SOAS University of London

SOAS Language Centre

Certificate & Diploma in Communicative Arabic

Programme Code: UOFD0001

Start of programme: Term 1 - Monday 23rd September 2019

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.

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 both the Term 2 and Term 3 units of the programme are awarded the Graduate Diploma in Communicative Arabic. 'Successful completion' means that the student has met the attendance requirements for each 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.

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 Language Centre Diploma (with a pass at Merit level) is recognised as an acceptable alternative entry qualification for admission to the SOAS BA Arabic degree. Diploma holders who pass with a Merit Grade (minimum 60%) and can demonstrate that they have the required academic standard for degree study may, following SOAS enrolment processes through UCAS and subject to a satisfactory interview with the Arabic Admissions Tutor, be accepted for further degree level study of Arabic.  Applicants interested in this progression option should, in the first instance, before they enrol, seek the advice of the Programme Convenor, Ms Ilham Salimane:



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 the programme and these may be obtained from the Language Centre or the SOAS bookshop.

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 Arabic Department of the School of Languages and Linguistics.


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 Academic Year 2019-20

Term 1: Monday 23rd September - Friday 13th December 2019

Term 2: Monday 6th January - Friday 27th March 2020

Easter Break is 28th March - 13th April 2020

Term 3: Tuesday 14th April - Friday 26th June 2020

Classes omitted for the Easter Monday Holiday on 13th April and the two May Monday Bank Holidays will be replaced in the final week of June, which is an additional week for catch-up and assessment.

Fees for Academic Year 2019-20 (3 Terms)

EU/Home: £9,000

Overseas: £11,250

The course fees for Home/EU students can be paid in two termly instalments of £4,500 each payable as follows:

First Instalment (or full fee for overseas fee payers) due 30th August 2019

Second Instalment due 14th February 2020 

For self-funding Home/EU fee students only, we offer a 5% discount to those who pay the full course fee at the start of the first term - deadline 6th September.

Students who require a study visa must pay the full fees for the whole course at the time of application. Payment must be made in good time to allow for visa processing.

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

No refunds of fees paid 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 very carefully 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. Please note that the guidance specifies that if you have a Level 6 qualification, you are not eligible for any SLC funding for any other study. This ruling applies even if you self-fund your Diploma. SLC funding is not currently available to students who wish to take the Certificate (Cert HE) only.

How to Apply

To apply for a Language Centre Certificate/Diploma programme you can download our  SOAS LC Application Form - Communicative Certificate & Diploma (msword; 96kb)   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.

Application Deadlines

Enrolment of overseas students requiring a Tier 4 study visa closes on Friday 30th August. Home/EU students may be considered for enrolment up till Friday 13th September, though early enrolment is advisable to secure a place. The number of students per class is limited, places fill up very quickly and we cannot guarantee there will still be places available in August.

Although study visa regulations allow for entry to the course up to two weeks after the start date, students should be at SOAS for the first day of the course on Monday 23rd September so as not to miss anything.

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

Tel: +44(0)20 7898 4595


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