Advanced Academic Writing Course

Instructor: Leticia Medina

This class will focus on developing essential academic reading, writing, and public speaking skills primarily for graduate and post-graduate students and faculty. Participants will develop reading, writing, and speaking skills needed to be successful in an academic and professional environment. A variety of materials will give the students the opportunity to analyze and comment on written examples, generate their own exercises, improve their own original work, and prepare academic presentations. The class is designed to meet the needs and demands placed on scholars and faculty to read, write, and present formal, academic material.

This course has become for me a new impetus to learning English. My educational program involves writing scientific articles. So, I received a huge amount of useful information about specialized scientific journals, rules of clearance and submission of paper, how to avoid plagiarism, rephrase and summarizing my thoughts correctly and many other helpful tips and tricks. Furthermore, this course is not only for improving writing skills, it is also about communication. We discussed different topics with our teacher and other classmates. I can say that my speaking skills get better too. English is a universal language in scientific community. People who want to connect their life with science have to understanding researchers from different parts of the world.

AAWC changed my life positively. Earlier I imagined that Academic writing was like a huge dark forest, but now I better understand what it is and what I should do next. I am just in the beginning level of scientific world and all information was new for me. For instance, during the course I recognized what the IMRaD structure is, where I can find information about the Journals and its metrics. I understand how to analyzed text of the paper and choose significant information. We practiced writing our own drafts of a paper, article critique and annotated bibliography. Also, we had a lot of exercises with paraphrasing and summarizing, which are the most beneficial skills in academic writing. Another remarkable point is that now I aware of the concept of plagiarism and know how avoiding that.

I would like to separately note friendliness and attentiveness of our teacher – Leticia Medina. Her lessons were the best English lessons for me. In her class I lost my fear of speaking English. I know that if I did a mistake she would calmly correct me. Three hours of the lesson were passing quickly because each time Leticia offered us unusual interesting assignments and combined difficult tasks with simple ones.

The only unpleasant thing that ruined the overall impression of the course is Coronavirus infection. The big part of the course was transferred to the online format. Of course, these circumstances are not depending of us. Because of this it was even more sad. It is a big challenge for me speaking English on Skype, where connection was not so good and I couldn’t express my emotions. But despite all difficulties, we met every week and had a full lesson. Special thanks for this, Leticia. I hope that this autumn everything will fall into right places and we can come back to the offline format. After this summer I am planning to join another AWUC courses for learning English.

In conclusion, I would like to say that I am thankful to NUST “MISIS” for the opportunity to receive new knowledge absolutely free. It is great that we can learn English, talk with native speakers and become more knowledgeable in our English professional field.
Anna Karabanova

Advanced Academic Writing Course at the AWUC MISIS was very helpful for me. I significantly improved my knowledge of Academic English. I can admit my serious progress of the basic understanding of such important things as the scientific article structure, academic writing aspects, plagiarism, paraphrasing, citations, etc. This knowledge was also useful even in my Master’s thesis writing in Russian. I can express my thoughts really better in English and it’s easier to write research papers for me after this course. I’m planning to use these skills and publish some of my research results in scientific journals in English in the future.

I would like also to admit that it was really harsh for me at the beginning. I hadn’t enough vocabulary and it was even hard to understand the most complex ideas sometimes, but our teacher was so polite and attentive and this discomfort started to be not a barrier. I think that my progress of Academic English was really great and it’s not a problem for me to read intricate scientific texts, listen to and understand native speakers, analyze research articles and describe their basic concepts or even write my own research papers anymore. So this course really helped my development as a writer and survival during the pandemic especially due to the warm support of the teacher. It impacted on my life positively and inspired me to apply for a graduate school abroad. I think I have more chances for a PhD study in English after this course.

These classes also changed my attitude to writing articles and scientific papers. I understood that this process can be more easily if you know the rules of Academic Writing. The most favorite part of this course was its poetic and philosophical richness, so it was really interesting for me to learn Academic English. I think that this is the most important thing for me to learn not just a language, but to learn something interesting through the English study as well. It was a pity that we had this course online due to the pandemic, because it was really nice to communicate at the university at the beginning. But anyway I understood that English learning is possible even via Skype and this skill could be also useful in the future. I’m planning to have a PhD study and become a scientist, so I think it’s very important to continue my English learning. I’m thinking about Coursera and its opportunities. I also would like to continue my self-education through watching videos, films and reading books in English.

I would like to thank the AWUC MISIS and Leticia Medina for such amazing opportunity of English learning at so high level! This course was the ray of light in the time of the pandemic, it was also a psychological support in such hard times of the self-isolation. I really enjoyed time that I spent on English learning, understood that Academic Writing could be an interesting creative act which is not just a scientific routine, but can become something exciting  with the right approach. Advanced Academic English Writing Course improved my reading, writing, and speaking skills which are very important in an academic and professional environment. It would be a pleasure for me to participate in another AWUC course in the future.
Kovalev Fedor
Master of Physics, NUST MISIS

A Comparative Analysis of the Three Qualification Courses on Academic Writing That I Have Taken In the Last Three to Four Years in MISIS. A reflection.


This is a piece of writing written in the form of an IMRaD article but in the genre of an essay. What follows is a short overview of the course taken by the author in the past four years being an English teacher at Modern Foreign Languages Department in Misis. The courses are listed and accounted for in the chronological order from the earliest one to the latest. The author gives a brief description of the course itself and the impressions that the author took away from it. The author tries to maintain the academic style but sometimes balances between objective and biased, matter-of-fact and essayey.


In this essay or shall I call it a paper if I may I intend to relate my experience obtained in attending the three Academic Writing courses meant and designed for Misis teachers and post graduate students by three different versatile and talented coachers. I also will focus on knowledge that I familiarized myself with and  skills that I worked  on and developed.

Experiment #1 (The shortest and the most confusing one)


Fall term of the academic year of 2016-2017 had started with our big boss who will here remain nameless telling us that if we wanted to stayed employed by Misis we would have to get out research published in high impact professional journals. Otherwise, the big boss emphasized, our employment with Misis  could be jeopardized. Besides, Misis promised to provide us all with a course on academic writing whereby we would learn how to write, and most importantly, how to publish. Misis delivered on its promise and my colleagues and I joined the course which ended for most of us after the first class the reason for that being that our instructor told us that at the end of the course and as a result of her course we all would have to have an article published in a scopus-approved publication. Everybody understood that that was no joke and quit.

Experiment #2 (The abruptly finished one)


Fall term in Misis had started from the call for another academic writing course. This time the call included a standard request to complete a form and an additionally it was asking to write a sort of a cover letter to test whether the applicants had some intermediate English skills. My colleagues and I applied, some of us being a little more curious that before for the instructor apparently was an American. We started the course on a much less stressful note; our teacher was extremely friendly and agreeable, and not a word was said about us having to submit a ready article for a scopus journal, or sending theses to some conference or other. Everybody relaxed and enjoyed themselves including yours truly until the moment yours truly decided, quite unexpectedly for herself, to extend her horizons by quitting Misis and getting employed by MIPT. As I left Misis in the middle of the study year I had to leave the Academic writing course too, without completing it, but having obtained some sense of the teachers idea of what it should be like. Little did I know at the time that I would be back, re-employed at Misis within less than half a year.

Experiment #3 (The most surprising in so many senses of the word to say the least and the only one that I eventually completed)


Who would have thought at the time when still another call came to participate in still another academic writing course it would have ended the way it ended, and I mean the so called extralinguistic so to  speak circumstances around the course, not the course itself. This course has been the most comprehensive of the three I have attended and the longest one. Besides, this time despite the seeming softness, mildness and even kindness of the instructor, this course was the most intense and the most ‘packed’ with both information and the amount of home tasks. It was also the most streamlined, narrowly targeted and on point and to the point as it were. I got some things sorted out in a way that I have not before. Some of the things have become clearer and the scopus scare has dissipated not least due to the fact that in the last couple of years I have exposed myself to a lot of scientific article reading. This exposure to scientific reading was taking place on the academic writing course for the most part and off the academic writing course in the course – forgive me the tautology – of my day-to-day teaching job.


It has been an amazing year academically speaking and a very odd one speaking in general terms. Now I can say that I am quite adapted to and unafraid of reading scientific articles written by researchers from all walks of life. The next logical step will be to write one myself. And the next step will be to scopus publish one.


Misis is a place which likes to think of itself as the most cutting edge in town. And it probably is. This is the reason why I made my comeback at the beginning of this academic year. MIPT is a place for the smartest kids in this country but from the standpoint of a teacher it is a little bit boring. Misis is a much more dynamic, much more modern, with a much younger teaching and administration staff and hence a much more desirable place to work in.

If and when another course in academic writing is announced I will be more than happy to attend in order to become a student again, to be loaded with homework as surely as always ‘further research is needed’ to achieve an aim of getting your work published.
Ilona Bagdasarova

About Academic Writing University Center

The AWUC provides language support services to university PhD students, researchers and faculty for every stage of their academic career and for any kind of writing, e.g. abstract writing, conference papers, dissertation and thesis writing, grant proposal writing, research papers, etc. in English.