English academic writing for PhD candidates

Professional skills courses

Course information

ECTS: 2.5 
Number of sessions: 9
Hours per session: 2
Course fee: n/a

  • This workshop is exclusively for PhD candidates of the Graduate School. 
  • consult our enrolment policy for more information

Contact: Enrolment-related questions: enrolment@egsh.eur.nl

Telephone: +31 10 4082607 (Graduate School).

In the academic year 2022-2023 this course will take place online

Session 1
October 24 2022

Session 2
October 31 2022

Session 3
November 8 2022

Session 4
November 14 2022

Session 5
November 21 2022

Session 6
November 28 2022

Session 7
December 5 2022

Session 8
December 12 2022

Session 9
December 19 2022


Would you like to produce a reader-friendly dissertation? Do you need to find out more about your strengths and weaknesses as an academic writer? Writing a PhD thesis in a language which is not your first language can be a daunting task. In this course, PhD candidates work on their English language skills, specifically on the academic writing process (organisation and coherence).

Aims and working method

During this nine-week course, you will become familiar with all the skills needed to write and edit an academic paper for publication. Each week, a specific topic is presented, and participants share knowledge and learn new skills through interactive discussion. The course also allows for a deeper analysis of academic writing through the writing, reviewing and editing of six different assignments. In addition, each week participants will read, and peer review the work of one or more students.

The classes will be online and consist of a mix of live interaction and individual work. Aside from the class, participants are expected to spend approximately two to three hours a week on preparation and self-study. These courses consist of nine group sessions of two hours each and one individual session at the end of the course. The components of this course include:

• The writing process for each section of a paper
• Formulating arguments and presenting data
• Clear organization and coherence throughout the text
• Writing clear and concise paragraphs
• Structure and discourse
• Writing correct English at sentence level (including grammar, style and vocabulary)
• The use of sources (summarizing, paraphrasing, quoting, and referencing)

Entry-level English proficiency

This course is organised in cooperation with the EUR Language & Training Centre (LTC) which has a dedicated team of English language instructors with experience in teaching academic writing.

The course is geared towards PhD candidates at CEFR level C1. The set-up is a tried and tested formula, and the course convenor will adjust the course contents when necessary to best suit the specific needs of the participants.

Researchers who want to improve their general English language skills are advised to first follow one of the English proficiency courses at LTC before enrolling for this course.

How to prepare

  • Pre-course assignment: Participants are asked to write a short text about the research they are currently doing (400-500 words). This should be sent to the course convenor one week before the start of the course.
  • You will receive the book "Effective Scientific Writing: An Advanced Learner's Guide to Better English" by A Bolt & W Bruins, VU University Press (2012): ISBN 9789086596171.

More detailed information will be provided by the instructor prior to the course.

Testimonials recent course participants

"Writing in English used to be very difficult for me. This academic writing course has given me the practical tools to write my thesis. The language trainer was knowledgeable, enthusiastic and very motivating. I have come to realise that writing can be a lot of fun! I now look forward to writing an English text." 

"I would absolutely recommend this course to other postgraduate students. I really learned a lot about writing a coherent text and how to choose words carefully while writing academic papers. The free textbook is also very useful."

About the instructors

This course is organised in cooperation with the EUR Language & Training Centre. The centre has a dedicated team of English language instructors with extensive experience in teaching academic writing to PhD candidates