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Academic English


Admission requirements

Admission to this course is restricted to second-year students enrolled in the BA programme in Philosophy (BA Plus-traject, or Standaardtraject).


This course teaches the students how to present a philosophical argument in English. During the the course, the students learn to write an academic paper in appropriate English, with attention to clarity, coherence, cohesion and information structure. To practise this, they will write an academic essay in English on a philosophical topic of their choice. They will also learn to critically evaluate each other’s texts and to edit and revise their own papers according to the expectations of English readers.

The second aim of the course is to teach students to present their thoughts in fluent English in a coherent and attractive presentation. After all, philosophers do not only publish their work in books and journals, they also share their insights at international conferences. Such a conference presentation will often be based on an academic article, but the structure of the article needs to be adapted for presentation, because spoken words are governed by different rules than written texts. Throughout the course, we will therefore also focus on presentation techniques and verbal communication in English. During the final tutorials, participants will present the argument of their academic essay in an academic mini conference.

Course objectives

This course aims to increase the ability of the student to communicate in English on philosophical matters, both in writing and in oral communication. These skills are practised by means of writing and editing assignments, through peer feedback in class, in presentation exercises and in a philosophical conference setting.

Students who successfully complete the course will have a good understanding of :

  • the Academic vocabulary and the formal requirements of academic writing in English;

  • the differences in sentence structure and paragraph structure between English and Dutch;

  • the general expectations of English readers regarding the placing and sequence of specific types of information in sentences, paragraphs and entire documents;

  • the characteristics of English pronunciation and its specific challenges for Dutch speakers;

  • the role and function of visual aids in academic presentations;

  • the use of posture, diction, timing and interaction in presentations.

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • write a paper on a philosophical topic that meets the grammatical and idiomatic requirements of academic English to such an extent that it can be converted into publishable English by a professional translator/proofreader without major adjustments;

  • discuss philosophical issues with colleagues in adequate English;

  • give a short presentation in English on a philosophical topic.


The timetable 2017-2018 is available on the BA Filosofie website

  • BA Filosofie, BA2 – BA Plus-traject

  • BA Filosofie, BA2 – Standaardtraject

Mode of instruction

  • Seminars

Class attendance is required.

Course Load

Total course load: 5 EC x 28 hours = 140 hours

  • Attending seminars: 13 × 2 hours = 26 hours

  • Time for studying the compulsory literature: 13 × 3 hours per week = 39 hours

  • Time to write a paper, including reading/research: 40 hours

  • Time for preparing for final presentation: 35 hours

Assessment method

  • Written paper (50%)

  • Presentation (50%)


The final mark for the course is established by determination of the weighted average of several subtests (paper, presentation).

Class participation is a mandatory requirement for taking the tests and/or resit.


One resit will be offered, covering the writing of the paper. Satisfactory completion of the presentation is a prerequisite for taking the resit.

Exam review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


Blackboard will be used for uploading information about the course, course materials, and papers.

Reading list

  • A. Osmond, Academic Writing and Grammar for Students (London 2013).
    ISBN 978-1-4462-1091-8 (E-book: ISBN: 9781446281727).


Enrolment for courses and examns through uSis is mandatory.

Students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timetables for courses and exams.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Mw. E.J. (Elisabeth) van Hulst (Group 101) Mw. Dr. P.H. (Philomeen) Dol (Group 102)


Not applicable.