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.

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We look at what knowledge is and how it is constructed and communicated in the context of your chosen (or closely related) academic discipline.

Options may include:

  • Architecture & Urban Design
  • Business & Management
  • Education
  • Finance & Economics
  • Humanities & Social Sciences
  • Law
  • Life Sciences & Medical Sciences
  • Public Policy
  • Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)

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 are assessed through an Extended essay (1,800-2,200 words) on a topic related to your intended degree programme.