SOAS University of London

SOAS Language Centre

Certificate & Diploma in Communicative Arabic

Programme Code: UOFD0001

Start of programme: Term 2 - Monday 7th January 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. 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 with the right entry level to join in January complete Term 2 then progress to Term 3 for the Diploma. 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 2019

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 (2 Terms)

Overseas Students: £8,450.00

Overseas Students must pay the full fees for the whole course at the time of application.

Home/EU Students: £7,500.00

The course fees for Home/EU students can be paid in two instalments of £3,750 each payable, at the latest, two weeks in advance of each term.

Please note:

Students who enrol on this programme for two terms from January are not eligible for funding through the UK Student Loan Company.

Students who enrol on this programme may 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

Fees for the 2019-2020 Entry (3 Terms)

EU/Home:  £9,000

Overseas: £11,250

The course fees for Home/EU students can be paid in three termly instalments of £3,000 each payable one month in advance of each term:

Term 1 Instalment (or full fee) due 23rd August 2019

Term 2 Instalment due 22nd November 2019

Term 3 Instalment due 20th March 2020

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

Fees for the Diploma (2 Terms) January 2020 Entry

Overseas Students: £8,500

Home/EU Students: £7,900

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.

Students not requiring a study visa may either pay the full course fee by 20th Dec 2019, in which case we offer a 5% discount, or pay in two equal instalments as follows:

Instalment 1 due 6th January 2020

Instalment 2 due 20th March 2020

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 entry in January 2019 and students may come to study on the programme with a Short Term (6 months) Study Visa.

Application Deadlines

Enrolment of overseas students closes on Friday 14th December. Home/EU students may be considered for enrolment up till Friday 4th January, though early enrolment is advisable to secure a place. The number of students per class is limited and places fill up very quickly.

All students need to be at SOAS for the first day of the course on Monday 7th January.

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: