Writing a Thesis or Dissertation (Online)

Course overview

This online course is designed for international students who are either writing, or preparing to write, a dissertation or thesis for their degree course at Oxford. Each lesson focuses on a different part of the thesis/dissertation/articles (Introductions, Literature Reviews, Discussions etc.), as well as the expected structure and linguistic conventions. Building upon the foundational understanding provided by our other Academic English courses (particularly Introduction to Academic Writing and Grammar, and Key Issues), this course prepares students for the challenges of organising, writing and revising a thesis or dissertation.

Due to Covid19, this course is offered in Trinity Term through online remote learning. Students will access materials and take part in seminars and one-to-one tutorials using Oxford’s VLE system, Canvas, and videoconferencing software. 

Learning outcomes

  • Gain an understanding of the different organisational structures used within Humanities, Social Sciences and Natural Sciences dissertations and theses
  • Consider works of previous Oxford students in order to understand the common structural, linguistic and stylistic issues that arise when drafting a research project
  • Increase competence in incorporating citations into texts, including choosing appropriate tenses and reporting verbs   
  • Learn how to structure the various parts of a dissertation or thesis (Introduction, Literature Review, Discussion, Conclusion and Abstract)

Timetable Information for Online Seminars and Tutorials

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.

Enrolment information


For Learners with an Oxford University SSO (Single Sign-On) simply click on the enrol button above. 

For Learners without an Oxford University SSO, or who are not members of the University, please email admin@lang.ox.ac.uk with the following details:

  • Full name
  • Email address and phone number
  • The name of the course you wish to study
  • 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
  • Seminars per week: 1
  • Length of seminar: 60-90 mins.
  • Number of one-to-one tutorials: 2
  • Academic English tutor will provide all materials

Course fees


We have been working hard to adapt this classroom-based course for remote teaching and learning. Owing to the change of format at short notice, we will provide this course at a special, lower price for Trinity term. The above link reflects these new prices.