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Open Sign-up Academic English Courses – University of Reading

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  • Develop your academic language and skills

    Our AEP courses cover all your written and spoken academic communication needs

Open Sign-up Academic English Courses

Take your studies to the next level, by enrolling on one or more of the free courses on the Academic English Programme (AEP). 

If you are a fee-paying international or EU student at Reading, you can take any of our courses to help you get the most from your degree.

"I already have recommended other students. These courses were probably the most valuable I took in my entire time at UoR." MSc student, Chemistry, Food & Pharmacy.

In spring term, we are offering nine online AEP courses, six of which are asynchronous (i.e. designed for independent study in your own time) and three of which are synchronous (i.e. involving live teaching). Details are below.


These six courses are designed for independent learning and contain a mix of short video input and guided independent tasks, which you can work through at your own pace. Teachers will be available to answer your questions via weekly 30-minute live slots, for which there will be a choice of times. However, if you cannot attend these live sessions, do not worry - there will also be regularly monitored Discussion Forums where you can ask questions.

N.B. For summer term 2021 we are offering two of these courses - Essays: Criticality, Argument, Structure and Dissertation and Thesis Writing. These courses will start in the week of 19th April 2021.

ELIGIBILITY: This year, these courses are open to all international/EU University of Reading students studying at campuses in the UK and beyond (e.g. Malaysia and South Africa).

IMPORTANT NOTICE: If you enrolled for Groups 1, 2 or 3 in autumn and spring, you do not need to enrol in Group 4 - these are the same courses.

Academic Grammar

Learn and practise a variety of grammatical structures and improve the accuracy, clarity and style of your writing. This course covers crucial aspects of academic grammar including verb tenses, sentence structure and flow, relative clauses, modality, complex noun phrase formation and accurate article and preposition use. This is a 5-week course.

"The course was beyond my expectation. It was very well structured and organised … and I think it should be compulsory to every international student in the first year (preferably in the first term)"  Law student, Summer 2020

This course is not offered in summer term - it will be offered again in autumn term 2021/22.

Core Academic Writing Skills

Master the key elements of effective written academic communication. This course develops your skills and language to effectively incorporate sources (by summarising, paraphrasing, and synthesising), write cohesive and coherent texts, respond critically, and employ a range of phraseological patterns and sentence structures. This is a 6-week course.

"I have learnt how to write logically and coherently." Literature & Languages student, Autumn 2019


This course is not offered in summer term - it will be offered again in autumn term 2021/22.

Essays: Criticality, Argument, Structure

Better understand what is expected in the most common written assignment genre at university, the essay. The course materials demonstrate what "having a clear voice" and "being critical" mean within this written genre. You are also provided with vital tools for developing an effective argument and coherent overall structure. This is a 6-week course.

"It helped me structure arguments and provide logical and evidence based reasoning."  Economics student, Summer 2020

"I attended the Essay programme about critical thinking and structure and I keep receiving compliments from my lecturers about my clear and well-formatted structure."  Law student, 2018


For Group 4 (starting week of 19th April) log into Blackboard at then click here to enrol.

Dissertation & Thesis Writing

Develop the understanding and skills to write about your research clearly, effectively and appropriately. Each lesson will involve analysis of extracts from successful research writing texts. You will explore the organisational patterns and linguistic features distinct to each section of the text. This is a 6-week course.

"As the sessions progressed, I was no longer anxious or worried about how to begin my dissertation." Agriculture, Policy & Development student, Spring 2020

For Group 4 (starting week of 19th April) log into Blackboard at then click here to enrol.


Using Sources Successfully & Avoiding Plagiarism

Develop the skills and language needed to be able to confidently use and reference the sources you have read in your written work thereby overcoming the risk of unintentional plagiarism or poor academic practice. The course includes work on how to accurately attribute ideas to their original sources, appropriately summarising, paraphrasing or directly quoting ideas from source texts. This is a 3-week course.

"The course is supportive and produced very nicely". PhD student, Autumn 2019


This course is not offered in summer term - it will be offered again in autumn term 2021/22.

Presentation Skills

Improve the confidence and quality of your academic presentations (for both online and face-to-face delivery). This course covers all aspects of academic presentation planning and delivery, including key language and pronunciation. This is a 6-week course - there are three weeks of input followed by three weeks in which students can deliver short presentations and receive feedback.

"This course is very important and helpful for overseas students who have a weakness in how to present their academic work effectively - the course intensively addresses this problem." Biological Sciences student, Spring 2020


This course is not offered in summer term - it will be offered again in autumn term 2021/22.



N.B. These courses are not offered in summer term but will be offered again in the next academic year 2021/22.


Practise your speaking skills in a friendly, informal atmosphere and increase your confidence, fluency and accuracy. Speaking practice will centre on a different Discussion topic each week. The teacher will input functional language relevant to both topic and tasks, and provide feedback on students' language use, including help to express ideas in more natural-sounding English.

"It was engaging and very good immediate feedback was provided." 

Henley Business School MSc student, Autumn 2019

Social English

Improve your speaking and listening skills in everyday conversational English and learn common idiomatic language used by native speakers. This is a practical non-academic course suited to those students who have just arrived in the UK and have little or no experience of interacting with local people and native speakers. Each week the class focuses on a topic of interest or everyday situation and students practise speaking through a variety of interactive activities such as dialogue, discussion and roleplay.

"Very practical sessions."  MA Education student, Autumn 2019


Interact more confidently in English and deliver clearer oral presentations. This course will help you to recognise your typical pronunciation errors, practise, and improve your clarity. Features that will be addressed include connected speech, syllables, segments (vowels and consonants), stress, English rhythm, intonation and fast speech patterns.

"It is an intensive course which helps students a lot."

 Biological Sciences PhD student, Spring 2020

Academic Language Webinars

AEP's Academic Language Webinars are designed to help you with the language needed in a range of academic communication contexts. Some sessions equip you with skills and strategies to develop and grow your academic language repertoire. Others focus on key academic grammar and vocabulary for particular purposes.

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