YE7001 - Academic Language Skills for Social Sciences

What will I learn on this module?

Academic skills when studying away from your home country can differ due to cultural and language differences in teaching and assessment practices. This module is designed to support your transition in the use and practice of technical language and subject specific skills around assessments and teaching provision in your chosen subject. The overall aim of this module is to develop your abilities to read and study effectively for academic purposes; to develop your skills in analysing and using source material in seminars and academic writing and to develop your use and application of language and communications skills to a higher level.

The topics you will cover on the module include:

• Understanding assignment briefs and exam questions.
• Developing academic writing skills, including citation, paraphrasing, and summarising.
• Practising ‘critical reading’ and ‘critical writing’
• Planning and structuring academic assignments (e.g. essays, reports and presentations).
• Avoiding academic misconduct and gaining credit by using academic sources and referencing effectively.
• Listening skills for lectures.
• Speaking in seminar presentations.
• Presenting your ideas
• Giving discipline-related academic presentations, experiencing peer observation, and receiving formative feedback.
• Effective reading techniques.
• Developing self-reflection skills.
• Discussing ethical issues in research, and analysing results.
• Describing bias and limitations of research.

How will I learn on this module?

This module is taught by interactive seminars and use of practical group activities in the sessions.

The material delivered in practical workshops is designed to enhance your capabilities as an independent learner. This will involve significant self-directed learning and will test your ability to interact with others during group sessions. The sessions will be tailored to address some of the specific issues that you meet within your chosen discipline. When working in groups the nature of the activity will vary from group to group depending upon your specific programme of study. For example, you will develop your critical analysis and critical writing skills by analysing the work of other academics according to the requirements of your programme/module assignments. In addition to the core topics listed, your learning will be supported by your own self–reflection of your skills and academic areas of interest and you will be asked to share these in specific sessions.

Individual attendance and your participation in group work is essential to your learning and as such forms part of your summative assessment. You will be expected to participate in the practical classes having completed directed pre-reading and preparation tasks provided by your tutor. Additional directed learning will be provided to support the development of your skills base, the use of the e-learning platform and support your self-reflection.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

All teaching materials for the module are made available on the module electronic learning portal (eLP) site. You will be provided with a teaching and learning plan that outlines the formal sessions, along with the tutor-directed study tasks and independent reading associated with each session. You will be asked to use both email and eLP to share ideas and feedback.

Teaching staff operate an ‘open door’ policy for students meaning you can approach them anytime during normal office hours, or via email, to answer questions, receive feedback and support your learning on the module.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• Structure and format of postgraduate assessments

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• MLO1: Read and listen critically, and use a variety of information sources effectively
• MLO2: Recognise and apply the conventions of academic writing and research, and write critically within an academic context
• MLO3: Collate subject-related information, reference and organise those resources, and prepare and deliver academic presentations

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

• MLO4: Assess personal strengths and weaknesses in relation to academic study and language skills, and identify strategies that can be used to further develop their skills.

How will I be assessed?

Summative Assessment:

The module is assessed by three components. These are attendance, a group presentation and a 300-word written assignment. They are all pass/fail.

- Attendance of 70% of the timetabled sessions* is required. [All MLOs]

- Preparation and delivery of a 4-minute individual presentation that is relevant to your area of study. [MLO3]

- Individual written subject specific-assessment that is relevant to your subject discipline. [MLO2]

Formative Assessment:

You are expected to participate in one formative written task and one formative presentation that are provided in semester 1.

Class discussion and tutor feedback in class exercises will support your learning and provide guidance for the summative assessments. Written feedback will be provided on summative assessed work. For presentation, feedback will be supplemented with verbal comment and discussion.

* (If you have valid grounds for non-attendance [such as illness], then appropriate documentary evidence [such as a doctor’s letter] must be provided to the module tutor at the following session. Any anticipated non-attendance [for example, for an interview] must be approved by the module tutor in advance.)





Module abstract

The aim of this module is to support your study and oral and written communication skills for academic purposes in the study of your chosen discipline at postgraduate level. The module is designed to enable you to become an advanced independent learner. The module is supported by a teaching and learning plan which outlines the formal sessions, together with the tutor-directed study and independent reading. Interactive workshops will be tailored to address some of the specific issues that you meet within your discipline. You may also be asked to complete some preparation tasks for some seminars. These will be kept to a minimum but may include some pre-reading, preparation for interactive activities and use of the e-learning platform (Blackboard).
You will be expected to identify those skills which you need within your programme, and to develop these independently through a range of learning activities that might include extended reading and reflection.

Course info

Credits 0

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 1 year Full Time

Department Social Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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