SOAS University of London

SOAS Language Centre

Certificate & Diploma in Communicative Chinese - Full-time

Programme Code: UOFD0002

Start of programme: Term 1 - Monday 25th September 2017

This is a one-year programme with three syllabus units 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 Chinese programme at SOAS Language Centre in London is designed to prepare students with no previous knowledge of Chinese to live and work in a Chinese-speaking environment.

Students who successfully complete Units 1 and 2 (Terms 1 and 2) are awarded the Certificate of Higher Education in Communicative Chinese and then progress to Term 3 for the Diploma. Students who successfully complete Unit/Term 3 are awarded the Graduate Diploma in Communicative Chinese. 'Successful completion' means that the student has met the attendance requirements for the Unit/Term term, submitted satisfactory course work and passed all the end-of-unit/term exams.

A student awarded the Certificate will be able to communicate effectively in Chinese in a limited range of situations and be able to read and write basic Chinese with ease. S/he will have a good command of the language used in survival situations, social conversations, everyday transactions, discussions of current affairs and in various job-related contexts.

A student awarded the Diploma will be able to communicate effectively in Chinese in a wide range of social and professional situations and be able to read and write Chinese 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 HSK
Certificate Intermediate Threshold B1 Level 3
Diploma Upper-Intermediate Vantage B2 Level 4


The course is scheduled to run Monday to Friday daytime, with classes typically being held either in the late morning or early afternoon. 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 Chinese 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:

  • T’ung, P.C. and Pollard, D. E. (1983) Character Text for Colloquial Chinese. London: Antony Rowe, Chippenham, Wiltshire
  • Chou, C., Chao, D and Gao, C. (2012) A Trip to China. Princeton: Princeton University Press
  • Li, M. and Wang, Y. (2013). Chinese Listening. Beijing: Beijing Language and Culture 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 London Confucius Institute based at SOAS and the SOAS China Centre.


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 what Philippa, a recent graduate from the Chinese diploma programme, had to say about the course:

Philippa Marriott
"Chinese is undoubtedly one of the most useful languages in the modern world, but also an exciting challenge. Although this course has been very intensive, I have learned so much more in this year than I thought I could. Seeing yourself grow into a more confident Chinese speaker after every lesson is deeply rewarding. The teachers give so much of their time to help to support us in furthering our language learning, both inside and outside of class." Philippa Marriott


Term Dates for 2017-2018

Term 1: 25th September - 15th December 2017

Term 2: 8th January - 28th March 2018 (including Certificate exam days)

Term 3: 16th April - 29th June 2018 (including Diploma exam days)

Fees for the Diploma (3 Terms)

Overseas Students: £10,995

Overseas Students must pay the full fees for the whole course at the time of application in order to qualify for a Tier 4 visa.

Home/EU students: £9,000.00

Home/EU students may pay their course fees in three termly instalments of £3,000 each two weeks before the start of each term.

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.

Students enrolling on this programme 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.

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 2017/2018 academic year. For information on the Tier 4 (General) Student Visa application process, see our guidelines page.

Application Deadlines

Enrolment of overseas students closes on Friday 25th August, 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 22nd 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 Friday 7th 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 convenor, Dr Shejiao Xu, Senior Chinese Teacher.

Tel: +44(0)20 7898 4968


For further information about applying and enrolling for the programme, please contact the Chinese Language Administrator, Mr Matthew Oryang:

Tel: +44(0)20 7898 4771