Key Issues in Academic Written Communication (Online)

Course overview

This online course is designed for international postgraduate students who are looking to improve their writing for their degree course. Each lesson focuses on a specific aspect of academic writing that commonly presents difficulties for advanced writers. These include issues connected to conventional language patterns and collocations, verb choice, as well as stylistic differences between disciplines and genres of writing (e.g. reports vs. essays etc.). Throughout the course, students will have a chance to look at and discuss extracts from academic writing in different disciplines, while identifying and understanding the way in which the grammatical choices they make affect the meaning of their text. While this course focuses primarily on writing at a postgraduate level, undergraduate students, post-docs and visiting academics are all welcome.  

This course is our most popular Michaelmas offering, as it offers a solid basis for our Thesis and Dissertation course. This course is online - students will access materials and take part in seminars using Oxford’s VLE system, Canvas, and videoconferencing software. 

Learning outcomes

  • Increased awareness of the key features and conventions of academic writing  
  • Learn the importance of information order and how to link ideas
  • Be able to choose suitable tenses and express different levels of certainty in your writing 
  • Have a better understanding of the appropriate register, and expected style of writing, within the different subject areas
  • Learn to use of online resources (such as concordance software) for proofreading your own work


Timetable Information for Online Seminars

Students are asked to enrol onto the course in the first instance. Once enrolment is closed, we will present you with a number of potential seminar time-slots during the week, and you can let us know which times are most convenient.

We will then give detailed instructions on how to follow the course online, and confirm the weekly seminar time-slot that you have been allocated to. In this way, we hope that the ‘live’ seminars, using videoconferencing software, are all comprised of small groups of roughly the same size.

Please be aware, there is no danger that you will be stuck paying for a course that you cannot attend. If it turns out that none of the seminar time-slots are convenient for you, please let us know and we will be happy to refund the price of the course in full.

A certificate of attendance is available upon request if you have attended at least 80% of the course.

Timetable Michaelmas Term 2020

  Day of week and time Date of first class Date of final class
Course now CLOSED for enrolment To be decided with learners Week commencing Monday 19 October 2020 Week commencing Monday 30 November 2020


Enrolment Information

For Learners with an Oxford University SSO (Single Sign-On) simply click on the enrol button next to the class that you wish to join. 

For Learners without an Oxford University SSO, or who are not members of the University, please email with the following details:

  • Full name
  • Email address and phone number
  • The name of the course you wish to study
  • The start date and time of the course
  • Your connection to Oxford University, if any (to determine course fee)

We will then provisionally enrol you onto the course and send you a link to the Oxford University Online Store for payment. Once payment is received we will confirm your place on the course. 

Course structure

  • Taught in weeks 2-8 of term
  • Number of online seminars per week: 1
  • Length of online seminar: 1.5 - 2 hours
  • Individual feedback and one to one tutor support is available

Course fees