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The Language Centre  The Language Centre

The Language Centre


CULP: Languages for All

CULP Teachers 2023


Arabic, British Sign Language, Chinese, French, German, Greek (Modern & Ancient), Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili & Turkish

CULP runs courses twice a year: starting in Michaelmas term and ending in Lent term (15 weeks; two hours per week); and in Easter term (7.5 weeks; four hours per week).

Courses dates

    • CULP Michaelmas term: Thu. 12 October 2023 – Wed. 29 November 2023
    • CULP Lent term: Thu. 18 January 2024 – Wed. 13 March 2024
    • CULP Easter term: Mon. 22 April 2024 – Fri. 14 June 2024

Courses Requirements

Each course offers 30 hours of teaching and requires the students to study independently for an additional 30/60 hours (dependent on course and student).

Groups are up to 18 students for Basic/Intermediate 1 levels and up to 14 at Intermediate 2/Advanced levels.

Courses Timetables

Timetables can be found under each individual language.

Please note, Moodle access is provided a day before the start of the class and you will continue to have access to all learning resources on Moodle for an additional 2 weeks after the course is finished.

The Language Centre local privacy notice for paid-for services.

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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.

In order to assess your level accurately:

    • Please read carefully the course specifications and syllabi.
    • Consult the CEFR Self Assessment Grid.
      This will all help you to make an informed choice of language and level.
    • Make an appointment with an Adviser who will help you choose efficiently.

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 and course specifications.

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

    • Courses are delivered in a blended mode and access to a multi-media computer is necessary. Should you need to, you can use the computers at the Language Centre John Trim Centre (JTC) for independent language learning;
    • To follow the course you will need access to CULP Moodle (Virtual Learning Environment - VLE) resources. Access will be provided before the start of the course.
    • University students and staff will have a Raven password in order to access the Moodle VLE. Members of the General public will be given ‘guest’ status.


    • Please note that the Language Centre reserves the right to cancel groups that enrol less than 10 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).


    • University of Cambridge Student: £285 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): £320 to be paid online (select 'Full').
      (* please see that you obtain a Raven password and a e-mail account from your Institution);
    • General Public: £350. For eligibility see General Public Courses pages.

Cancellation policy

    • All CULP students may cancel their enrolment on a course and obtain a full refund up to the start of the third session of the course.
    • University students and staff can cancel their enrolment themselves up to the start of the first session of the course via
    • For cancellations and refund enquiries after this time, and for all cancellation and refund enquiries by members of the public, please contact the CULP Administrator.

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)

    • Assessment for the Advanced Courses document is downloadable here.

    • The Advanced Examination will take place on the THURSDAY or FRIDAY after Lesson 15.

    • CULP AWARD results will appear on the transcripts of students who successfully complete the course.

CULP Certificate of Proficiency

    • Assessments for ALL other courses are as described in the document downloadable here!

    • All syllabuses online should be seen as indicative and will be subject to change as determined by the teacher.

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Assessment Marking Criteria

Writing (*)

Basic 1, 2, Elementary & Intermediate 1

Intermediate 2 & Advanced

(*) Students of Japanese should note that if Chinese is their first language, they will need to write the spoken Japanese (Furigana) in their writing exam, in order to show full comprehension of the Japanese language.


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.

With effect from 1 October 2019. Last updated: 27 November 2019 (links only) 

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Upon successful completion (attendance, coursework and examination), students will receive:
ALL courses (except below)
Certificate of Proficiency
Advanced courses
CULP Award
Introduction to/Advanced Plus courses
Certificate of Attendance

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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.

CULP Advanced level courses in French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish lead to the CULP Award, awarded by the University, 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

Language Centre Teaching Rooms (LC)

There are four Teaching Rooms in the Language Centre on Downing Place. Each of these rooms can hold up to 22 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 a moveable white board, a networked PC with a DVD drive.

In order to ensure that any necessary support or adjustments can be promptly organised, students with particular access needs are encouraged to highlight these during their enrolment process. Alternatively, they should contact our Reception or telephone on 01223 335058. If you have a Student Support Document from the Accessibility & Disability Resource Centre (ADRC), please do not hesitate to refer us to it, if it would help you. However, it is not obligatory to do this and details of what you need can always be discussed with Nebojša Radić without this document.

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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For more information, please email our CULP Administrator on

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