Academic Writing

Course Description: 

The course seeks to help you develop as a writer within the English-speaking academic community by raising awareness of, practicing, and reflecting upon the conventions of written texts. As well as an introduction to critical thinking and critique writing, the course will also develop your awareness of conventions of research-based academic writing, both regarding structural elements such as the introduction, literature review and conclusion, and also how to use the work of other authors appropriately in your work. You will also have the chance to reflect on how these conventions influence the development of your own voice. In the fall we will focus on critical writing as well as micro and macro-level argumentation for term papers.


In the Academic Writing course we will cover the following topics:

Pre-session, Zero Week and Fall • Introduction to Academic Writing • Critical Reading I – Identifying Key Ideas • Critical Reading II – Evaluating a Text • Genres of Critical Writing – Writing the Critique • Reading Skills and Peer Review • Micro-Level Argumentation • Using Sources: Voice and Authority – Incorporating Sources in your Work and Citation Styles • Library Session I – Online Sources • Library Session II – ZOTERO or Citation Management • Writing Research Papers: Introductions, Conclusions and Structuring your research papers: The use of Meta-Discourse

Learning Outcomes: 

By the end of this course, you should be able to:
• Identify the typical purposes, components and features of various genres in the discipline.
• Understand the importance of critical reading.
• Draft, edit and refine your own critique including context summary and evaluation
• Structure an academic paper at the macro and micro level.
• Incorporate the work of other authors into your own writing in keeping with the requirements of English academic practice
• Target the various audiences academics write for, and understand the expectations of these audiences.
• Develop your writing process through generating ideas, peer evaluation and individual writing consultations
• Expand and improve your ability to work independently by exploring new strategies for learning

Timetable & Registration
Please see your pre-session schedule for days and times of class or ask your instructor when classes are held. The academic writing classes will be included in your departmental schedule. When you register for this course, please be sure to sign up for the group you are now in (the instructor’s name will be listed in INFOYSIS). The fall writing course is mandatory for all incoming MA students.


As this is a seminar, you will be expected to fully contribute to each session. During the fall term you will be required to consult with us at least once on two different pieces of writing: (1) a critique that you will begin working on during the pre-session; (2) a mid-term assignment or a term paper for a course of your choice. For each piece we will provide qualitative comments during marking and consultation, which are intended to help you to improve your writing. During the winter term you are expected to have consultations on your (1) thesis proposal and (2) your literature review. In addition to these mandatory consultations, you may consult with us as often as you wish on other assignments. As academic writing is a required support course (to help you with other courses) it is graded PASS/FAIL and so will not affect your GPA.