SOAS University of London

SOAS Language Centre

Certificate & Diploma in Communicative Chinese - Full-time

Programme Code: UOFD0002

Start of programme: Term 2 - Monday 9th January 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 Unit 1 progress to Unit 2. Students who successfully complete Units 1 and 2 are awarded the Certificate in Communicative Chinese and may progress to Unit 3. Students who successfully complete Units/Terms 2 and 3 are awarded the Diploma in Communicative Chinese. 'Successful completion' means that the student has met the attendance requirements for the term, has submitted satisfactory course work and passed the end-of-unit oral and written 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.

AwardLanguage LevelCEFR CategoryCEFR BandHSK
Certificate Intermediate Threshold B1 Level 3
Diploma Upper-Intermediate Vantage B2 Level 4

Progression to a SOAS Degree

It is possible, in some cases, for Diploma holders who pass with a merit grade (60%0 and can demonstrate that they have the required academic standard, to progress to the BA Chinese Studies degree. Further details about progression requirements will be posted here shortly. Meanwhile, applicants interested in progression options should, in the first instance, before they enrol, seek the advice of the Programme Convenor, Mr Shejiao Xu.



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.

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:

  • Su, D., Atkinson, J. and Zhang, G. (2004) Chinese for Everyone. London: Cypress Book Co. UK Ltd
  • 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

The required materials 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 termly written and oral examinations and continuous assessment.

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 2016-2017

Term 2: 9th January - 31st March 2017

Term 3: 18th April - 16th June 2017

NOTE: Students must be present also during the following exam week as 2 Mondays lost to Bank Holidays will be made up and exams will take place between 19th and 23rd June.

Fees for the Diploma

Two terms: £6,000.00

NOTE: Only Home/EU students are eligible to enter in Term 2.

The course fees for Home/EU students can be paid in three termly instalments as follows:

  • Term 2: £3,000.00
  • Term 3: £3,000.00

Students who enrol on this programme may apply for a Professional and Career Development Loan (PCDL) to cover the fees. For further information on this, please follow the link below:

Career Development Loans

* For Self-Funding students only, we offer a 5% discount to those who pay the full course fee at the start of the first term.

How to Apply

To apply for a Language Centre Certificate/Diploma programme you can download our application and payment forms 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 Overseas applicants, you will need to apply for a student visa and you are only eligible to apply for the whole duration of the programme throughout three academic terms. Overseas students' applications are welcome for the 2017/2018 academic year. For the details of the Tier 4 visa application process, see our guidelines page.

Application Deadlines

Enrolment of overseas students continues till Monday 9th January latest, though early enrolment is advisable to secure a place.

The Language Centre contact for this programme is Mr Shejiao Xu, Senior Chinese Teacher.