Academic English - Bizkaia

Actividad formativa Academic English - Bizkaia


Doctoral candidates - Campus Bizkaia UPV/EHU


  • Candidates must be registered in a doctoral program (2nd year) 2015/16
  • Candidates must certificate at least a B2 level of English
  •  Participants must attend all classes and complete all assignments for a course certificate

Course content:

In order to have a successful academic career it is important to be able to communicate in English through both writing and speaking.  This course will help in 3 important areas – basic skills for writing with power and clarity, preparing a manuscript for publication, and preparing and executing a presentation suitable for a general and specialist academic audience.
The course will therefore be divided into 3 modules.
            Module 1: Powerful writing: rules and tools.
            Module 2: Writing an academic manuscript
            Module 3: Powerful speaking: rules and tools

Please open the PDF for more information

Module 1 (10h online). Powerful writing: rules and tools

The purpose of the module is to begin with the very basic rules of what makes good writing in English.  Students will learn how to construct clear, sharp sentences, ridding their writing of unnecessary clutter at sentence level.  From there, we will look at adding style and variety, and work towards building coherent easy to read (reader-friendly) paragraphs.  In a final unit, we will exclusively focus on some language awareness, examining the most common mistakes made by Spanish writers of English, particularly in academic manuscripts.

             1.1: Less is more – cut the clutter
             1.2: Active direct phrasing
             1.3: variety structure and style
             1.4: paragraph building
             1.5: Common Spanish errors

Module 2. Writing an academic manuscript

In this module, you will be guided through the process of producing an academic manuscript.  From the preparation and initial drafting, through to submission and interaction with the editor, we will look at some useful habits to put into practice. In addition, we will look at the language involved in reviewing the work of other people.

             2.1: Preparation, preparation, preparation
             2.2: producing the first draft
             2.3: Managing anxiety: how to avoid Binge   writing
             2.4: Overview of an academic paper.
             Introduction, method, results, and discussion.
             2.5: Use of tenses
             2.6: How to use reporting verbs
             2.7: Plagiarism
             2.8: Interaction with the editor: the review      process

Module 3. Powerful speaking: rules and tools

In this final module, we will address what is often a source of major anxiety for academics – particularly those at the beginning of their careers.  Presentation of ideas and results via public speaking is a skill that is acquired over time, and takes both practice and patience.  We will begin to look at how you can acquire good habits that can help you to become a better speaker.

             3.1: What makes a good speaker?  Analysis of some examples of excellent speaking
             3.2: Information management: explaining a concept, introducing an idea, describing methods, describing graphs and expressing cause and effect, evaluation and discussion.
             3.3: Holding it together: speaking glue - signposting and repetition.
             3.4: Preparing slides: less is more
             3.5: Dealing with anxiety.
             3.6: Negotiating questions: what to say when you don't know what to say.
             3.7: Common pronunciation errors made by Spanish speakers.


Module 1
In this module, students will be given a series of short quizzes along with a paragraph editing assignment, which must be completed.

Module 2
In this module, there are two small writing assignments to complete.

          i. Students will choose a topic related to their own subject, and write a short piece (750-1500 words).  This work could be a new piece of writing, or could be an extract from a research paper they are currently working on.
         ii. Students are given a choice between two reading into writing assignments - either a response to a rejection of their paper, or a written review of a given piece of work (Guidelines will be provided).

Module 3
Students will select a sequence that they would like to practice presenting, based on the various functions presented in 3.2, such as introducing a concept or idea, describing methods or results, or presenting an evaluation or discussion. It is expected that the students will put into practice some of the skills developed in this module (use of connectors, signposting, clarity of slides etc.).

After the course

Follow-up service
When the course has finished, students are able to contact the course tutor, Dr Symonds, if they need further help with writing. She will be available to answer specific questions, give advice or simply check the English on conference abstracts etc.,

Course tutor(s):

• Dr Michelle Symonds. Psychologist and published author with over 20 years experience in research, publishing, and conference speaking.  Specialist in academic English for native language users in Spain.
• Mr Dylan Gates. British Council award-winning teacher and teacher trainer.  Expert in academic English and applied linguistics.



Place   Date  Schedule
Bizkaia Master and Doctoral School. Central Library building, 1st floor, 6A October 26th to 30th 10:00-13:00


25 hours

Group size: