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Academic English for Biosciences

Module titleAcademic English for Biosciences
Module codeINT0201
Academic year2021/2
Module staff

Soo Yeon Yim (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks




Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This module is designed to enable you to improve your English language proficiency and study skills in the context of science so that you can engage more fully with your academic studies, and maximise the benefits of your studies on the International Year One programme and your subsequent studies. A variety of assessment methods are used including written assignments, seminar discussions and presentations.
This module grade will determine whether you have met the English requirement of your University of Exeter offer, therefore the module is compulsory and non-condonable.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to provide students who already have a degree of proficiency in spoken and written language with the tools to develop and strengthen their skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking in an academic context.
Students will develop their ability to read complex academic texts and to extract and evaluate the relevant information; to produce written assignments in an appropriate format following academic conventions; to develop fluency and confidence in seminar discussions and the delivery of presentations, and to enhance their ability to extract relevant information from lectures.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Control a core of general and subject-specific academic vocabulary
  • 2. Express yourself with a degree of fluency and accuracy that enables effective spoken and written communication in an academic setting
  • 3. Analyse the content of questions and establish the focus required to answer them
  • 4. Present information and written text in a structured way that engages the audience or reader and facilitates understanding
  • 5. Select and use source material relevant to your study purpose

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. Use in-text citation and reference lists according to the academic conventions of the discipline
  • 7. Use spoken and written English language flexibly within your subject area
  • 8. Understand and respond to spoken or written texts of different types within your subject area

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 9. Evaluate your performance in the light of feedback and tutorials on formative and summative assessment tasks
  • 10. Work co-operatively and effectively in groups

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

A holistic, responsive and reflective approach will be taken to support the development of study and research skills, academic vocabulary, grammar, reading, writing, listening, and speaking in the context of Biosciences.
  • General study and research skills: Understanding of assessment criteria; Time-management; Retaining information; Note-taking for revision; Organisation of information
  • Academic vocabulary: Appropriate use of general and subject-specific vocabulary according to context (written / spoken / audience / text type); Dealing with unfamiliar vocabulary
  • Grammar: Precise use of English grammatical structures in writing and speech with a focus on clear and accurate communication
  • Reading and Writing: How and where to find relevant texts; Evaluating texts according to reading purpose; Academic reading strategies; Summarising; Note-taking for assignments; Effective synthesis and use of sources to support an argument; Understanding different types of academic writing; Planning to write; Whole-text structure; Paragraph structure and purpose; Improving clarity, cohesion, coherence, concision and criticality in writing
  • Listening and Speaking: Awareness of individual differences in speech; Strategies for better comprehension; Asking for clarification; Listening to respond; Pronunciation, fluency, confidence, accuracy and appropriacy in the context of presentations and group work

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning & Teaching Activities144Formal whole-group teaching including teacher-led activities, seminars, student-led tasks and individual tutorials
Guided Independent Study156Homework tasks; coursework assessments; materials on ELE


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Quizzes (online)Differs from quiz to quiz depending on type of questions1, 3, 6Generic feedback and written comments when appropriate
Pair/Small Group Presentations10-15 minutes (depending on number of participants)1-5, 7, 9, 10Spoken and written feedback from peers and teacher
Written assignment400 words1, 2, 4-9Written feedback
Practice Group Seminar15-20 minutes (depending on size of group)1-3, 7-10Spoken feedback for group and for individual
Practice logN/A1, 2, 4, 7, 8Brief written feedback
Learning JournalN/A2, 7, 9Brief written feedback and follow-up

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Examination202 hours1-4, 7Generic feedback; Students can review papers by request
Individual Presentation158 minutes1-5, 7Individual written feedback
Individual Interview1510 minutes1-4, 7-9Individual spoken and written feedback
Written Assignment30600 words1-9Generic feedback and brief written comments
Group Seminar2015-20 minutes (depending on size of group)1-5, 7-10Written/spoken group feedback and written individual feedback


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
ExaminationExamination1-4, 7ASAP
Individual Presentation, Individual Interview, Group SeminarInterview, Reflective Writing1-5, 7-9ASAP
Written AssignmentResubmission1-9ASAP

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for reasons judged legitimate by the Mitigation Committee, the applicable assessment will normally be deferred. See ‘Details of reassessment’ for the form that assessment usually takes. When deferral occurs there is ordinarily no change to the overall weighting of that assessment.
Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to re-sit assessment(s) aligned with those you have failed. Your performance in this assessment(s) will count towards your final module grade along with completed assessments. A maximum grade of 40% will be awarded if the combined assessments are passed.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Bailey, S, 2011. Academic Writing A Handbook for International Students, Routledge, Abingdon
  • De Chazal, E. & S. McCarter, 2012. Oxford EAP A course in English for Academic Purposes, Oxford University Press, Oxford

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

English, Study Skills, Listening, Reading, Speaking, Writing, Bioscience

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites
BIO1332 Biochemistry, BIO1333 Fundamental Principles for Bioscientists, BIO1334 Genetics, BIO1337 Microbiology, BIO 1339 Cells, BIO1338 Plants, BIO1345 Structure & Reactivity of Organic Compounds I, BIO1331 Animals, BIO1336 Ecology (dependent on potential progression pathway)
NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date