Academic Writing for In-sessional Study (AWIS)

Explore key general aspects of academic writing and gain a better understanding of writing within your own discipline.


Course Content and Unit Aims

Unit 1

Style and register

  • To recognise appropriate academic writing style in your discipline.​ 
  • To recognise variations in disciplinary writing approaches  
  • To become more aware of expectations in academic writing ​​​​​​
  • To practise features of academic writing style​ 

Unit 2

Coherence and cohesion

  • To recognise cohesive devices and their contribution to coherent texts 
  • To practise using cohesive devices 
  • To meet readers’ expectations in large and small scale organisation  
  • To analyse different ways to package information 
  • To recognise and practise text organisation patterns 

Unit 3

Working with sources

  • To integrate sources effectively​  
  • To summarise, paraphrase and quote directly 
  • To use referencing systems accurately 
  • To be aware of tools and resources for referencing 
  • To understand ways of avoiding plagiarism 

Unit 4

Argument and voice

  • To develop a strong overall argument  
  • To identify the key elements in a balanced argument 
  • To understand the concept of critical voice 
  • To make your own critical voice clearly distinct  
  • To recognise and use language for critical


Course Days/times (all courses 4 weeks)

  • Tuesday 11:00 – 12:00 (online)
  • Tuesday 14:00 – 16:00 Central Campus
  • Tuesday 15:00 – 17:00 Holyrood Campus
  • Wednesday 11:00 – 13:00 Central Campus
  • Wednesday 15:00 – 16:00 (online)
  • Thursday 11:00 – 13:00 Central Campus
  • Thursday 14:00 – 15:00 (online)
  • Thursday 14:00 – 16:00 King’s Buildings
  • Friday 14:00 – 16:00 Holyrood Campus
  • Friday 15:00 – 17:00 Central Campus


Teaching Methods and Learning Outcomes

Both the in-person and online versions of the course will involve a combination of self-study and attendance at weekly classes (2 hours and 1 hour lessons respectively). Before each class, you will need to watch a recorded lecture on Learn and complete any pre-lecture tasks.  Lecture times vary but they can be around 40 minutes long.

In class, you will have the opportunity to ask the teacher questions about the content of the lecture, discuss academic writing with other students, and practise language and literacy skills through independent and peer tasks.

You will also have the opportunity each week to complete and receive feedback on a short writing assignment (usually about 250 words) on a topic related to your field of study.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this course, you will be able to:

  1. Recognise appropriate academic writing style in your discipline.
  2. Organise your writing more effectively.
  3. Integrate sources effectively.
  4. Recognise how to express criticality and distinguish your own voice.
  5. Engage with feedback to develop autonomous writing skills.



All Undergraduate and Postgraduate students currently studying at the University of Edinburgh.

Please note that priority will be given to online/distance students in applications to the online AWIS classes.