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The Language Centre  The Language Centre

The Language Centre


CULP: Languages for All

Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Modern Greek, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili & Turkish

Courses are taught during Michaelmas and Lent terms (standard: 2 hours per week), Easter (semi-intensive: 4 hours per week) and the Long Vacation (intensive: 2 hours per day, Lighter version)).

Courses dates:

  • Michaelmas/Lent: Monday 15 October - Friday 30 November 2018 and Thursday 17 January - Wednesday 13 March 2019
  • Easter: Monday 22 April - Wednesday 12 June 2019
  • Long Vacation: TBC
  • Timetables can be found under each individual language

Each course offers 30 hours of classroom teaching and requires the students to study independently for an additional 30 hours.

Groups are up to 20 students for Basic/Intermediate 1 levels and up to 16 at Intermediate 2/Advanced levels.

Courses are delivered in a blended-learning mode, face-to-face and online (Moodle).

Please note, you will continue to have access to all learning resources on Moodle for an additional 2 weeks after the course is finished.

At Basic and lower Intermediate levels, the syllabi are functional-notional and the aim is to develop spoken, oral/aural communicative competence in every-day situations.

At higher Intermediate and Advanced levels, lessons are conducted in the target language and the syllabi move towards a more topical approach and the aim is broadened to include:

    1. Explicit grammar analysis.
    2. A stronger focus on the culture, history and current affairs of the relevant countries.

Online enrolment for Michaelmas/Lent courses will start on Tuesday 11 September 2018.

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    • Please read carefully the course specifications and syllabi.
    • Consult the CEFR Self Assessment Grid.
    • Where available take a past exam.

      This will all help you to make an informed choice of language and level.

French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish

  Entry level (CEFR) On completion (CEFR)
Basic 1 Ab initio A1
Basic 2 A1 A2
Intermediate 1 A2 B1
Intermediate 2 B1 B2
Advanced B2 C1

Any queries regarding levels should be directed to the CULP Administrator (

Before you do so, make sure you have looked at the syllabi, course specifications and previous assessment tests!

Modern Greek, Russian and Turkish*

  Entry level (CEFR) On completion (CEFR)
Basic 1 Ab initio A1
Basic 2 A1 A2
Intermediate 1 A2 B1
Intermediate 2 B1 B2
Advanced B2 C1

* Please note that the CEFR was designed primarily for European languages. For other languages these levels are applicable to the listening, speaking and reading skills, but the acquisition rate for the writing skill will be somewhat slower.

Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean Persian and Swahili*

  Entry level (CEFR) On completion (CEFR)
Basic 1 Ab initio A1
Basic 2 A1 A2
Elementary 1 A2 Towards B1
Elementary 2 B1 B1
Intermediate 1 B1 Towards B2
* Please note that the CEFR was designed primarily for European languages. For other languages these levels are applicable to the listening, speaking and reading skills, but the acquisition rate for the writing skill will be somewhat slower.

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Registration for CULP Courses is via the Language Centre Enrolment page. (Members of the public need to contact the CULP Administrator)

After registration, you will receive an email with a link to the payment page.

Please make a payment within 24 hours, otherwise your place may be cancelled.

For information regarding elligibility, fees, cancellation policy, please read below.

Courses are open to:

    • Cambridge University students
    • Cambridge University staff and post-docs (including post-docs, Colleges and Cambridge Assessment/CUP staff)
    • General public

Access to online resources

    • To follow the course you will need access to the online resources (Moodle) and a University card (please note that the Language Centre cannot provide you with either of these).
    • University students and staff will have a Raven password and card.
    • Members of the General public will be given ‘guest’ status in order to access the Moodle virtual learning environment.

Raven Password

    • Our General Courses are available to members of the Collegiate University with Raven access, a e-mail address and a University Card
    • CULP courses are delivered in a blended mode and access to a multi-media capable computer is necessary. Should you need to, you can use the computers in the Language Centre;


    • Please note that the Language Centre reserves the right to cancel groups that enrol less than 12 students. This will be done before the first lesson. Students affected will be either enrolled in an alternative group or fully refunded (student’s choice).


    • Students: £275 to be paid online (select 'Concessionary'). Students may be able to request financial contribution from their College towards the payment of CULP fees. Please note that any such contribution will be at the discretion of the College.
    • Staff including Colleges and Cambridge Assessment/CUP* staff: £305 to be paid online (select 'Full').
      (* please see that you obtain a Raven password and a e-mail account from your Institution);
    • General Public: £310. For eligibility see General Public Courses pages.

Cancellation policy

    • University students and staff: Refunds will only be available if requested before the 2nd session. If for any reason you wish to withdraw from one of our courses, please contact us detailing your reasons.
    • General public: Refunds will be given pro-rata when requested before the 5th session. After the 5th session, no refunds will be given.

To request a refund, you should contact the CULP Administrator before the second session.

Click here to view the document on 'Frequently asked questions'.

Please direct any financial enquiries to
Include your CRSID and details of the issue in the message.

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Regulations and Procedures for CULP Assessment

CULP Award (Advanced Level Only)

To be eligible for the CULP Award 80% attendance (12/15 sessions) is required and all pieces of formative and summative assessment must be completed. This includes the Christmas Vacation Essay.

The Christmas Vacation Essay is to be uploaded to MOODLE in Word format, no later than MIDNIGHT on THURSDAY 17th JANUARY 2019.

NB: For late submissions up until MIDNIGHT on THURSDAY 24th JANUARY 2019, there will be a deduction of 10% of the marks available for this essay. Essays uploaded any later will be invalid.

This will take place during the last lesson or the penultimate lesson of the course as advised by the Course teacher at the beginning of the Lent Term. Once agreed, the date/time cannot be renegotiated. All presentations together with the Question and Answer session will be videoed for quality assurance purposes.

EXAMINATION: (Listening, Reading and Writing):

The Examination will take place on THURSDAY 14th MARCH 2019.

CULP Certificate of Proficiency

To be eligible for this certificate 80% attendance and an overall score of at least 50% in the assessments/examinations are required.

The Assessments for the various languages and levels are as follows:

Basic 1 & 2 All Languages

Intermediate 1: French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish

Intermediate 1: Chinese and Japanese

Intermediate 2 & Elementary All Languages as applicable

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Assessment Marking Criteria


Basic 1, 2, Elementary & Intermediate 1

Intermediate 2 & Advanced


Basic 1

Basic 2, Elementary & Intermediate 1

Intermediate 2


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Examination Arrangements

The dates of the Examinations are published on the Language Centre website and will also be advised by the course teacher at the beginning of the course. It is the responsibility of students to note the dates and make themselves available.

Illness or disability

If you have an illness or disability you may require some form of adjustment to your examinations. Any adjustment will depend on the nature and severity of your illness or disability. For example, you may be granted additional time if you have a disability or medical condition that could prevent you from completing your examination within the specified time. If necessary, it may be possible to produce your examination papers in an alternative format. N.B. Any request for special consideration will require submission of your SSD to the CULP Administrator.

If you are unable to take an Examination for which you have been entered, you should at once inform your teacher and the CULP Administrator.


The Examinations will be invigilated by members of the CULP team. You may ask an Examiner if you have reason to suppose that there is a misprint or other error in the paper, or to enquire whether you may take some particular point for granted in answering a question. It is a pre-requisite of the higher level Papers i.e. Intermediate 2 and Advanced that they are written entirely in the target language.

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Religious Observance

The Language Centre subscribes to the University policy regarding religious observance. For specific information, please visit: 

Please indicate any illness, disability or religious observance of which we should be aware, on the UTBS at the time of enrolment under the heading Special Requirements.

You should advise the CULP Administrator during the Michaelmas Term if your religious observance will prevent your taking a scheduled Examination.


Students should be aware that The Language Centre subscribes to the University of Cambridge’s policy regarding plagiarism.

Plagiarism is defined as submitting as one's own work, irrespective of intent to deceive, that which derives in part or in its entirety from the work of others without due acknowledgement. It is both poor scholarship and a breach of academic integrity.

For further information please visit:

Please note that instances of plagiarism are taken seriously and will be penalised.

Regulations produced: September 2016. Last reviewed August 2018 

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Upon successful completion (attendance, coursework and examination), students will receive:
ALL courses (except Advanced)
(Open to the General Public)
Certificate of Proficiency
Advanced level courses
(Not open to the General Public)
CULP Award

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All courses use multimedia online resources many of which are designed and produced by the Language Centre (LC).

The John Trim Centre (JTC) is the LC self-access centre which holds resources in 180 languages.

Only a small number of courses will require the student to purchase a textbook, in which case this will be indicated on the course web page.

The JTC also has a dedicated team of Language Learning Advisers whose primary role is to support learners.

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All new and revised courses are reviewed by expert colleagues in the Faculties of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (AMES) and Modern and Medieval Languages(MML) to ensure high standards of course and syllabus design, and these are subsequently approved by their respective Faculty Boards. (Where a language is offered through CULP which is not also taught in one of these Faculties, an alternative internal or external expert reviewer is identified).

Courses are approved for delivery by the Language Centre Committee of Management, which then seeks approval from the University for its powers to award Certificates of Proficiency, and these are recorded in the University's Statutes and Ordinances (p. 60).

CULP Advanced level courses in French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish lead to the CULP Award, awarded by the University (p. 152), and the conduct of these are scrutinised by external examiners, with recommendations of conferment of award made at the annual CULP Exam Board. The recommendations of external examiners are fed into continuous improvement of assessment design, and these in turn inform the processes for all other CULP courses.

Ongoing curriculum review is informed by student feedback on teaching and learning methods and course content, all of which drive a process of continuous improvement. Course feedback is administered by questionnaire handed out in class for every course. All teachers observe classes taught by colleagues and are, in turn, observed to provide a supportive environment in which teaching methods are reviewed and ideas are shared. CULP teachers are also encouraged to attend national workshops and conferences to share good practice with colleagues in other universities.

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CULP Complaints Procedure

The Language Centre is committed to high quality of educational and other provision for students, and encourages students to say where there is cause for concern in individual or general matters. It undertakes to take such representation seriously. In raising possible issues of complaint, students themselves will have to be aware of their obligations as members of the University.

The Language Centre aims to handle complaints in a way which is sympathetic, fair, and efficient, which encourages informal conciliation, facilitates early resolution, maintains individual privacy and confidentiality, and permits useful feedback. A complaint should therefore be made promptly and indeed may, for instance, be founded on misunderstanding or disagreement, requiring a calm, balanced and non-prejudicial discussion between parties, without the need for any further action. However more serious complaints do from time to time arise and this procedure also covers how these will be handled more formally.

Complaints about Courses and Teaching

Informal Process

As the first stage in making a complaint, the student should contact the CULP Coordinator for the language they study and explain the nature of, and grounds for, the complaint. The CULP Coordinator will discuss this complaint with the Director of CULP to inform their response, and/or to ensure that there is full awareness of the issue concerned and how it has been resolved. If the complaint concerns the CULP Coordinator her/himself, the complainant should address his or her complaint directly to the Director of CULP, or the Director of the Language Centre if the Director of CULP is the Coordinator.

The student will normally be advised to put the complaint in writing, but may raise it orally in the first instance. Once the Director of CULP has been able to ascertain the nature of the complaint a response will be conveyed orally, with confirmation in writing.

Formal Process

In the event that the complaint is not resolved informally or does not appear capable of informal resolution, the Director of CULP will refer the matter to the Director of the Language Centre who will proceed to consider the complaint formally in consultation with those concerned in the provision of the service. The Director of the Language Centre will normally appoint someone external to the Language Centre to assist with the investigation into the nature of the complaint. The student will be provided with a provisional response in writing as soon as reasonably practicable, depending on the extent or nature of the complaint. The student will be invited to comment on the provisional response in writing. The Director of the Language Centre will review the provisional response in the light of any observations communicated by the student and then provide the student with a written response in final form normally within 15 working days after the date by which the student was invited to comment on the provisional response.

If the complaint is upheld, the Director of CULP, with support from the Director of the Language Centre, will procure so far as possible such remedy as he or she considers fair and equitable in the circumstances.

If the student is not satisfied with the outcome, whether the complaint is upheld or not, the student should contact the Director of the Language Centre within 20 working days of learning the outcome of the investigation into the complaint and the matter will be referred to an appropriate body within the University, accountable to the General Board.

Please note that University Student Complaints Procedure can be found here.

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Teaching Rooms Practical information

LC Teaching Rooms (TR)

There are four Teaching Rooms in the Language Centre in Downing Place. Each of these rooms can hold up to 20 students. Rooms 1 and 2 are on the ground floor and Rooms 3 and 4 are on the first floor.

Each Room is equipped with an interactive white board, a networked PC and a video/DVD player connected to a plasma TV screen.

Additional Equipment

A Webcam for the recording of student presentations is available. To borrow the webcam and for advice on how to use the equipment in the teaching rooms contact either Saimon Clark (stc25) or Ed Buss (erb36) on (3)35353.

N.B. Use of any analogue video that does not belong to the Language Centre must be cleared with Saimon or Ed before it is used.

External Teaching Rooms

CULP uses a number of rooms outside the Language Centre. Information about the location and facilities in these rooms is available here.

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CULP Enrolment


Study with CULP and become fluent!

Our very own student (Milo Edwards, Alumni 2015, read Classics @ Peterhouse.) of CULP Russian (Basic 1 & I1) has moved to Moscow to become a stand-up comedian.... in Russian!

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