• The Open University

Writing an Academic Essay: Learning English for Academic Purposes

Improve your academic reading, vocabulary and study skills and gain confidence in writing academic essays in English.

Improve your academic essay writing skills in English.

On this online course, you will learn useful reading and note-making strategies, then find out how to make effective and appropriate use of information and ideas from your readings in your essays. You will gain vocabulary learning skills and learn how to structure sentences, paragraphs and essays. In the final weeks, you will use these skills to submit an academic essay and receive detailed Educator feedback.

Throughout, you will read academic texts and learn vocabulary related to business and management, focusing on teamwork, leadership, organisational culture, marketing and globalisation.

What topics will you cover?

  • How to work collaboratively with others.
  • Reading academic texts.
  • Critical reading - what is it and how do you do it?
  • Different ways of making notes.
  • Good academic practice, including sourcing, quoting and paraphrasing techniques.
  • Develop an academic style.
  • Academic vocabulary, dictionary skills and how to use ‘cautious’ language.
  • Structuring texts, paragraphs and essays.
  • Summarising texts and writing concisely.
  • Including evidence and examples to support your ideas.
  • Create your own academic essay from what you’ve learned.
  • Get detailed feedback from an Educator on your academic essay.

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...

  • Develop key skills when reading academic texts.
  • Apply the principles of critical reading to academic texts.
  • Demonstrate good academic practice including sourcing material, quoting and paraphrasing.
  • Summarise academic texts concisely and effectively.
  • Compare and contrast evidence and examples to support your ideas.
  • Identify and develop your own academic writing style.
  • Explore academic vocabulary and dictionary skills.
  • Investigate the meaning of 'cautious language' in academic essays and incorporate it into your own.
  • Explore the structure of texts, paragraphs and essays.
  • Demonstrate your learning by producing your own academic essay as your assignment.
  • Collaborate effectively with others to achieve a shared outcome.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for students who want to study in English at university. We recommend an existing English language level of IELTS 5.5.

Who will you learn with?

I began my English teaching career in China 14 years ago. On my return to the UK I completed my MA TESOL and have since then specialised in teaching EAP as well as writing course materials.

OU associate lecturer and materials writer. I have written materials on business communication, Academic English and Italian.

Who developed the course?

The Open University

As the UK’s largest university, The Open University (OU) supports thousands of students to achieve their goals and ambitions via supported distance learning, helping to fit learning around professional and personal life commitments.

  • Established

  • Location

    Milton Keynes, UK
  • World ranking

    Top 510Source: Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020

What's included?

This is a premium course. These courses are designed for professionals from specific industries looking to learn with a smaller group of like-minded individuals.

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you're eligible
  • Download and print your Certificate of Achievement anytime

Still want to know more? Check out our FAQs

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

Join the conversation on social media

You can use the hashtag #FLacademicessay to talk about this course on social media.