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Academic Support Programme (for MA students)

For all full-time & part-time ENGL MA students.

Key points

  • The programme is free of charge and is open to both part-time and full-time ENGL MA students;
  • The programme is non-credit-bearing;
  • Teaching is on Saturday mornings only and if you have programme subjects timetabled on Saturday morning you must attend those subjects;
  • There is no formal assessment but you will be expected to prepare for the sessions;
  • Teaching and learning will be interactive with practice and feedback provided in the sessions;
  • Modules 1 and 2 are run early in Semester 1 to maximize their helpfulness to your studies but Module 3 is delayed to the beginning of Semester 2, when many of you begin your research project work;
  • Student numbers are not limited for the modules, but modules will not run if fewer than 15 students register for them;


The programme aims to improve your

  • skills in getting and using information from academic sources;
  • ability to express in your own words and with acknowledgement the information you get from sources;
  • understanding of the overall structure of academic texts and the patterns of argumentation found within the structure;
  • ability to produce academic writing that is coherent and cohesive;
  • skills in achieving appropriate tone and style in academic writing;
  • ability to plan and structure oral presentations in English;
  • skills in using verbal and non-verbal communication to deliver oral presentations;
  • understanding of the overall structure of a research project report;
  • ability to write effective sections of research reports: introduction, literature review, method, results, discussion and conclusion.

Through participating in the programme, you will also

  • enhance your critical and analytical skills;
  • develop a sense of belonging to the academic discourse community;
  • improve your ability to learn independently.

Module outlines

You may choose to register for one, two or all three modules but you will be expected to commit yourself to completing all study hours assigned for a module once you have registered for it. A roll call will be taken in every class.

Saturday, Sept 9, Sept 16, Sept 23, Oct 7, 2023 (Weeks 1-3, 5)

Time: 9:30am-12:00pm

Venue: HJ202

Teacher: Dr Max Diaz

Week 1
  • The purposes of academic writing
  • Accessing sources of information: academic reading strategies
  • The structure of academic text

Week 2

  • Writing the body of an academic text
  • Patterns of argumentation: cause and effect, discussion-evaluation, problem-solution etc.

Week 3

  • Coherence in academic text
  • Cohesion in academic writing
  • Grammar and lexis in academic text

Week 5

  • Using sources: summarizing and synthesizing information
  • Citation of sources
  • Achieving appropriate academic tone and style

Saturday, Oct 28, Nov 4, Nov 18 & Nov 25 2023 (Weeks 8-9, 11-12)

Time: 9:30am-12:00pm

Venue: HJ202 

Teacher: Dr Max Diaz

Week 8
  • The purposes of and audiences for academic oral presentations
  • Spoken versus written communication
  • The structure of an academic presentation
  • Finding and applying to academic conferences (writing an abstract)

Week 9

  • Verbal qualities in academic oral presentations
  • The importance of non-verbal qualities
  • Organizing presentations and garnering audience interest
  • Showcasing academic conferences currently available
  • Critiquing videoed presentations

Week 11

  • Practice session 1: first half of class presents

Week 12

  • Practice session 2: second half of class presents

Semester 2: Saturday, Feb 4, Feb 11, Feb 18, and 11 March, 2023 (Weeks 3-5, 8)

Time: 9:30am-12:00pm

Venue: HJ202 (access link for online classes will be available at Blackboard in due course)

Teacher: Dr Max Diaz

Week 3
  • The purposes of a project report: the roles of primary and secondary data in research
  • The macro-structure of a project report
  • Writing the Introduction, Conclusion and Abstract

Week 4

  • Writing the Literature Review

Week 5

  • Writing the Methodology section

Week 8

  • Writing the Findings and Discussion section 


Please note that the on-line registration period for Modules 1 & 2 is in late Aug / early Sep and Module 3 is in late Dec / early Jan; students will be notified by email in due course.

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