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.

Check out: Do You Speak Academic English?

You will 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 organize 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.

About the course

Week 1

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

Week 2

  • Essay structure and organization
  • 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 4

  • The stages of writing an essay
  • Analyzing 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

What will you learn?

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 organizational structure of essays: identify and name the different sections of an essay.
  • Explain one aspect of your home town in one well-constructed paragraph, focusing 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.


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

Jonathan Smith is the Director of Technology-enhanced Learning in the language center of a major UK university. I also teach on pre-sessional courses in English language and study skills.

Anne Vicary teaches English for Academic Purposes at the University of Reading. She is particularly interested in the teaching of grammar and writing.

Sebastian Watkins works at the University of Reading as a tutor in English for Academic Purposes. He has taught academic writing for many years now, and always enjoy seeing my students make progress.

Start: 11 February, 2019

Duration: 5 weeks, 3 hours per week

Language: English

Instructors: Steve Thomas, Jonathan Smith, Anne Vicary, Sebastian Watkins

Institution: University of Reading