SOAS University of London

SOAS Language Centre

Certificate & Diploma in Communicative Japanese, Full-time

  • FAQs
  • Student Testimonials
  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Fees and funding
  • Apply


The Diploma in Communicative Japanese programme at SOAS Language Centre is a full-time intensive course designed to prepare students with no previous knowledge of Japanese to live and work in a Japanese-speaking environment. Applications for 2022-23 will be open in March. 

The programme attracts people of all ages who are seeking to learn a language efficiently in less than a year. They may be already in a profession, just graduated or undergraduates wanting to take a gap year.

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.

Programme Code: UOFD0003

Start of programme: Term 1: 24th Sept 2021. Term 2: 10th January 2022

Mode of Attendance: Full-time

Entry requirements

  • Admittance to the course is subject to interview, for further details see the Apply tab

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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.

Fees 2021/22

UK fees:
Overseas fees:

Fees for 2021/22 entrants. Please note that fees go up each year. Further details can be found in the Fees and Funding tab on this page



Do I need to have a degree or A level to join the course?

Admittance to the course is subject to interview. It is desirable to have at least A level with good grades. We may accept people with GCSEs, subject to a successful interview.

Can I work or study another course along this course?

We do not recommend that anyone taking the course to work or study, even part-time. The course is very intensive and requires consistent load of daily preparation to enable students to achieve the desired results and never fall behind. This does not mean that you cannot apply while studying as this also dependent on the type of course and the individual self-judgment.

Is there an example of the materials used in class?

The programme’s staff are trained to identify and meet individual learner needs when teaching and assessing, so the pattern of learning activities is adapted and varies from session to session. Hence, the material used is a mixture of textbooks, especially designed material, and authentic material for the media component.

I have no background in the Japanese language but would like to gain a functional command to be able to work in the region. Is the Diploma the right course for me?

Our students are of mixed profile with the majority taking it for professional reasons. We are pleased to say that this programme is fully focused on building the functional command that is suitable for working and living in a Japanese-speaking environment. It has been running for over 12 years and it has been very successful since.

Is it very competitive to get onto the Diploma?

We select our candidates very carefully and usually places are full by mid-August. We take a maximum number of 16 students.

Though I cannot read and write, I have been informally learning Japanese over the last two years. How can I figure out where I might be placed in the course?

As you have some language experience it would be best to have an assessment, we will then be able to recommend if it would be possible for you to start later in the term (the course normally starts in September, however you may be able to join later than this, depending on your level). We have an entry test which includes Listening, speaking, reading, and writing.

Is student accommodation an option you provide?

We do not provide student accommodation, however more information on your options going forward can be found on the SOAS Accommodation site.

Please note that any external costs such as accommodation costs incurred will not be refunded by the Language Centre, and you will need to check the relevant Terms and Conditions relating to accommodation.

Can I get student funding for this course?

Although there are no scholarships/bursaries available for the course, if eligible, students can apply for a tuition fee loan from Student Finance to cover the cost of their fees. 

Applicants are asked to read very carefully and understand the guidance for the Student Finance on the SOAS Fees webpage.

The Diploma in Communicative Arabic course is classified as a Graduate Diploma, at level 6 in the FHEQ. Please note that the guidance specifies that if you have a Level 6 qualification, you are not eligible for any Student Finance for any other study. This ruling applies even if you are self-funding your Diploma. Student Finance is not currently available to students who wish to take the Certificate (Cert HE) only.

We would accept the Confirmation of Student Finance Approval letter as confirmation of your loan. This letter would need to be received by us at the latest by the date of the first instalment.

If you wanted to secure your place before this, you could settle the fees first. Then once the loan comes through, we would refund the fees paid back to you. Please kindly note that the refund process can take 30-50 days to complete from the point of being requested.

Our Diploma courses do not qualify for the Advanced Learner Loan. We are not a college or training provider under Student Finance England and therefore cannot be considered for these loans.

What is the deadline for enrolment?

Application is open usually in March and the deadline is around mid-August. Please check the webpage for exact dates.

Student Testimonials

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


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.

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. If you are a current student you can find structure information on the previous year link at the top of the page or through your Department. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.

Teaching and Learning


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 other materials you are required to buy for the programme.


Term Dates for Academic Year 2021-22
Term 1: Monday 27th September – Friday 17th December 2021 

Orientation will take place on Friday the 24th of September 2021. 

Term 2: Monday 10th January – Monday 28th March 2022 
Term 3: Monday 25th April – Friday 24th June 2022

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

Classes will take place each weekday during the term at times to be confirmed between 9.00am and 5.00pm. 

Teaching & Learning

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 programme’s staff are trained to identify and meet individual learner needs when teaching and assessing, so the pattern of learning activities is adapted and varies from session to session.

The course is scheduled to run Monday to Friday daytime (usually a three-hour slot between 10am and 3pm). 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.

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.

Fees and funding

Fees 2021/22

Fees for 2021/22 entrants. The fees below are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year.

Programme UK Students
Overseas Students
Diploma Full Academic Year (3 Terms) £9,250 £12,550
Diploma - January Entry for non-beginners (2 Terms)
Please see Entry Requirements for more information


Diploma Full Academic Year (3 Terms)

Students paying the UK fee can pay in two termly instalments:

Instalment 1: £4625
Instalment 2: £4625

Term 1 instalment (or full fee) due two weeks after the candidate accepts the offer.
Term 2 instalment due by 12th February 2022

All overseas students enrolling for the Diploma who need a Tier 4 study visa must pay the full fee in advance for the CAS to be issued for the study visa.

Diploma - January Entry for non-beginners (2 Terms)
Please see Entry Requirements for more information

Home: £7600
Overseas: £9250

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 can be given once the term has started.


Students enrolling on the Graduate Diploma programme are eligible for funding through Student Finance providing they meet the requirements set by Student Finance. Applicants are asked to read very carefully and understand the guidance for Student Finance 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 Student Finance for any other study. This ruling applies even if you self-fund your Diploma. Student Finance is not currently available to students who wish to take the Certificate (Cert HE) only.


For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section



Before applying for one of these courses, please see our Terms and Conditions for All Accredited Programmes.

Apply Now

Application Deadlines

Application is open from 22nd March 2021 and will be closed on 16th August 2021.

Places fill up very quickly and we cannot guarantee there will still be places available in August. We encourage early applications because the number of students per class is limited to 15.

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


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.

In order to join the course from Term 2, students are required to take an admissions test as part of their application. An admissions test gives students the chance to show their potential to succeed on the course.

Students need to take three tests (listening, speaking and reading test). The cost for this is £120 per student for all three tests. Test dates are usually w/c 13th Dec 2021.

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 Upper Second-Class level) is recognised as an acceptable alternative entry qualification for admission to the SOAS BA Japanese degree. Diploma holders who pass with a Upper Second-Class 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:


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