SOAS University of London

International Foundation Courses and English Language Studies

Advanced Reading and Writing (2021 entry)

Academic English Summer Course

  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Fees and funding
  • Apply


This is a 3-week academic English course for students at undergraduate or postgraduate level who already have at least an upper intermediate level of English (IELTS 6.5 in Writing or equivalent). It focusses on developing and reinforcing the key literacy skills needed for successful degree study at British universities.

Students will strengthen their essay-writing, reading and critical thinking skills. The extended writing process is a central component of this course and students will plan, draft and redraft their work. The work done in the areas of reading and writing skills is closely inter-related. Individual tutorial sessions are included in the writing classes to discuss feedback and address particular problem areas.

Daily live interactive classes are supplemented with guided independent tasks.

This course would be particularly beneficial for students beginning degree study in the autumn and who wish to get a head start on the rigours of writing at university level, as well as to develop effective strategies for meeting reading demands. It would also suit those who are coming to study in UK from different academic backgrounds or who have been out of academic study for some time.

“This course taught me a lot on how a good research paper should be done. I’m very confident that it will definitely help me in my degree.” (Thanabodee Younghom, previous student)

Mode of Attendance: Online Learning

Entry requirements

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In the writing section, you will be learning about the style and conventions of academic writing at an advanced level. You will be given the opportunity to put the skills you learn on the course into practice in two main ways:

  • A series of short writing tasks and exercises done in class or for homework.
  • Two longer essays (one on a set topic, the second with the option of choosing a topic from your own subject area).

You will need to read a number of texts to complete the longer writing tasks and will be given advice on how to do this effectively in both the reading and writing sections of the course.

Key skills taught include:
  • Essay structure and organisation, including thesis statements, introductions and conclusions, main body arguments and counter-arguments.
  • Understanding the different types of essays expected, and the various stages involved in the essay writing process.
  • Summarising, paraphrasing, synthesising, evaluating.
  • Using different types of evidence to support your views and refute counter-arguments.
  • How to use sources correctly and how to reference them.
  • Understanding the differences between analytical and descriptive approaches to writing.
  • Useful language for essay-writing, such as signposting and semi-fixed expressions.
  • The importance of both coherence and cohesion, and writing in a concise and sophisticated way.
  • When to use different critical reading skills to suit your needs at different times.
  • Language work to expand your academic vocabulary deepen understanding of academic style (e.g. use of more complex grammatical structures).
  • Familiarisation with the range of library resources.

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. If you are a current student you can find structure information on the previous year link at the top of the page or through your Department. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.

Teaching and Learning

Teaching & Learning

This is a full-time course with interactive live classes every day (mornings UK time), plus daily independent guided study. The course is delivered by two specialists in English for Academic Purposes, with live lessons every morning (UK time).

By the end of this course it is expected that you will have:
  • Increased your ability to express yourself more accurately, coherently and cohesively.
  • Learned how to raise the quality of your writing through the processes of drafting, re-drafting and self- and peer-editing.
  • Improved your skills in gathering, evaluating and interpreting data and presenting arguments.
  • Become more confident in summarising, paraphrasing and synthesising other people’s ideas.
  • Become more accurate in referencing and writing bibliographies.
  • Extended your grammatical and lexical range and accuracy.
  • Learned a set of critical writing skills which you can use and adapt to your particular field of study or work.

All teaching takes place online using easy-to-use platforms. You will need a computer with a webcam and mic.

The maximum number of students per class is 12.

You will receive a certificate for successful course completion.

Students will also have access to SOAS library including our wide range of e-books and e-journals.

Entry Recommendations

Students should be at an upper intermediate level of English at least, i.e. minimum IELTS 6.5 overall with 6.5 in Writing (or equivalent).


For further information please see our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Fees and funding

2021 Tuition Fees

  • 3 weeks (1 block): £1,200 GBP
  • 6 weeks (2 blocks): £2,250 GBP (save £150*)
  • 9 weeks (3 blocks): £3,075 GBP (save £525*)

*Compared to the cost of multiple individual blocks. The reduced fees for multiple blocks above are available for 2 or 3 blocks booked at the same time. The fee for any additional blocks booked after the initial application will be £1,200 for one extra block and £2,250 for two.


How to Apply

Apply through the Summer Online Application, or if you have problems with the online form, the application form is also available in PDF and Word format to download on the right side of the main Summer Programme Page.

Please ensure you send a scanned copy of a suitable identity document (see form for details).

You will be sent an invoice and receipt for the course fees when you have accepted the offer and paid for your place on the course. Refunds of the course fees are only made at the discretion of SOAS in exceptional circumstances. If you have any queries, please see the FAQs or email

For instructions on how to pay, see IFCELS Fees. Please also see the full Terms and Conditions