UCL Centre for Languages & International Education (CLIE)


Introduction to Writing your PhD Thesis

Course information for Introduction to Writing your PhD Thesis, an Academic English course for postgraduate research students at UCL.

Course overview

The course is for you if you are registered on an MPhil / PhD programme. It helps you develop an awareness of the theory and conventions of academic writing, including how to sequence information into chapters within a PhD thesis, and how to approach writing specific sections, such as the literature review.

It is particularly suitable if you are in the first year of your course and have yet to start the upgrading/transfer process.

Course aims

The course aims to:

  • develop awareness of the theory and conventions of academic writing
  • analyse the sequence of information in essays and chapters of a PhD thesis.

Course content

Changes to content and timing may be made to reflect the exact needs of the students on the course (for example, fewer or additional topics may be covered).

  • Paragraph structure/ Unity and Coherence
  • Text structure
  • Introductory and Concluding paragraphs
  • The stages in an introductory chapter
  • Literature Review
  • Methods and Materials
  • Results
  • Discussions
  • Abstract
  • Sentence structures and punctuation
  • Style
  • Argumentation

Course delivery

Each group is taught 34 hours per term. This consists of twice-weekly two-hour classes over a period of 8.5 weeks. 

Course dates and times

Day & locationTimeStart dateEnd date
Tuesdays (on campus) & Fridays (online)11am-1pm23 April 202418 June 2024

How to register

Registration for this course is managed by UCL Doctoral Skills using inkpath. If you have not previously registered with inkpath, you will need to follow the ‘Use Single Sign-On’ button.

Register now


    Homework is an integral part of this course. Homework will either be given from course books , or it could be the application of areas taught in the class to your own field.

    Each class starts with a discussion of homework to further critical thinking. The tutor gives written feedback on homework using a marking code to highlight problem areas. Use the feedback to self­ correct common errors. Detailed comments will also be provided.


    In order to benefit fully from the course, we strongly recommend 100% attendance. If you have to miss a class, please inform the tutor beforehand.

    Course Feedback / Staff-Student Consultative Exercise

    All students on Academic English courses have the opportunity to give general feedback on their course to senior representatives of CLIE.

    Academic support

    If you have any questions about your course, please feel free to ask your tutor.
    Alternatively, contact the Course Coordinator, Mrs Daphne Thomas: daphne.thomas@ucl.ac.uk.

    Rights and Responsibilities

    CLIE seeks to ensure that all students have a positive experience in respect of courses taken here, and fully adheres to the broader rights and responsibilities policies of UCL.

    As part of our responsibility, our courses will follow a logical structure consistent with delivering the content and skills practise that we advertise, but with the freedom for teachers to respond (e.g. via needs analysis at the beginning of the course) to further relevant areas of particular interest to each student group.

    Problems and complaints

    If you are unhappy about any aspect of your course we would advise you in the first instance to speak to a member of staff at CLIE to see if the problem can be easily resolved within the department. For further details of our formal complaints procedure, please email the Academic English Course Coordinator or administration team at pteap@ucl.ac.uk.