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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.

What’s the difference between a free course and an upgraded course?

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

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

Learn how to write using academic English in preparation for university study.

Academic writing can be very different from other types of written English. This course has been developed to help you learn the basics of academic writing and develop your English language skills.

You’ll develop some proficiency in key areas of ‘academic’ grammar, learn about the stages in essay writing, and produce an essay of your own. You’ll also explore how to organise an essay, write in an academic style, and use tools to evaluate your own writing and other learners’ writing, so that by the end of the course you’re able to write a good, basic academic essay.

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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 12 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?

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

  • 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?

The University of Reading has a reputation for excellence in teaching, research and enterprise.

What’s the difference between a free course and an upgraded course?

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Get extra benefits, upgrade this course. For $54 you'll get:

Unlimited access

Upgrading will mean you get unlimited access to the course.

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  • Take the course at your own pace
  • Refer to the material at any point in future

If you’re taking a course for free you have access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join. If you upgrade the course you have access for as long as the course exists on FutureLearn.

Certificate of Achievement

Upgrading means you’ll receive a Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course.

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  • Prove your success when applying for jobs or courses
  • Celebrate your hard work
  • Display on your LinkedIn or CV

To receive a Certificate of Achievement you need to mark 90% of the steps on the course as complete.