UCL Centre for Languages & International Education (CLIE)


Module three: Discipline-specific Research, Argumentation and Criticality

This module builds on the first two modules by further developing your research, argumentative and critical skills in a chosen discipline or one closely related to it. This involves looking at what knowledge is in that context and how that knowledge is constructed and communicated in your chosen, or a closely related, academic discipline. Options may include:

  • Architecture & Urban Design
  • Business & Management
  • Education
  • Finance, Accounting & Economics
  • Humanities & Social Sciences
  • Law
  • Life Sciences & Medical Sciences

Aims and objectives

• To introduce and familiarise you with the key features and the approaches to building knowledge of your chosen academic discipline or a closely-related discipline.


By the end of the module you should be able to:

Discipline-specific approaches to research/advanced scholarship

• Understand and describe what is meant by “knowledge” in your discipline (or a closely-related discipline)
• Identify areas of current research interest and/or areas of current academic controversy
• Identify and understand underlying philosophies of enquiry in your discipline (or a closely-related discipline)

Criticality in the disciplines

• Understand and describe what it means to be ‘critical’ in your chosen field of study
• Recognise, describe and comment upon aspects of current research in your chosen field
• Examine and discuss the uncertainty and limits of knowledge in your discipline
• Construct arguments and/or solve problems using appropriate ideas and techniques from your chosen field

Discourse in the disciplines

• Identify, understand and produce a number of academic text types which are common in your discipline
• Communicate information, ideas, problems and solutions by effectively following appropriate discourse norms in your discipline

Study skills

• Work autonomously to prioritise work and meet deadlines effectively
• Take responsibility for your own learning by responding to feedback and using self-study time to improve your discipline-specific language and skills
• Understand the differences between the role of students in a UK higher education institution and home institutions when pursuing a course of study in your discipline


You will be assessed by an extended writing assignment (1,800-2,200 words), an oral exam and a group presentation.