nl en

Language Acquisition 1: From Scratch to Print


Admission requirements

Not applicable.


From Scratch to Script is a writing course. Half of the course concentrates on academic writing: you learn how to find, critique and organize reliable information on a particular topic and process your findings and ideas into an essay that meets the conventions of English academic discourse. As you prepare your final essay, you learn how to find and reference sources and plagiarism, and how to structure your essay and argumentation. Through self-study, you acquire academic vocabulary and idioms. We also address matters of grammar, punctuation and spelling in use—in passing rather than explicitly, as they are the focus of a second-year course.

We realize full well that only few university graduates become academic researchers and authors. This is why you also practise the writing of summaries, reports, formal letters, email, short encyclopedia entries and blogs, i.e., the most important non-academic text types that you as an English Studies graduate may be expected to write in your future profession.

From Scratch to Script is not only a practical course. It is true that it involves a lot of practice; after all, practice makes perfect. But the course also encourages you to reflect on the properties of the texts that you write, for language use is also a research topic in its own right. For instance, you will learn how to write a polite email message. But you will also read and discuss a published academic article on what "polite" means to readers with different cultural backgrounds; in the process, you familiarize yourself with how academic linguists communicate about their research.

Course objectives

  • You are able to produce non-academic text types that university English Studies graduates may be expected to write in their professional life.

  • You are able to find, critique and organize academic sources on a topic in applied linguistics and process these into an essay that meets the conventions of English academic discourse.

  • You have knowledge of and the ability to reflect on the lexical, grammatical and stylistic properties of the text types written in this course and the ability to apply these to your writing.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • One ninety-minute seminar in blocks I and II

  • One forty-five-minute lecture on academic writing in block II

  • Self-study and writing assignments in blocks I and II

Assessment method


  • Weekly in-class mini-tests on the prescribed readings (students who miss more than two sessions will be expected to take an end-of-term test on all of the readings)

  • Summary and editing/writing assignments

  • Final essay


  • Weekly in-class mini-tests: 20%

  • Summary and editing/writing assignments: 30%

  • Final essay: 50%

To pass the course, you need a 6.0 pass for the final essay assignment.


Failed course components can be retaken.

Inspection and feedback

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.

Reading list

  • Articles and other course materials on Brightspace and online.

  • McCarthy, M. & O'Dell, F. (2016). Academic vocabulary in use. Cambridge University Press.

  • Swan, M. (2016). Practical English usage. Oxford University Press.


Enrolment through My Studymap (Login | Universiteit Leiden) is mandatory.

General information about MyStudyMap is available on the website

Students other than from the BA English language and culture cannot take this course.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment and admission, contact the study advisor

  • For other questions, contact the Student administration Arsenaal


Not applicable.