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Free online course

A Beginner's Guide to Writing in English for University Study

Learn how to use English for study at university or college and develop your writing skills, vocabulary and grammar.

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, starting from when you join
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course for as long as it exists on FutureLearn
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

A Beginner's Guide to Writing in English for University Study

Why join the course?

If you’re interested in studying at university or college in an English-speaking country, you’ll need to learn how to write using academic English. Academic writing can be very different from other types of English writing you may have done in the past. We have developed this course to help you learn the basics of academic writing and develop your English skills for study in the UK, US, Australia or other countries where English is used.

This course will provide you with a brief introduction to academic writing, enabling you to gain an awareness and understanding of some key features of this kind of writing. You’ll learn using a mix of video, on-screen examples, discussions, and quizzes.

You will develop some proficiency in a few key areas of ‘academic’ grammar, learn about the stages in essay writing, and produce an essay of your own. We will teach you how to organise an essay, use academic writing style and cover key areas of grammar, so that by the end of the course you are able to write a good, basic academic essay.

Throughout the course, we will analyse some examples of academic writing that have been produced by some of our former students, to show the improvements that can be made to an essay. These improvements are made by guiding and instructing the writer in the areas of content, organisation, language and the process of planning and drafting an essay.

We will provide you with the tools to evaluate your own writing and the writing of others, as well as clarifying some key language areas commonly used in academic writing.

What’s in the course?

This course will run over five weeks, which will cover:

  1. Features of academic writing
  2. Essay organisation
  3. Your first essay: language focus
  4. Your first essay: focus on the writing stages
  5. Your first essay: feedback and redrafting
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Skip to 0 minutes and 10 secondsHi. Welcome to the Beginner's Guide to Academic Writing for university. My name is Steve Thomas. And I teach EAP, English for Academic Purposes, here at the University of Reading.

Skip to 0 minutes and 37 secondsThis course is all about writing. We know there are lots of people like you from countries all around the world who would like to take a degree in English. But you're worried that your English isn't good enough. Well, this is a beginner's guide. So your writing skills only need to be good enough for a pre-university course. That's about IELTS 4.5. But even if your writing skills are stronger than this, we still think this would be a useful course for you. Together with my colleagues Anne Vicary and Sebastian Watkins, we'll be showing you the very first piece of writing that a student did on our course a few years ago.

Skip to 1 minute and 9 seconds The student's name is Xiao And he's currently take a PhD at the University of California in Los Angeles in the United States. If you follow this course closely, we think you'll be able to make the same kind improvements that Xiao has. It won't make you an expert writer, but what it will do is give you a solid base for you to build on in the future.

Skip to 1 minute and 37 secondsSo come and join us at the University of Reading and improve your academic writing skills.

What topics will you cover?

Week 1

  • Key features of academic writing
  • Developing essay ideas
  • Organising your ideas effectively

Week 2

  • Essay structure and organisation
  • Choosing a title
  • Writing in an impersonal style

Week 3

  • Using academic language
  • Writing about facts and activities
  • Writing about groups of people
  • Writing longer sentences: linking words and subordinators

Week four

  • The stages of writing an essay
  • Analysing an essay title
  • Deciding what evidence to use
  • Writing a first draft of an essay

Week 5

  • Evaluating a first draft of an essay
  • Reflecting on feedback on your first draft of the essay
  • Responding to feedback on your first draft of the essay

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

What will you achieve?

  • Compare one aspect of life now with life in the past in one well-constructed paragraph.
  • Explore organisational structure of essays: identify and name the different sections of an essay.
  • Explain one aspect of your home town in one well-constructed paragraph, focussing on language accuracy.
  • Develop and write the first draft of your essay.
  • Contribute and receive feedback on first essay drafts.
  • Reflect on feedback received and improve your draft to create and submit a second draft of your essay.

Who is the course for?

This course is aimed at non-English speakers who have studied some English. You should have a minimum level of IELTS 4.5 or equivalent.

Who will you learn with?

Steve Thomas

I am the Director of the Academic English Programme at University of Reading, helping international students to achieve their full academic potential.

Who developed the course?

Buy a personalised, digital and printed certificate and transcript

You can buy a Certificate of Achievement for this course — a personalised certificate and transcript in both digital and printed formats, to prove what you’ve learnt. A Statement of Participation is also available for this course.

Certificate of Achievement + transcript £39.00

Statement of Participation £34.00

Estimate prices in preferred currency

Charges to your account will be made in GBP. Prices in local currency are provided as a convenience and are only an estimate based on current exchange rates.