• University of Reading

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.

364,396 enrolled on this course

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

364,396 enrolled on this course

  • 5 weeks

  • 3 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Intermediate level

Find out more about how to join this course

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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  • Week 1

    What is academic writing?

    • Welcome to the course

      Hello and welcome to A Beginner's Guide to Writing in English for University Study! Find out more about what we'll cover over the next five weeks and how you'll learn.

    • What is academic writing?

      Find out more about what academic writing is and the skills required to write well for academic purposes.

    • Developing an essay

      Time to have a go at some academic writing. We'll look at an example of some academic writing and see how we might approach writing an essay.

    • Summary of the week

      Time to look back on what we have learnt this week and put it all together.

  • Week 2

    Essay structure and organisation

    • Welcome to Week 2

      Find out more about what we'll learn this week.

    • How to structure an essay

      Academic writing is structured in a particular way to make the points clear and easy to understand.

    • Starting work on your own essay

      Get started on your own essay, which you will develop over the next few weeks.

  • Week 3

    Using academic language

    • Welcome to Week 3

      Learn more about what we'll cover this week.

    • Language focus - Part 1A

      Let's look at some of the key areas of language that are important for academic writing.

    • Language Focus - Part 1B

      Learn how to write in an impersonal way about people or things in general and how to refer to different quantities.

    • Language focus - Part 2A

      Learn more about the different language skills used in academic writing.

    • Language Focus - Part2B

      Let's look at what a clause is, the different clause structures and understand how they can be used.

  • Week 4

    Preparing your essay

    • Welcome to Week 4

      This week we will apply the new skills we have developed over the last few weeks. Find out more about what's in store.

    • Preparing your essay

      Writing a good essay requires planning and preparation. Find out how to prepare for your essay.

    • Writing a first draft

      Writing a first draft gives you the opportunity to ask for feedback and improve your final essay.

  • Week 5

    Writing your essay

    • Welcome to Week 5

      In this, the final week, you will write your own essay and provide feedback on others.

    • Submit the first draft of your essay

      You will submit the first draft of your essay for peer review and comment on first drafts by others.

    • The final essay

      Now you have reflected on your first draft, and perhaps made some changes, it is time to submit your final essay.

    • Course summary

      Well done! Let's look at what you have achieved over the last five weeks.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

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...

  • 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 designed for non-English speakers interested in improving their academic writing skills. It is recommended that you have a minimum level of IELTS 4.5 or equivalent to get the most out of this course.

Who will you learn with?

I’m an English for Academic Purposes lecturer & materials developer at the University of Reading. My research interest is different modes of thought & reasoning across different language & cultures.

Who developed the course?

University of Reading

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

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save


For the first month. Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$124/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 29 Apr 2023

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

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  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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