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Study information

Academic English

Module titleAcademic English
Module codeEAS1040
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Emily Bernhard Jackson (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks



Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

Academic English introduces you  to the techniques needed to write successful, university-level analytical essays on literary texts and topics. Using model essays and articles, seminar discussions, your own essay writing, and guided readings, you will learn how to write well structured, clearly argued persuasive analytical essays, with a focus on some of the fundamentals of writing: arguments/thesis statements, paragraphing, clarity of expression, essay formatting and accurate referencing. You will also learn how to locate, evaluate, and use secondary (critical) sources that support your essay’s argument, as well as how to cite those sources correctly.  There will also be attention to ways of analysing literature effectively.

Module aims - intentions of the module

Academic English uses lectures, seminar discussions and a variety of practical writing exercises to teach you the fundamentals of essay writing for the discipline of English literary studies. You will learn how to write a compelling thesis statement to express your essay’s argument, how to structure unified and well-developed paragraphs, how to write clear sentences, how to use punctuation correctly, how to format essays and how to reference using the MLA system of in-text citations with a list of Works Cited. Over the course of the module you will write frequently and have opportunities to develop your skills through formative and summative assessments. The focus of the module is on the ‘nuts and bolts’ of academic writing and research. The module aims to give you to skills and techniques that will underpin your writing over the course of your degree.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Demonstrate an awareness of the conventions and practices of writing about English literature at undergraduate level.
  • 2. Demonstrate enhanced skills in essay writing through focused writing exercises.
  • 3. Demonstrate an understanding of basic sentences, paragraphs, essay structure, as well as of grammar and punctuation errors that can undermine successful writing.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 4. Demonstrate a firm understanding of the MLA citation system.
  • 5. Demonstrate an ability to compose argumentative essays on literary texts and topics, with the necessary evidence and examples
  • 6. Demonstrate an ability to apply key research and writing skills appropriately in relation to different projects.

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 7. Through essay-writing, demonstrate appropriate research and bibliographical skills, a capacity to construct a coherent, substantiated argument and a capacity to write clear and correct prose.
  • 8. Through research for seminars and essays, demonstrate a proficiency in information retrieval and analysis.
  • 9. Through seminar discussion and essay writing, demonstrate a capacity for critical thinking, including the questioning of your own and others’ assumptions, and a willingness to engage with different philosophical viewpoints.

Syllabus plan

EAS1040 will be run in Autumn Term and Spring Terms. B.A. English students will take the module in term 1. B.A. English and Creative Writing students will take the module in term 2.  In the spring term, there is likely to be additional emphasis on some of the “nuts and bolts” of writing creatively. Irrespective of the term in which you take the module, you will learn the techniques of strong essay writing and apply these skills to the analysis of set literary texts.

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • correct citation formulation
  • successful introductions and conclusions
  • practical criticism
  • choosing and building evidence, assessing and deploying secondary criticism
  • the basics of written grammar and punctuation

Set literary reading will be selected by individual seminar tutors and will be available on ELE.

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 and Teaching16.511 x 1.5-hour seminars
Scheduled Learning and Teaching99 x 1-hour lectures
Guided Independent Learning93.5Proposal planning and essay preparation
Guided Independent Learning31Seminar preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Short Writing7 x 500-word formative pieces of writing 1-9Written and oral

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
Revision of one piece of formative writing15c. 750 words1-9Feedback sheet with opportunity for office hours follow-up
Portfolio752000 words1-9Feedback sheet with opportunity for office hours follow-up
Module Participation10Ongoing1-5, 9Ongoing

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Formative Writing RevisionFormative Writing Revision (750 words)1-9Referral/deferral period
PortfolioPortfolio (2000 words)1-9Referral/deferral period
Module ParticipationRepeat Study/Mitigation1-5, 9N/a

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the 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 submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

The core reading will be set by individual tutors, but seminar leaders must discuss:

  • at least one model student essay (from previous years’ students)
  • at least one professional critical essay
  • not more than one novel-length work

Secondary Reading (a selection)

  • Glenn, Cheryl, et al. Hodges’ Harbrace Handbook. 18th ed. Cengage Learning, 2013.
  • Abrams, M.H., with Geoffrey Harpham. A Glossary of Literary Terms. Ninth ed. Boston: Wadsworth, 2008.
  • Babington, Doug, and Don Le Pan. The Broadview Guide to Writing, 5th ed. Buffalo: Broadview, 2010.
  • Copus, Julia. Brilliant Writing Tips for Students. London: Palgrave, 2009.
  • Felski, Rita. Uses of Literature. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008.
  • Stebbins, Leslie. Student Guide to Research in the Digital Age: How to Locate and Evaluate Information Sources. Libraries Unlimited, 2005.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

Academic writing, writing skill, research skills, essay writing

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date

May 2013

Last revision date