Course Outline

This course is designed for students preparing to study at college or university. It focuses on
the skills needed to research, plan, write and revise an academic essay.

The aim of the course is for students to succeed in the writing tasks they may be given as part
of their academic study at university. The kind of writing that they will be asked to do may be
different from the work they have done before and for some this may be the first time they
have had to write essays or reports in academic style.

The course integrates three modules to cover the following:

1. The Writing Process
This module of the course presents a background on academic writing and then follows up on
strategies for reading, avoiding plagiarism, understanding titles, planning, finding key points,
note-making, using references, combining sources, organising paragraphs and proofreading.

2. Elements of Writing
This module covers argument and discussion, cause and effect, cohesion, comparisons,
giving definitions, passives, academic style and visual information.

3. Vocabulary for Writing
This module considers different approaches to vocabulary, using abbreviations, adverbs and
verbs, prefixes and suffixes and time markers.

Assessment process

Students will be awarded a final grade based on classroom contribution and attendance,
satisfactory completion of homework assignments and on the submission of four written
essay papers of varying length.


Grade A
Excellent knowledge and understanding, showing ability to fully analyse and use evidence. Demonstrates independent judgement.
Writing is clear and precise. Excellent organisation of material and
effective sequencing of ideas. Excellent range of appropriate analysis of relevant sections from the text. Use of appropriate academic language. Excellent use of referencing.
Grade B
Good knowledge and understanding, showing ability to analyse and use evidence. Beginnings of independent judgement. Mostly relevant, but some minor lapses and lack of clarity. Good organisation of material and effective sequencing of ideas. Good range of appropriate analysis of relevant sections from the text. Use of appropriate academic language.
Grade C
Satisfactory knowledge and understanding. Some ability to analyse and use evidence. Attempts to evaluate but treatment often too superficial. Satisfactory organisation of material. Limited range of appropriate analysis or use of relevant terminology.
Grade D
Some knowledge and understanding but significant omissions. Shows limited ability to analyse and use evidence. Some attempt to construct an argument, however lacks ability to argue meaningfully or make significant connections.
Fail None of the criteria listed above met.

Recommended reading

Baily, Stephen, Academic Writing: A handbook for international students (fourth edition),
ISBN 978-1-138-77850-4

Greethamm, Bryan, How to write better essays (third edition), ISBN 978-1-137-29328-2

Day,Trevor, Success in Academic Writing (first edition), ISBN 978-0-230-36970-2

All texts should ideally be read before the course begins but each of the three pairs are required reading before the start of their respective units.

Additional notes

This subject can be taken as a core or an elective module.