SOAS University of London

SOAS Language Centre

Certificate & Diploma in Communicative Chinese - Full-time

Programme Code: UOFD0002

Start of programme: Term 1 - Monday 28th September 2020

The Graduate Diploma in Chinese 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 Chinese programme at SOAS Language Centre in London is designed to prepare students with no previous knowledge of Chinese to live and study or work in a Chinese-speaking environment.

Students who successfully complete all three terms/units of the programme are awarded the Graduate Diploma in Communicative Chinese. '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 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, as well as writing in characters, and will be able to participate confidently in conversations that cover quite 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 the exact timetable being confirmed in the induction week. 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 out of class 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 learn to activate grammatical patterns and a wide range of vocabulary which they can use to express their own meanings accurately and appropriately, stimulating them to ‘think in Chinese’ 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 some core textbooks such as:

  • T’ung, P.C. and Pollard, D. E. (1983) Character Text for Colloquial Chinese. London: Antony Rowe
  • 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 the programme and these may be obtained from the Language Centre or the SOAS bookshop. As some books are available in different editions, please wait till you receive confirmation of the latest correct edition before you buy any.

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 induction 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

The programme attracts students from all over the world. This is what Constanza, from Italy, who recently completed the Diploma in Communicative Chinese, had to say about her her experience:

Chinese Communicative Diploma - Constanza

I came to the Chinese language course at the Language Centre, SOAS, University of London straight from graduating in Architecture in Milan. The first three months of the course helped to fix in my mind the basics of the language and then I moved on to more advanced writing and speaking skills.  The course requires a lot of study, it is fast-paced and intensive, but I have gained a lot of satisfaction from it. Language is a vital way into the understanding of a different culture and the way other people think, and the Language Centre at SOAS has given me the confidence in Chinese which is essential for me to succeed in my future career in China.” Constanza Mondani


Term Dates for 2020-2021

The term dates for 2020-2021 will be published here shortly. The approximate start date of the course is Monday 28th September 2020.

Fees for the 2020-2021 Entry Diploma (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; the payment deadlines for the fees instalments will be published here shortly.

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.

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.


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.

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

Tel: +44(0)20 7898 4771


For further information about the content and structure of the programme, please contact the programme convener, Mr Yuegang Jin, Acting Chinese Language Specialist:

Tel: +44(0)20 7898 4870