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Academic Reading & Writing


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies.


Academic Reading & Writing is a course in university-level writing. The course covers the stages of composition of an academic essay, such as close reading of sources, summary, citation and reference, identifying rhetorical aspects in a text or flaws in reasoning, developing a thesis, finding and using textual evidence, organising ideas with clarity, signposting an essay, compiling and referencing bibliographic material, and finally, strategies for revision.

Course objectives

  • Students can write a nuanced and critical thesis statement or problem question, and can answer this question in the body of their essay, using a logical structure and clear argumentation.

  • Students can use both primary and secondary sources critically, and can find their own niche in a discussion.

  • Students can formulate counter-arguments, and are able to rebut these.

  • Students are aware of the appropriate academic register used in essay writing, and can use this effectively.

  • Students are able to use the Chicago-stylesheet when presenting their written work.

  • Students master close reading techniques and develop the skill to analyse and summarize the main argument of a text in a critical and nuanced manner.

  • Students can conduct library research, gather and assess academic sources, and acknowledge academic work by others by referencing sources in accordance with recognised academic citation protocol.

  • Students have developed a nuanced view on the workings of rhetoric.

  • Students show intercultural awareness in giving useful peer-feedback and offering constructive criticism.


The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.

Mode of instruction

This course will begin with two plenary lectures. The first lecture is meant as an introduction to the course and gives and overview of the subjects that will be treated. Special attention will be paid to plagiarism. The second lecture introduces an article that students will continue to work with in their tutorials. The lectures are followed by a series of 8 weekly tutorials and two workshops. During the first tutorial the article from the second introductory lecture will be treated extensively (close reading, critical reflection). Subsequently, students will be offered a choice from two case studies. Each case is accompanied by two or more texts. These texts offer a basis for students to write an essay on an issue in the field of international studies. For the essay assignment, students will be asked to find and analyse additional sources and submit an argumentative essay. They will be given feedback on their analysis and argumentation by their tutors as well as their peers, enabling them to critically assess their own argumentation. In addition to the texts, study materials include a guide to writing with sources and practical writing skills-oriented materials made available via Blackboard.

Attending all tutorial sessions is compulsory. If you are unable to attend a session, please inform the tutor of the course in advance, providing a valid reason for your absence. For each tutorial that you were absent without valid reason, 1 point will be deducted from your tutorial grade.

Course Load

Total course load 5 EC x 28 hours= 140 hours, broken down by:

  • Lectures: 4 hours

  • Tutorials: 16 hours

  • Assignments: 44 hours

  • Essay: 76 hours

Assessment method


The following assignments are to be completed for the course:

  • Participation (Mandatory).

  • Assignment 1: Online Library Tutorial.

  • Assignment 2: Critical reflection of introductory article, including all relevant references in Chicago format.

  • Assignment 3: Bullet-point list of arguments for essay, including all relevant references in Chicago format. Assignments 1, 2 and 3 (together 50 % of your final grade) constitute the ‘tutorial grade’.

  • Assignment 4: Final essay, also to be uploaded via Turnitin.

Assignment deadlines will be posted on Blackboard.


Partial Grade Weighing
Assignment 1 10%
Assignment 2 20%
Assignment 3 20%
Assignment 4 50%


  • There is no re-sit option for assignments 1, 2 and 3.

  • If you fail this course, you can re-submit an improved version of your final essay. Resubmitting the final essay (insufficient grade only) will lead to a deduction of 1 point. The deadline for resubmission is 10 days after receiving the grade for the final essay.

Retaking a passing grade

Please consult the Course and Examination Regulations 2017 – 2018.

Exam review

How and when an exam review takes place will be determined by the examiner. This review will be within 30 days after official publication of exam results.


Blackboard will be used for tutorial groups. Students are requested to enroll on Blackboard for this course, but only after correct enrolment in uSis.

Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

The reading materials for this course will be made available via Blackboard.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis can be found here.

The student administration will register all first year students for the first semester courses in uSis, the registration system of Leiden University.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


For lectures
Dr. P.H. Dol


Passing this course is an additional requirement for a positive Study Recommendation at the end of the year.

This course uses Integrated communicative language learning method. Therefore active participation in the classroom activities is essential for successful learning outcomes.