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English Language Centre

Academic Writing Unit

Due to the increasing demand by Durham departments for academic writing courses catering for mixed groups of home and international students, the English Language Centre has established an Academic Writing Unit (AWU) as part of its in-sessional support services.

The AWU is responsible for departmental specialist courses and providing academic writing support and expertise to departments. The Academic Writing Unit is also involved in the development of online academic writing materials for departments, delivered through the DUO system.

Departments wishing to take advantage of academic writing support classes delivered through the Academic Writing Unit should contact the Academic Writing Unit Director, Dr Philip Nathan at

In-departmental academic writing support sessions are available as either individual sessions or extended programmes (for example, a weekly session throughout an academic term). Extended programmes are delivered on a pay-for basis, while shorter individual sessions are provided free of charge.

Individual academic writing sessions and programmes have been or are being delivered in a range of departments including Education, Medicine and Health, the Business School (UG Economics, UG Business Finance, MA Management, MSc Finance) and SGIA amongst others.

The Academic Writing Unit has also been involved in a collaborative project with the University's DUO team and the Geography Department, designing online academic writing activities and materials.

It should be noted that the AWU in-department courses serve to complement the cross-disciplinary Academic Language & Communication (ALC) programme. The ALC programme covers a wide range of topics, including academic writing principles, effective academic grammar and vocabulary use, academic skill building, and themes regarding the academic culture of UK higher education- for example, the use of argument and criticality. Find out more about the ALC programme here.