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Academic Writing in English

English writing techniques for research, academia, and publication

Academic Writing in English is a course for PhD students, post-docs and researchers at the University of Utrecht and other universities and research institutions.

This course is now available in a self-paced online format! You still receive feedback on your writing and have a one-on-one meeting with me in the online version of the course. You can start at any time and you have two months to complete the course.



What's the academic writing course about?

The way that you communicate your research determines how well your intended audience understands the impact of your results. Too often research results are misinterpreted because they are vague or so full of jargon that it is hard--sometimes too hard-- to figure out what the writer actually intended to say. I advocate writing clearly and concisely to ensure the maximum impact. Learning to write clearly in a growing trend in academia.

This course is for you if you feel like you were thrown into hot water when you started writing about your research: you have all the information in your head, but you may struggle to get it down in a clear and logical way on paper. Whether you have just started your PhD or you are a tenured professor, it’s never too late to learn these strategies. I would even say that it’s more important for tenured professors and those supervising student writing to improve their skills so that they can learn to talk about the quality and clarity of a student’s writing using objective language.



In this course, participants learn how to improve the quality and professionalism of their academic writing while analyzing and editing the work(s) they intend to publish. By applying the techniques presented in the course, they learn how to communicate a message clearly and effectively in English to an academic or scientific audience.

Each week, participants receive personalized, detailed feedback on their personal writing challenges. This course aims to give participants the skills to recognize what makes academic writing clear, concise, and even stylish, which will serve them throughout their academic career.



Topics covered include:

  • crafting better sentences and paragraphs in English
  • creating logical flow in paragraphs
  • reducing wordiness and improving readability
  • finding the appropriate register (level of formality)
  • nuancing with tenses and verb structures in academic writing

We also review grammar, punctuation, and vocabulary issues, discuss the dialects of English (American vs British), and correct major flaws in cover letter and email writing.


Students will receive extensive individual feedback during the course, as well as benefit from class discussion. This practical approach places the student’s own work central.

  • The online course offers you text and video to watch and read on your own time, feedback four times throughout the course and a one-on-one live meeting. Start the online course whenever you want!
  • The online course costs €450 per participant.
  • Students from the University of Utrecht Graduate School of Life Sciences can take this course for free via the PhD course center and will receive EC credits when the course is successfully completed. Check with your department to receive credits. Sign up via the PhD center of the GSLS.
  • To take full advantage of the course, students will need to set aside enough time for editing and revision each week.

Past students have joined from the following universities: Universiteit Utrecht - Universiteit voor Humanistiek - Leiden Universiteit - Hogeschool Utrecht - Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam - Hogeschool Rotterdam - Radboud Universiteit - Universiteit Twente - Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam - Open Universiteit - Universiteit van Amsterdam - Nyenrode Business Universiteit - Wageningen University

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Now, I am even arguing (with my co-authors) about the English words, grammar, past or present, British versus American, concise writing and the flow of the text. That is what you want, isn’t it? To be a sparring partner in the English language. Taylor is a very good coach in bringing you up there! She teaches you how to shape your text into an excellent piece of art! And writing is fun now! Maaike S.

I now feel more comfortable and able to accurately express my ideas and have even started to correct my colleagues' work. I strongly recommend Taylor as a teacher. She perfectly mixes theory and direct practical advice on your own work.
Leila P.

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