• University of Leeds

Critical Thinking at University: An Introduction

Critical thinking is a vital skill for university study whatever your discipline. Prepare for university now.

32,357 enrolled on this course

Critical Thinking at University: An Introduction

Make sure you have the critical thinking skills required for university

Critical thinking is a vital skill at university and later in life. University study introduces you to new concepts, ways of learning and requires you to think critically. You need to know how to question information sources and how to evaluate different arguments.

Despite critical thinking being so important, students are often unprepared when they start their studies. This course will show you what critical thinking skills you need at university level, how they can be applied to different disciplines and how to use practical strategies to develop these skills for a successful academic life.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 5 seconds At university, students are often introduced to unfamiliar subjects and concepts. And they need to use a variety of information sources. And often, they need to think really critically towards these sources and subjects. So students often tell us that the feedback that they receive from tutors is that their assessed work can be too descriptive and lack critical engagement. And knowing how to tackle this can be quite confusing and quite challenging for students. So what this course is trying to do is to give students a real sense of what it means to think critically at university. Why it’s so important to think critically. How might critical thinking be applied in different disciplines.

Skip to 0 minutes and 45 seconds This course is aimed at undergraduate students, and new taught post-graduate students who might be unfamiliar with studying at a UK university. But also, critical thinking skills are really valued by employers. So if you’re looking to evidence your critical thinking skills, then this will be a course that you will want to take. This course is a really practical guide to help learners develop their approach to critical thinking at university. And what makes it really unique is that it gives learners a really multi-disciplinary perspective on what critical thinking means. So learners will hear from academics and students from lots of different subject areas. Because whatever subject you study, critical thinking will be absolutely crucial to that discipline.

Skip to 1 minute and 32 seconds Join Critical Thinking at University: An Introduction.


  • Week 1

    Critical thinking and what it means at university

    • Welcome

      Welcome to Critical Thinking at University: An Introduction. This course explores what critical thinking means at university and how to think more critically.

    • What is critical thinking?

      This activity seeks to establish what you currently know about critical thinking through an initial reflection. You will then be introduced to what critical thinking is and understand how it can help in our everyday lives.

    • A model for critical thinking

      In this activity, you will be introduced to the Learnhigher critical thinking model. This will help you to develop a more systematic and analytical approach to your studies so you can develop your critical thinking skills.

    • Why is critical thinking important at university?

      This activity explains why thinking critically at university is important and offers examples of critical thinking skills at different levels of study. You will also hear from academics and students about their experiences.

    • Summary

      This activity offers a summary of this week's learning and a glossary of terms.

  • Week 2

    Improving your critical thinking

    • Welcome to Week 2

      In Week 2, you will explore and practise strategies to help you tackle the challenges of thinking critically at university. The week finishes with an opportunity for you to create an action plan.

    • Challenges to thinking critically at university

      This activity builds on the previous week which introduced critical thinking at university. You will focus on the challenges you may face when trying to think critically during your time at university.

    • How can you improve your critical thinking?

      This activity builds on the previous activity by re-examining the challenges to critical thinking. Examples will provide you with practical strategies to help you to understand how to overcome the challenges highlighted.

    • How will critical thinking help you at university?

      This activity looks at the outcomes of successfully applying critical thinking at university, and finishes with an opportunity for you to create an action plan.

    • Summary

      In this final activity you can explore further resources to support your development of critical thinking.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Reflect on your approach and ability to think critically
  • Explain what thinking critically means at university
  • Identify potential challenges to thinking critically at university
  • Develop strategies to improve your critical thinking skills

Who is the course for?

This course is for anyone preparing to study at university level or for current university students. You may be an undergraduate or a new taught postgraduate student who might be unfamiliar with studying in the UK. If you want to have a successful academic life, this course will give you the foundations whatever your discipline at university.

Critical thinking skills are also valued later life by employers, so if you want to refresh your skills, this practical online course is for you.

The course is part of the academic skills courses portfolio at the University of Leeds aiming to improve skills required for academic study.

Who will you learn with?

Michelle is an experienced learning developer, and an ALDinHE Certified Practitioner. Michelle is passionate about developing the academic skills and literacies of all students.

Hi, I'm Jiani, a learning developer and a Fellow of HEA from Skills@Library, University of Leeds. My passion is to help students develop their academic and information skills to succeed at university.

Who developed the course?

University of Leeds

As one of the UK’s largest research-based universities, the University of Leeds is a member of the prestigious Russell Group and a centre of excellence for teaching.

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