Academic Writing Basics Course

Are you new to the world of academia? Learn the strategies you need to evaluate and analyse written texts so you can write academic essays that show what you know as clearly and logically as possible.

Developed by Dr Bradley Rea and Rebecca Morris.



Academic writing uses a specific style and tone. It's formal, structured, and backed up by evidence. Learning to write academically is a foundational skill for any university programme.

This course introduces you to the skills required for academic writing. You'll learn to use a range of reading and research strategies to evaluate and analyse your sources. You'll also learn how to structure the information you've gathered in a concise, logical way.

Throughout the course your presenters will provide guidance and feedback to help you improve your academic writing skills as you work towards developing a complete academic essay, setting you up for academic and professional success. 

This course is ideal for
  • Anyone looking to improve their academic writing
  • School leavers and secondary students looking to upskill before university
  • International students with English as a second language



  • “I found your course excellent and easy to follow. It is a very achievable course. The explanations were clear. The tutor is excellent. The feedback you get is great and easily to understand.”

  • "I'm grateful I have completed this course, I feel a lot more prepared."

  • "Easy to follow, and challenged my thinking and knowledge."

  • “As an adult learner who has never studied at a University level, it was a great course to start off with to enhance my skills in academic writing prior to my starting at University.”

  • “I enjoyed the logical progression of the lessons. [This course] has helped me feel more confident.”

What you'll learn

  • Strategies to find key concepts in academic resources
  • How to evaluate the credibility of a resource
  • The basics of formal writing conventions

Course outline

Our courses are flexible, enabling you to plan your study around your other commitments. You can choose to study when it suits you during the learning period (7 October – 8 December, with a one-week study break from 4-10 November), followed by a 2-week review period for marking and feedback (9 –22 December).

We recommend completing around 6 hours of study a week during the learning period (excluding the study break) – you can view the course overview here for more details on assessment timings. 

Module 1: Academic reading and secondary research
Learn how to use a range of reading strategies to evaluate written texts for academic purposes.

Module 2: Essay structure and paragraph unity
Understand the basic structure of an academic essay and how to write a unified, coherent paragraph.

Module 3: Formal writing, editing, and proofreading
Understand the differences between formal and informal writing styles and learn effective editing and proofreading strategies.


  • Module 1 = 30% (submit assignment 1)
  • Module 2 = 30% (submit assignment 2)
  • Module 3 = 40% (submit assignment 3)

Upon successful completion of the course you will be issued a digital badge to recognise your learning achievements. This can take up to 2 months to be delivered after the marking and feedback period.  


There are no prerequisites for this course. It’s for anyone looking to understand what academic writing is and improve their skills to support their future academic pursuits.

It's ideal for secondary students, school leavers, those with English as a second language, and anyone who wants to hone their academic writing skills. 

Technology Requirements

We recommend a laptop or desktop computer and a reliable internet connection. For most courses you'll need to download and populate assignments. These are usually available in Microsoft Word.

Course fees

Course fees must be paid before learning can begin, either via online credit-card payment, or by contacting to request an invoice. Please note: fixed invoice payment dates apply, so we recommend getting in touch with us as soon as possible to request an invoice, as this option is subject to availability.

Group discounts

Get your colleagues together to take advantage of our group discounts: 

  • 10% for 3 - 6 learners
  • 15% for 7+ learners

Contact our Partnerships Manager to learn more and enquire now.

Minimum Enrolment Threshold

Please note: Tuihono UC | UC Online has a minimum enrolment threshold that must be met to enable opportunities for interaction, discussion, and feedback. If the minimum number of enrolments required for a course is not met, enrolled students will be given the option to defer their enrolment to the next course date, or receive a refund. 

Our people

Portrait photo of Rebecca Morris

Rebecca Morris

Transition Programme Teacher | BA, PGDipTchgLn

Rebecca has taught academic writing at the University of Canterbury since 2019 and loves teaching this skill to adults.

She believes strongly in the value of being a lifelong learner. There’s something wonderful about being surrounded by individuals embarking on this journey for themselves and being able to offer a bit of support along the way.

Mā te kimi ka kite,
mā te kite ka mōhio,
mā te mōhio ka mārama.

Seek and discover,
discover and know,
know and become enlightened.
Portrait photo of Bradley William Rea

Bradley William Rea

Academic Writing Educator | BA hons, PhD

Bradley is an academic writing educator in UC's Transition Programme. After majoring in Education and English, his love of Sci-fi resulted in a doctoral thesis titled 'Science and Fiction: The Narrative Representation of Evolutionary Theory'. This was likely inspired by repetitively watching Return of the Jedi as a child.

Please note: our academic team develop and present video content within their courses, but are not always the course facilitator. The course facilitator will engage with learners in the course forums, answer queries and mark assignments.