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English for academic purposes

Wednesday 13 October 2010

Since this is one of the four elective courses provided for students of all Life Science masters, English for academic purposes is already popular amongst I&I students. All of you that are still in doubt, I can recommend this course especially if you struggled with scientific writing or presenting in English during your bachelorís research project.

During the first class everyone could indicate what he expected to learn during this course, so that the focus would be on the most interesting topics for everyone. In the following classes some general grammar rules and tips for scientific writing were discussed, which unfortunately often stated the obvious. In addition to these lessons, everyone also had to give a presentation and had to hand in some written texts. Both were very useful since now the focus was on the English grammar and word choice, as opposed to the scientific content which normally is criticized by your supervisors. The presentations were taped, which gave a nice opportunity to observe your own body language. Learning from the errors you made in these assignments is the best way of improving your (scientific) English. If you can schedule this course during a period in which you have to write either one of your research reports, or your masterís thesis, you can even kill two birds with one stone.
Of course, the value of this course greatly depends on the teacher and the other students, since the discussed topics depend on the personal preferences of all involved. Nevertheless, I found it a good opportunity to improve my English.

Good luck with choosing your electives!

Daphne Stapels
Sept 2010