SOAS University of London

SOAS Language Centre

Certificate & Diploma in Communicative Japanese, Full-time

Programme Code: UOFD0003

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

The Graduate Diploma in Japanese 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


Covid-19 update:  
We are pleased to announce that SOAS Language Centre Diplomas will be offered fully online from September to December 2020. From January 2021, depending on Government advice, teaching may combine on campus, online and blended learning. For more information and updates please see the SOAS Support page for future students:

SOAS is very well prepared for online teaching with 20 years’ experience of distance learning programmes, and offers platforms that include student/teacher interactions, student/student interactions, lively discussions, and full student support.

Here are some student testimonials from the 2019-2020 cohort of the Diploma in Communicative Arabic, who had to move to online learning since the start of the exceptional circumstances caused by COVID-19

Sophie: "The transition to online learning was surprisingly smooth due in part to the student’s enthusiasm but also to the flexibility and dedication of our teachers and their passion for teaching the Arabic language. Together, we managed to re-create the positive, lively atmosphere that we had in class due to the camaraderie between students and teachers."

Zane: “After returning to the United States once classes were put online at SOAS, it was reassuring that the professors were able to help students adapt not only to online learning, but that they worked with students across various time zones to foster the best possible experience.”

Programme Descriptions

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

Students who successfully complete both the Term 2 and Term 3 units of the programme are awarded the Graduate Diploma in Communicative Japanese. '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 Japanese in a wide range of social and professional situations and be able to read and write Japanese 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.

Any student who has not met all the requirements to be awarded the Diploma or are unable to complete the full academic year of study may be awarded the Certificate of Higher Education as an exit award, if they have completed the first and second terms of study and successfully met all the assessment requirements.

The certificate has two stages, comprising 120 credits:

In term 1, students will study two 30-credit modules one at level 4 and one at level 5.

In term 2, students will study a further two 30-credit modules, one at level 5 and one at level 6.

Modules: You will study all the following Credits
Module 1: Acquiring Skills 30 @ level 4
Module 2: Improving Skills 1 30 @ level 5
Module 3: Improving Skills 2 30 @ level 5
Module 4: Extending Skills 30 @ level 6

The Diploma has one stage, comprising 50 credits:

In term 3, students will study a 50-credit module at level 6.

Modules: You will study all the following Credits
Module 1: Developing Skills 50 @ level 6

Students exit the Diploma with a total of 170 credits.

Entry requirements:

Admittance to the course is subject to interview, which includes an assessment of language level in the case of non-beginner. Provided they pass the entry exam and necessary modules test, students may join at the start of Term 2 to register for Diploma level but cannot join thereafter.

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 JLPT
N/A Elementary Waystage A2 Level N5
Certificate Intermediate Threshold B1 Level N4
Diploma Upper-Intermediate Vantage B2 Level N2/3

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 Japanese 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 Japanese Admissions Tutor, be accepted for further degree level study of Japanese. However, students are advised to check the implications for the funding of their degree – see Section on SLC Funding below. Applicants interested in this progression option should, in the first instance, before they enrol, seek the advice of the Programme Convenor, Mr Shin Okajima:



The course is scheduled to run Monday to Friday daytime. In addition to the classroom contact hours, some 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 Japanese 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 course is based on several core textbooks such as:

  • 3A Network (2012) Minna no Nihongo I dai2han. Tokyo: 3A Network
  • 3A Network (2013) Minna no Nihongo II dai2han. Tokyo: 3A Network
  • Matsuda, H. et al. (2016) Téma-betsu Chú-kyú kara Manabu Nihongo Santeiban. Tokyo: Kenkyuusha

On enrolment, you will be advised as to which materials you are required to buy for the programme.

Other Learning Opportunities

Students will have the opportunity to attend relevant seminars and lectures available in the School, such as those organised by the Japan Research Centre. The convener will also let the students know of events organised by the Japan Foundation in London, SOAS Japan society, and other Japan-related agencies.

The Hagio Prize

The Hagio Prize is a very unique £5,000 annual project award open only to students who are taking the Japanese Diploma programme at SOAS, which so far has realised the dreams of 20 students.


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 Phi Minh, a 2016 diploma graduate in Japanese, had to say about his language diploma course:

Phi Minh's Testimonial (Japanese Diploma Graduate)

"This is the only course I know of which focuses so much on language, but through that I got to learn about Japanese culture and history. Although it was very intense, I grew to enjoy the routine and thanks to the material covered on the course, I feel ready to use what I've learned in Japan. It was incredibly rewarding and I met many amazing people in and outside of the course thanks to my rapid weekly progress. Because of this, I was able to use this Japanese Diploma to help me get into the BA Japanese degree which SOAS offers, which was one of the key reasons why I decided to do the diploma. It’s a course I’d definitely recommend.

The Diploma in Communicative Japanese can open up new career opportunities in Japan. Thom Power, one of the diploma graduates, was able to obtain a full working visa to live and work in Japan using this qualification for visa requirements.

Thom Power

"My year taking the course flew by and the entire experience was very enlightening and rewarding. Through the intense language focused learning the very informative teachers who lead the course also showed me how the language ties into Japanese culture too.
Even though I don't have a university degree, I applied for a full working visa to live and work, full time, in Japan. Thanks to this course being classed as a Level 6 qualification my application was accepted and since then I have had the visa extended for a 2nd year in a row.
After completing the course I have since passed the JLPT N2 examination and feel equipped to handle anything Japan has in store for me."

Diplomates - Reports by Former Students of the Diploma in Communicative Japanese


Term Dates for Academic Year 2020-21

Term 1: Monday 28th September - Friday 18th December 2020

Term 2: Monday 4th January - Friday 26th March 2021

Term 3: Monday 12th April - Friday 25th June 2021

Classes omitted the two May Monday Bank Holidays (3rd May & 31st May) will be replaced in the final week of June, which is an additional week for catch-up and assessment.

Fees for Academic Year 2020-21 (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 31st August 2020

Second Instalment due 12th February 2021

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.

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; 156kb) 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 14th August. Home/EU students may be considered for enrolment up till Friday 4th 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 28th September so as not to miss anything.

For further information about applying and enrolling for the programme, please contact the Japanese Language Administrator, Ms Manisha Latifi:

Tel: +44(0)20 7898 4828


For further information about the content and structure of the programme, please contact the programme convener Mr Shin Okajima, Japanese Language Specialist:

Tel: +44 (0)20 7898 4874