Academic English (EAS1040)

StaffDr Emily BernhardJackson -
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level6
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This module aims to provide new undergraduate students of English with the discipline-specific skills they need in order to make the most of their degree including skills in close reading, critical analysis, research, writing and referencing. It invites them to work closely with a single tutor in small seminar groups and to study a range of texts which, while close to the tutor’s own broad field of teaching and research interests, will also include a range of genres, styles and historical and cultural contexts.

Through weekly close reading, discussion and critique, accompanied by writing and research exercises, this module will enable students to develop and practice the high-level academic skills that will enhance their learning as they proceed throughout their undergraduate career and beyond.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate an awareness of the conventions and practices of studying English at undergraduate level.
  • 2. Demonstrate enhanced skills in close reading, research, writing and in the presentation of material in accordance with the conventions of the discipline by planning, researching, constructing and concluding an independent essay.
  • 3. Show an awareness of literary form, style and convention and of the relevance of historical and cultural contexts.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Demonstrate a basic understanding of formal and/or thematic, and/or generic analysis of literature.
  • 5. Demonstrate a basic ability to analyse the literature of selected periods and / or cultures and to relate its concerns and its modes of expression to its historical and / or cultural contexts.
  • 6. Demonstrate an ability to apply key research and writing skills appropriately in relation to different projects.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 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

Weeks 1-3:

  • Introduction to undergraduate study
  • MLA Referencing and Works Cited – good academic practice
  • Close reading

Weeks 4-7 (excl. Week 6 Opportunities Week):

  • Thesis statements and research questions
  • Research strategies and databases
  • Evaluating sources – texts and contexts

Weeks 8 – 9:

  • Choosing and working with secondary material
  • Engaging with the reader – tone and style

Weeks 10 – 12:

  • Writing an Introduction
  • Writing a Conclusion
  • Editing



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 activities222 hour seminars / writing workshops
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities2lectures
Guided Independent Learning95Proposal planning and essay preparation
Guided Independent Learning31Seminar preparation and study group meetings

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
Seminar Participation10continuous1-9Oral feedback from tutor with opportunity for office hours follow-up.
MLA Quiz10Online quiz1Online quiz results with cohort feedback in seminars and opportunity for office hours follow-up
Essay Proposal301000 words1-9Feedback sheet with opportunity for office hours follow-up
Essay501500 words1-9Feedback sheet with opportunity for office hours follow-up

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Seminar ParticipationRepeat Study or Mitigation1-9Referral/deferral period
MLA QuizMLA Quiz1Referral/deferral period
Essay ProposalEssay Proposal1-9Referral/deferral period
EssayEssay1-9Referral/deferral period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Core Reading

The core reading is set by individual tutors, with the MLA handbook recommended. The list of secondary reading below is general secondary reading, and tutors will also suggest more tailored secondary reading for their individual groups and texts,

Each seminar group will read up to four primary texts covering several periods and genres; the precise details of chosen texts for each group will be made available to students at the beginning of term 1. The first two weeks of the module will draw on material made available via ELE, in photocopy form, or online.

It is recommended that students purchase a copy of the MLA Handbook:

MLA Handbook Eighth Edition, Modern Language Association of America, 2016.


Secondary Reading

Your seminar tutor will suggest secondary reading pertinent to the texts you are reading. However, for more general research into good academic practice and key ideas, the following may be of interest:

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.

Graff, Gerald, and Kathy Birkenstein. They Say/I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing. New York: Norton, 2009.

Hutcheon, Linda. A Poetics of Postmodernism: History, Theory, Fiction. London: Routledge, 1988.

Miller, Susan, ed. The Norton Book of Composition Studies. New York: Norton, 2009.

Sommers, Nancy. “Between the Drafts.” College Composition and Communication 43 (1992): 23-31. Web. Available on JSTOR.

Stebbins, Leslie. Student Guide to Research in the Digital Age: How to Locate and Evaluate Information Sources. Libraries Unlimited, 2005.

Villanueva, Victor. Cross-Talk in Composition Theory: A Reader. National Council of Teachers in English, 2003.


Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Other resources

Web based and electronic resources:


Royal Literary Fund Fellowship website


Newspaper archives online:

Available as distance learning?


Origin date

May 2013

Last revision date

June 2013

Key words search

MLA, academic writing, writing style, close reading, research, criticism, English studies