Academic writing courses

Courses linked to the ESA

Before the Early Stage Assessment (ESA)

Academic Writing 1 and Academic Writing 2 provide the foundation for writing the ESA report. Preparation for Academic Writing helps students reach the level required to start Academic Writing 1.

Academic Writing 1&2 is a fast-track, condensed course for higher level writers to develop their academic communication before the ESA. 

After the Early Stage Assessment (ESA)

Improving Academic Writing is a programme of guided writing support designed to enable students scoring level 1 or 2 on DACR A2 to take charge of their own writing development and boost their progress to the next stage.

Please note that you can only take 1 writing course per term. This is so that we can enable as many students as possible to join a course.

Other writing courses

Advanced Academic Writing is for those who have a high level of language proficiency and focuses on effective communication at research level. This course is suitable if your priority is improving your academic STEMM writing in general.

Writing a Research Paper is for those with a high level of language proficiency and are at the stage of writing papers for publication. This course will train you to use research articles in your own field as input to create effective writing models and to identify the key language features and writing conventions.

Global Postgraduate Retreat: Thesis Writing provides a focused opportunity to make major advances in writing the doctoral thesis in a supported, structured environment.

Please note that you can only take 1 writing course per term. This is so that we can enable as many students as possible to join a course.

Online delivery: structure

  • Each week there will be a remote session to prepare you for the scheduled live session. The remote session is not timetabled, but you are expected to spend at least 45 minutes on the activities.  
  • The group will then meet for a 1.5-hour live session to check that everyone has understood the input and then to apply what you've learned through further collaborative activities.  
  • Every week, you will also have follow-up activities (often a writing assignment), which should take about 45 minutes.  

Online delivery: hardware requirements

Please note that to be able to fully participate in our online session(s), you will need to
 
  • have access to a computer with both a camera and microphone,
  • have a reliable internet connection,
  • be willing or able to use Microsoft Teams.
Please note that a mobile phone/tablet will not be sufficient for any writing-focussed sessions.

For 1st-year students scoring level 1 or 2 on DACR A1

Preparation for Academic Writing

This preparatory 8-week course is designed for first-year doctoral students scoring level 1 on DACR A1 and reviews and consolidates the basic and important grammar and sentence structures needed for STEMM communication. This course is followed by Academic Writing 1 and Academic Writing 2. Please note that these 3 courses have been carefully designed to meet your needs and improve your academic writing during the first 9 months of your doctoral programme. You will not be able to take any of these courses after the DACR A2/ESA.

Students on this course are also strongly recommended to attend our Communicating Science Successfully.

Registration

If you are eligible for Preparation for Academic Writing, you will receive the registration link and dates/times for the next available course with your DACR A1 result. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis, so once a slot is already full, you will need to register for a different day/timeslot.

Academic Writing 1

This 8-week course is the first part of a 16-week course for first-year doctoral students scoring level 2 on DACR A1. The course focuses on some of the main features of formal STEMM writing at doctoral level, including academic style, vocabulary, and text organisation. Writing tasks include work on paragraph organisation, writing definitions and structuring introductions. This course is followed by Academic Writing 2. Please note that these 2 courses have been carefully designed to meet your needs and improve your academic writing during the first 9 months of your doctoral programme. You will not be able to take either of these courses after the DACR A2/ESA.

Students on this course are also strongly recommended to attend our Communicating Science Successfully.

Registration

  • If you are a new student eligible for Academic Writing 1, you will receive the registration link and dates/times for the next available course with your DACR A1 result.
  • For students progressing onto this course, you will receive the registration link after having succesfully completed Preparation for Academic Writing. 
Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis, so once a slot is already full, you will need to register for a different day/timeslot.

Academic Writing 2

This is the follow-on course for first-year doctoral students who have completed Academic Writing 1. The course develops and improves the range and accuracy of the students’ writing by focusing on key aspects of STEMM writing. These include setting out the research aims and background, describing and evaluating procedures, referring to the literature, as well as the key functions needed to write the ESA report. Please note that this course has been carefully designed to meet your needs and improve your academic writing during the first 9 months of your doctoral programme. You will not be able to take it after the DACR A2/ESA.

Students on this course are also strongly recommended to attend our Communicating Science Successfully sessions.

Registration

If you are eligible for Academic Writing 2, you will receive the registration link and dates/times for the next available course after having succesfully completed Academic Writing 1. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis, so once a slot is already full, you will need to register for a different day/timeslot.

For 1st-year students scoring level 3 on DACR A1

Academic Writing 1&2 (Condensed)

This 8-week course is a fast-track course for first-year doctoral students scoring level 3 on DACR A1. It is a condensed version of Academic Writing 1 and Academic Writing 2. Please note that this course has been carefully designed to meet your needs and improve your academic writing during the first 9 months of your doctoral programme. You will not be able to take it after the ESA.

Students on this course are also strongly recommended to attend our Communicating Science Successfully sessions.

Registration

If you are eligible for Academic Writing 1&2 (Condensed), you will receive the registration link and dates/times for the next available course with your DACR A1 result. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis, so once a slot is already full, you will need to register for a different day/timeslot.

For 1st-year students scoring level 4 on DACR A1 or exempted students

Advanced Academic Writing

This 8-week course is suitable for those who have a high level of language proficiency and focuses on accurate and coherent communication at research level. This course is suitable if your priority is improving your academic STEMM writing in general.

If your priority is writing a paper for publication, we recommend you take our Writing a Research Paper course.

Registration

  • If you've recently taken DACR A1 and scored level 4, you will receive the registration link and dates/times for the next available Advanced Academic Writing course with your assessment result.
  • If you've received an email confirming exemption from the Requirement, that email will also contain the registration link for Advanced Academic Writing.
  • If you're a national of a majority English speaking country and therefore automatically exempt from the Requirement but are interested in registering for Advanced Academic Writing, please email us.
  • If you've successfully completed our Academic Writing 1&2 (Condensed) course and are interested in registering for Advanced Academic Writing, please email us.

Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis, so once a slot is already full, you will need to register for a different day/timeslot.

Writing a Research Paper

This 8-week course is for those who have a high level of language proficiency and are at the stage of writing papers for publication. This course will train you to use research articles in your own field as input to create effective writing models and to identify the key language features and writing conventions. The training will develop your ability to write professional research articles in your own field. In addition to this training, you can register for our 1:1 consultations to focus on a research article you are writing.

If you're not currently at the stage of writing a paper and if your priority is improving your academic STEMM writing in general, we recommend you take our Advanced Academic Writing course.

Registration

  • If you've recently taken DACR A1 and scored level 4you will receive the registration link and dates/times for the next available Writing a Research Paper course with your assessment result.
  • If you've received an email confirming exemption from the Requirement, that email will also contain the registration link for Writing a Research Paper.
  • If you're a national of a majority English speaking country and therefore automatically exempt from the Requirement but are interested in registering for Writing a Research Paper, please email us.
  • If you've successfully completed our Academic Writing 1&2 (Condensed) course and are interested in registering for Writing a Research Paper, please email us.

Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis, so once a slot is already full, you will need to register for a different day/timeslot.

For 2nd-year students scoring level 1 or 2 on DACR A2

Improving Academic Writing

This programme of guided writing support is designed for second-year doctoral students scoring level 1 or 2 on DACR A2. The goal is to enable students to take charge of their own writing development and boost their progress to the next stage. The participants will be given the tools to identify and correct persistent errors and issues in their own work. This programme will take place over 8 weeks and will consist of guided self-study and short 1:1 sessions. Participants receive an enriched diagnosis at the start of the programme, which informs the focus of the guided self-study. 1:1 sessions are used to assess progress, give guidance and provide targeted feedback.   

Registration

If you are eligible for Improving Academic Writing, you will receive the registration link and dates/times for the next available programme with your DACR A2 result. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis, so once a slot is already full, you will need to register for the next available timeslot.

For 2nd/3rd-year students scoring level 3 or 4 on DACR A2 (or 4 on DACR A1) or exempted students

Advanced Academic Writing

This 8-week course is suitable for those who have a high level of language proficiency and focuses on accurate and coherent communication at research level. This course is suitable if your priority is improving your academic STEMM writing in general.

If your priority is writing a paper for publication, we recommend you take our Writing a Research Paper course.

Registration

  • If you've recently taken DACR A2 and scored level 3 or 4, you will receive the registration link and dates/times for the next available Advanced Academic Writing course with your assessment result.
  • If you've been exempted from the Requirement but are interested in registering for Advanced Academic Writing, please email us.
  • If you've successfully completed our Academic Writing 1&2 (Condensed) course and are interested in registering for Advanced Academic Writing, please email us.

Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis, so once a slot is already full, you will need to register for a different day/timeslot.

Writing a Research Paper

This 8-week course is for those who have a high level of language proficiency and are at the stage of writing papers for publication. This course will train you to use research articles in your own field as input to create effective writing models and to identify the key language features and writing conventions. The training will develop your ability to write professional research articles in your own field. In addition to this training, you can register for our 1:1 consultations to focus on a research article you are writing.

If you're not currently at the stage of writing a paper and if your priority is improving your academic STEMM writing in general, we recommend you take our Advanced Academic Writing course.

Registration

  • If you've recently taken DACR A2 and scored level 3 or 4, you will receive the registration link and dates/times for the next available Writing a Research Paper course with your assessment result.
  • If you've been exempted from the Requirement but are interested in registering for Writing a Research Paper, please email us.
  • If you've successfully completed our Academic Writing 1&2 (Condensed) course and are interested in registering for Writing a Research Paper, please email us.

Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis, so once a slot is already full, you will need to register for a different day/timeslot.

For 3rd-year students at the thesis writing-up stage

Global Postgraduate Retreat: Thesis Writing

These writing retreats are a collaboration between the Graduate School and the Centre for Academic English. They provide a focused opportunity for attendees to make major advances in writing their thesis in a supportive environment that will enhance subsequent productivity. Over the two days, participants have the opportunity to complete a significant piece of writing, gain new perspectives on their attitude and approach to writing, and review their writing habits in order to become more effective writers.

During the retreat, there is plenty of time set aside for writing. Participants can also attend a range of short talks on specific writing issues and areas such as maintaining motivation. Graduate School and Centre for Academic English tutors are available for one-to-one support throughout the retreat. These meetings are focused on generating solutions to writing problems, assisting in developing drafts, and providing feedback on writing in-progress.

The retreats are open to doctoral research students who are aiming to submit within a year of the retreat date. If you would like to join a retreat, please register through the Graduate School.