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Diploma & Certificate in Communicative Japanese, Part-time

A SOAS-accredited course

Mode of Attendance: Part Time


The Diploma in Communicative Japanese programme is designed to prepare students with no previous knowledge of Japanese to live and work in any Japanese-speaking environment. Students will learn both written and spoken modern standard Japanese. The Diploma programme is a SOAS accredited course.

The Part-Time Certificate and Diploma programme is designed to suit professionals who wish to obtain a high level of proficiency in modern Japanese and a recognised qualification while they are working.

By the end of the course, students will be able to communicate in Japanese in a wide range of situations and be able to read and write Japanese with ease. They should have a good command of the language used in everyday and survival situations, social conversations, current affairs and work related situations.

The course will help you to develop the skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing in a balanced way. The course has a flexible entry structure so students with prior knowledge of and skills in the language can also join the course at different stages based on an assessment of their levels. So if you are not complete beginner. you will need to contact SOAS Language Centre for an assessment before your application can be processed further.

How long are the terms?

The Part-time Diploma course lasts 3 years in total and consists of two stages. Stage one is the Certificate and stage two is the Diploma. Each year of the course runs for three terms. The whole course runs for 9 terms over three years with a total of 510 hours of instruction. Students are expected to spend at least 5 hours on self-study a week and regularly use our virtual learning environment (VLE) support system.

The Certificate stage of the course comprises a total of 320 hours of instruction. It runs over two years; for each year it will run for 10 weeks for the first two terms and 12 weeks for the third term. Students who successfully complete the Certificate course will be awarded the Certificate in Modern Japanese. Those with the Certificate are qualified to join the Diploma level, which runs for 12 weeks for the first two terms and 14 weeks for the final term. Students who successfully complete the course (a total of 190 hours of instruction) will be awarded the Diploma in Modern Japanese.

Can I take just one year without registering for the Certificate/Diploma?

Yes. Some students take the course for individual terms without formally registering to take the Certificate/Diploma. However, since accreditation for prior study can often be given, all students are encouraged to register for either the Certificate or the Diploma.

How are the classes structured?

Classes run for 5 hours a week on a part-time basis. In addition to the classroom contact hours, some individual sessions will be available by appointment with designated teachers and additional materials will be provided through our virtual learning environment (VLE) support system.

Classes are held twice a week. See "Timetable" below.

The course is continually under review so the exact structure can vary from session to session.

What will I be able to do by the end of the Certificate course (Years I & II)?

By the end of the Certificate course students will be able to:

  • Communicate adequately within a range of social situations, using an appropriate register.
  • Establish and maintain spoken contact with others.
  • Express opinions on a range of topics and deal with some non-routine activities with a degree of flexibility.
  • Understand clear standard speech in everyday situation.
  • Obtain information and extract details on a range of everyday topics.
  • Understand the main points of simple visual and audio materials.
  • Recognise 600 Kanji.
  • Understand texts on everyday or job related topic.
  • Understand simple, selected, authentic text on familiar topics.
  • Write 600 Kanji (Chinese characters).
  • Write notes, short messages and compositions on familiar topics using a range of structures and modalities.

What will I be able to do by the Diploma course (year III)?

By the end of the Diploma course students will be able to:

  • Communicate effectively on a wide range of topics.
  • Express ideas and opinions, and carry out discussions on a wide range of social and current-affair topics.
  • Give a logical and well-structured speech on prepared topics.
  • Understand clear standard speech on matters regularly encountered in work, study and leisure.
  • Obtain general information and specific details from the mass media on a broad range of topics.
  • Recognise 1000 Kanji.
  • Appreciate developments of arguments, general and specific ideas, opinions and information on a broad range of topics from a variety of authentic materials such as newspapers, magazines, journals, and internet, etc.
  • Appreciate works of modern literary prose and develop an awareness of different writing styles in Japanese.
  • Write 1000 Kanji (Chinese characters).
  • Write summaries, reports as well as social and routine work related correspondence.
  • Convey ideas and opinions, present and debate arguments in written form.

How does this course compare with other recognised standards?

Approximate equivalents with other recognised standards are given below for reference only:

Common European Framework:
  • End of Stage 1 (Certificate) is the equivalent of level B1
  • End of Stage 2 (Diploma) is the equivalent of level B2
JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test)
  • End of Stage One (Certificate) is the equivalent of level 3 (3 kyuu)
  • End of Stage Two (Diploma) is the equivalent of level 2 (2 kyuu)

Who teaches the classes?

SOAS Language Centre has a staff of over seventeen trained and experienced native-speaker teachers of Japanese. The course is run by a coordinator and under the academic supervision of a senior member of the Department of Japan and Korea. The end of term examinations are supervised and approved by the Academic Director and External Examiner.

Course Assessment

Students are assessed through a combination of written and oral examinations and continuous assessment. Students have to achieve 40% to pass. The Stage grade consists of Continuous Assessment (30%) and end-of-Year examination (70%).

Continuous assessment will be based on marked homework and written and listening tests. The end-of-year exams will comprise oral and written parts

Other Academic activities

Students will have the opportunity to attend relevant seminars and lectures available in the School such as those organised by the Department of the Languages and Cultures of Japan and Korea, and the Japan Research Centre.

Destinations of Diplomates

See reports about the course written by former Diploma students

Travel award

The Hagio Prize is a £5,000 annual travel award open to students who are taking the SOAS Language Centre Diploma in Modern Japanese.


Certificate and Diploma

Part time per year fee: 

  • Year 1 - £3450
  • Year 2 - £3450
  • Year 3 - £4095


In addition to multimedia materials and a variety of authentic materials supplied by the teachers, and made available on our VLE, the course is based on a number of textbooks such as:

  • Minna no Nihongo I & II, 3A Corporation
  • Shin Nihongo no Kiso Kana workbook, 3A Corporation
  • Shin Nihongo no Kiso Kanji workbook I & II, 3A Corporation
  • Chuukyuu Kara Manabu Nihongo, Kenkyuusha
  • Chuukyuu Kara Manabu Nihongo workbook, Kenkyuusha
  • Kanji & Kana, Tuttle

Text books are supplied by the Language Centre.


Dates for the 2014 - 15 session:
  • Autumn term: Monday 15 September 2014 to Friday 19 December 2014
  • Winter term: Monday 5 January 2015 to Friday 27 March 2015
  • Spring term: Monday 13 April 2015 to Friday 17 July 2015

Applying for the course

To apply for a Language Centre Certificate/Diploma course you can download our application and payment forms, above right. Or contact us for the forms. Read the terms and conditions. 

Completed application forms, accompanied by the course fee, made payable to SOAS, should be returned to SOAS Language Centre.We suggest you read the course description above and our terms and conditions before filling in the form. Admittance to the course is subject to interview, which includes an assessment of language level in the case of non-beginners.

The Language Centre contact for this course is Mr Shin Okajima s.okajima@soas.ac.uk

See our online store to book a place on this course.