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Online course

Learning English for Academic Purposes: First Steps

Develop the academic language and study skills you need to learn in English at university.


  • 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 access to course tests
  • No certificate


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

Find out more

Learning English for Academic Purposes: First Steps

Improve your English listening, speaking, reading and writing.

This online course will give you an introduction to the academic language and skills that you will need to study at a university where the teaching is done in English.

You will develop four language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) using tasks that a university student would undertake: listening to lectures, taking notes, spoken presentations, reading academic texts (including long sentences and visual information) and writing reports using proper academic words.

Throughout the course you will be able to share your practice work with other learners, to give and get feedback.

Download video: standard or HD

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

What will you achieve?

  • Apply strategies for reading academic texts
  • Assess the relevance of information for an academic purpose
  • Describe problems and cause-and-effect using academic language
  • Develop your academic vocabulary and vocabulary skills
  • Produce effective notes from a spoken presentation
  • Collaborate with other learners by engaging in peer-to-peer feedback
  • Synthesise information and use it to begin writing a short piece of academic work
  • Produce a final written piece of academic work using the skills learned

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for students who want to study in English at university. You’ll need an English language level of IELTS 5.5.

Who will you learn with?

Mirjam Hauck

I am a Senior Lecturer in the School of Languages and Applied Linguistics at the Open University and look back at 20 years of designing and facilitating distance learning opportunities including MOOCs

Who developed the course?

The Open University (OU) is the largest academic institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning, with a mission is to be open to people, places, methods and ideas.