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Academic Writing

Course Code: ENGL 1130
Faculty: Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Department: English
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture, Seminar
Typically Offered: Fall, Summer, Winter
course overview

This course introduces students to the process of writing academic argument papers, and to strategies, assignments and exercises that develop their abilities as researchers, readers and writers of scholarly prose. Students will examine the general principles of composition, and the specific conventions of academic writing as practiced in several disciplines, particularly in the arts and humanities. Students will gain experience in locating, evaluating and using sources within their own writing.

Course Content

  1. an assigned body of readings, including peer-reviewed scholarly work;
  2. exercises;
  3. writing assignments; and
  4. the rhetoric and conventions of various forms of academic discourse.

Methods of Instruction

Some or all of the following methods will be used:

  1. lecture/discussion;
  2. quizzes;
  3. in-class writing;
  4. library research skill development;
  5. group discussion and exercises;
  6. independent research;
  7. in-class review of one’s own and one’s peers’ writing;
  8. instructor feedback on one’s written work; and
  9. revision of one’s submitted writing.

Means of Assessment

Course grades will be based on at least six evaluations, including three distinct academic papers, typically ranging from 500 to 1500 words, and accounting for a combined minimum of 60% of the course grade.  Instructors may require a re-submission of one of the three required papers as a distinct fourth writing assignment.

Summaries of texts, annotated bibliographies or research proposals will contribute toward the development of the required papers.

At least 15% of the course grade will be based on in-class writing.

Learning Outcomes

General Objectives:

The aim of this course is to assist students in developing their skills as researchers, and as readers and writers of scholarly prose.

Specific Objectives:

  1. Reading Objectives:  Successful students should learn to 
    • read source material actively and critically;
    • distinguish main from supporting points;
    • distinguish among statements that require evidence, statements that require explanation, and statements of fact requiring documentation;
    • identify and assess thesis claims, particularly from scholarly sources;
    • understand the development of a piece of writing;
    • recognize and understand the function of discipline-specific writing strategies and conventions;
    • paraphrase and summarize readings accurately and appropriately.
  2. Writing Process Objectives: Successful students should learn to
    • make specific written observations on and provide critical responses to assigned readings;
    • use pre-writing techniques such as brainstorming and outlining;
    • recognize and use writing strategies, including discipline-specific means of framing research questions, introducing source materials, or citing evidence, as appropriate to writing occasion;
    • summarize, paraphrase and quote effectively;
    • revise drafts effectively:
      • read thoughtfully and respond effectively to their own written work;
      • read thoughtfully and respond effectively to peer responses to their written work;
      • read thoughtfully and respond effectively and constructively to the written work of other students.                                                  
  3. Content, Organization and Style Objectives:
    • Content: Successful students should learn to
      • write a thesis that is significant and appropriate to the audience and purpose of the written work;
      • develop the thesis effectively, providing evidence that is relevant, accurate, specific, and sufficient;
      • provide appropriate introductions to and contexts for the evidence.
    • Organization: Successful students should learn to
      • employ effectively introductions and conclusions that are appropriate to the audience and purpose;
      • write unified, coherent paragraphs, the development of which is governed by appropriate topic sentences.
    • Style: Successful students should learn to
      • employ diction and tone suitable to written academic discourse;
      • employ grammar and syntax suitable to written academic discourse;
      • document sources according to a current documentation system, such as presented in the MLA Handbook;
      • format their written assignments in a recognized style, such as presented in the MLA Handbook.

course prerequisites

Any College entrance Language Proficiency Requirement with the exceptions of the Douglas College Course Options in ELLA or ENGU and the assessments listed below. These require the specified higher standard for entry into CMNS, CRWR and ENGL courses.

  • a minimum grade of C- in ELLA 0460, or a minimum grade of C- in both ELLA 0465 and 0475, OR
  • a minimum grade of C- in ENGU 0450 or ENGU 0455 or ENGU 0490, OR
  • Mastery in ELLA 0330 and any two of ELLA 0310, 0320, or 0340, OR
  • TOEFL overall score of 83 with a minimum of 24 in Writing, OR
  • IELTS overall score of 6.5 with no band below 6.0, OR
  • CLB score of 8, OR
  • CEFR level B2+, OR
  • CAEL minimum overall and essay score of 70 (computer or paper based), OR
  • recognized equivalent or exemption.


Courses listed here must be completed either prior to or simultaneously with this course:

  • No corequisite courses


Courses listed here are equivalent to this course and cannot be taken for further credit:

  • No equivalency courses

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.