a balanced way. Students will also learn to activate grammatical patterns and acquire a wide range of vocabulary which they can use to express their meanings accurately and appropriately. The programme is continually adapted to students’ learning needs and so the pattern of learning activities varies from session to session.


In addition to audio-visual materials and a variety of original materials supplied by the teachers, the course is based on a number of core textbooks such as:

  • Brustad, K., Albatal, M. & Al-Tonsi, A. (2010) Alif Baa Introduction to Arabic Letters and Sounds. 3rd Ed. Washington: Georgetown University Press
  • Brustad, K., Albatal, M. & Al-Tonsi, A. (2004) Al-Kitaab Fii Ta Allum Al- Arabiyya: Pt. 1. 2nd Ed. Washington: Georgetown University Press
  • Brustad, K., Albatal, M. & Al-Tonsi, A. (2005) Al-Kitaab Fii Ta Allum Al- Arabiyya: Pt. 2. 2nd Ed. Washington: Georgetown University Press

On enrolment, you will be advised as to which materials you are required to buy for any specific year and these may be obtained from the Language Centre.

Other Learning Opportunities

Students will have the opportunity to attend relevant seminars and lectures available in the School, such as those organised by the Centre of Near and Middle Eastern Studies, Centre Of Islamic Studies, Centre for Islamic and Middle Eastern Law and the Department of the Languages and Cultures of Near and Middle East.


Students are assessed through a combination of written and oral examinations and coursework. Further details are provided in the Programme Handbook which will be given to enrolled students in the first week.

Student Evaluation

Our students are very positive about the quality of the learning experience at the Language Centre. This is how Tom, who completed the programme in 2016-2017, describes his experience:

Arabic Diploma Student - Tom

"SOAS's Diploma in Communicative Arabic is the ideal intensive course for anyone who wants to get a proper grounding of the Arabic language. It covers all the key skills and grammar required to live and work in the Middle East. From being able to deliver presentations in Arabic to analysing the latest news on Al-Jazeera, the level of progress students undergo on this course is remarkable. The teaching staff are inspirational, dedicated in encouraging students to feel confident with the Arabic language. The unique communicative emphasis of the course means that students speak in Arabic from the first day. Choose the Arabic Diploma and enjoy one of the most rewarding learning experiences for language students".

This is what Ahmed, a former student, had to say about his language diploma course:

Ahmed Bobat

"Whether it be in learning a language or baking a cake, when looking to create success, one must have a recipe to follow. The Diploma in Communicative Arabic is that recipe. From incredibly motivating and inspiring teachers who go far beyond what can ever be expected of them, to a course curriculum that could not have been better structured - the foundations of excellence are very well laid. And then you add course materials which seem to understand the difficulties of Arabic learners, and last but not least an amazing group of class mates to keep that motivation going. Blend together with a year of solid personal effort and there you have it - success."


Term Dates for 2018-2019

Term 1: Monday 24th September - Friday 14th December 2018

Term 2: Monday 7th January - Friday 29th March 2019

Easter Break is 30th March - 23rd April

Term 3: Tuesday 23rd April - Friday 28th June 2019

Classes suspended for the Easter Monday Holiday and the two May Monday Bank Holidays will be replaced by agreed arrangement.

Fees for the Diploma (3 Terms)

Overseas Students: £10,995

Home/EU Students: £9,000.00

Students who require a Tier 4 visa must pay the full fees for the whole course at the time of application, with no discount. Payment must be made in good time to allow for visa processing.

Students paying overseas fees, but not requiring a Tier 4 visa, may either pay the full course fee by the enrolment deadline, 17th September 2018, in which case we offer a 5% discount, or pay in two equal instalments as follows:

Instalment 1 due 17th September 2018

Instalment 2 due 15 February 2019

Students paying home/EU fees may either pay the full course fee by the enrolment deadline, 24th August 2018, in which case we offer a 5% discount, or pay in three equal instalments as follows:

Instalment 1 due 17th September 2018

Instalment 2 due 23rd November 2018

Instalment 3 due 22nd March 2019

Please note:

Students not wishing to continue to Term 2 and complete the Certificate must notify us by 30th November 2018 at the latest. They will be withdrawn from the Certificate programme before the December assessments and can attend classes in December as auditors only.

Students who withdraw by 30th November but have paid for the Certificate and/or Diploma terms may be given a full or partial refund of the remaining fees depending on the circumstances of withdrawal and at the discretion of the Language Centre Director.

No refunds for Term 1 can be given once the term has started.

No refunds can be given to students who do not notify us of their intended withdrawal by 30th November.

Students enrolling on the Graduate Diploma programme are eligible for funding through the UK Student Loan Company providing they meet the requirements set by the SLC. Applicants are asked to read and understand the guidance for the SLC funding on the SOAS Fees webpage and seek advice from the Programme Administrator if they have any questions about their eligibility. Funding is not currently available to students who wish to take the Certificate (Cert HE) only.

Students who enrol on this programme and do not qualify for SLC funding may instead apply for a Professional and Career Development Loan (PCDL) to cover fees. For further information on this, please follow the link below:

Career Development Loans

How to Apply

To apply for a Language Centre Certificate/Diploma programme you can download our  SOAS LC Application Form - Communicative Certificate & Diploma (msword; 102kb)   and  Cert and Diploma Payment Form (msword; 47kb)   or contact us for the forms. Please read the Terms and Conditions before filling in the forms. Completed application forms, accompanied by the course fee, made payable to SOAS, should be returned to SOAS Language Centre.

Applications from Overseas Students are welcome for the 2018/2019 academic year. For the details of the Tier 4 visa application process, see our guidelines page.

Application Deadlines

Enrolment of overseas students closes on Monday 17th September, though early enrolment is advisable to secure a place. The number of students per class is limited and places fill up very quickly.

Please note that, although visa regulations technically allow students to arrive up to 10 days after the course start date, this is not feasible for this particular programme. All students need to be at SOAS for the first day of the course and all should be able to attend the induction day on Friday 21st September prior to the start of the programme.

All overseas applicants need to have started the process of obtaining a Tier 4 Student Visa at least three months in advance of the closing date.

Home/EU applicants may apply up till Monday 17th September latest, but early application is recommended as all places may be filled by this date.

For further information about the content and structure of the programme, please contact the programme convener, Ms Ilham Salimane, Arabic Language Specialist:

For further information about applying and enrolling for the programme, please contact the Arabic Language Administrator, Ms Romany Luckock: