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Doctoral Schools

Research skills & transferable skills

Doctoral Schools

Logo UHasselt Universiteit Hasselt - Knowledge in action



Throughout the academic year, the doctoral schools of Hasselt University are organizing several editions of the course 'Academic English' (taught by Prof. Eric Caers and Ms. Eva Cordery). This course seeks to familiarize PhD students with academic writing conventions and effective presentation skills.

The first session focuses on the features of academic and reader-friendly writing, and introduces the online e-learning module for assisted self-study covering functional grammar (tenses, linking words, quantifiers), academic writing conventions (displaying numbers and units of measurement) and the difference between British and American English.
The second session covers the different sections of an academic paper, information distribution (writing effective paragraphs, topic and stress positions), punctuation rules and paraphrasing techniques.
The third session is a scientific presentation workshop that also includes the use of graphs and charts, common mistakes and non-native structures. Example sentences relate to students' specific fields of study.
The fourth session provides personal counselling. Students are invited to submit first drafts or papers in progress for correction and error analysis beforehand. This closing session is also an opportunity for students to ask for extra e-learning feedback.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, you are able to...

  • communicate scientific content in a structured way, both orally and in writing, thereby gaining a deeper awareness of text complexity and meeting the linguistic and stylistic demands of scientific communication,
  • apply functional grammar with respect to tenses, modal verbs, conditionals, passives, quantifiers, linking words (discourse markers), adjectives/adverbs, singular/plural, topic and stress, and spelling to the writing process.


An important part of preparing for any further professional step is becoming (more) aware of the competences you have developed and/or want to develop. In the current workshop, the following competences from the UHasselt competency overview are actively dealt with:

  • academic research competences:
    • publication skills
  • interpersonal competences:
    • presentation skills
    • oral communication
    • written communication
  • intellectual competences:
    • knowledge of languages


For whom?

  • PhD students
  • 15 places available per edition

When and where?

  • 1st edition (ST): February 04, 11, 18, 25, 2022 - 9:00-12:00 - Location: campus Diepenbeek, building D, room tbd
  • 2nd edition (BSH): February 04, 11, 18, 25, 2022 - 13:00-16:00 - Location: campus Diepenbeek, building D, room tbd
  • 3rd edition (HLS): March 11, 18, 25 & April 01, 2022 - 9:00-12:00 - Location: campus Diepenbeek, building D, room tbd
  • 4th edition (all DS): September 02, 09, 16, 23, 2022 - 9:00-12:00 - organized digitally


  • DS ST (edition 1): register here from November 9, 2021 on. 
  • DS BSH (edition 2): register here from November 9, 2021 on. 
  • DS HLS (edition 3): register here from December 2, 2021 on. 
  • DS BSH, HLS & ST (edition 4): register here from June 7, 2022 on. 
  • Please register only if you can attend all four sessions.
  • As places are limited, registering does not automatically imply that you will be able to participate. You will be notified by email in due time.
  • Please cancel your registration at least one week in advance in case you cannot make it (cf. cancellation & no-show policy).

Please be aware of the following:
As part of this course, you will get access to an online module which can be used to make exercises at home. The access to this module costs 15 euros per person, paid for by the doctoral schools. However, if you cancel your participation after official confirmation from us, personal reimbursement of this amount will need to occur (except when participating in a later edition in the same academic year). This is true regardless of the exact timing of the cancellation in the light of the cancellation & no-show policy (i.e. ≥ or < 7 days).

Acknowledged as?

  • DS BSH: category 'research management & communication skills' - workshop on communication skills
  • DS HLS: category 'transferable skills' - one compulsory elective course 
  • DS ST: category 'scientific & generic communication' - course on scientific and generic communication


Het was een zeer goede cursus. De inhouden waren heel bruikbaar en toepasbaar in mijn dagelijks werk als
onderzoeker. Het werd door beide lesgevers boeiend en interessant gebracht. Het platform waar we toegang toe
hadden was enorm nuttig en ga ik zeker nog gebruiken. De oefeningen en opdrachten waren heel leerrijk en we
kregen ook persoonlijke feedback wat een heel grote meerwaarde is. Zeker een aanrader!
(participant in 2021)

I signed up for the 'Academic English' course, because I figured that it would be in my best interest to follow the course at the beginning of my PhD. So far, I had not written any articles and most of my presentations were still ahead of me. Therefore, I started this course with the intention to level-up my language comprehension. The first two sessions focused on writing and to my surprise there was still much to learn. In contrast with my expectations, the course was hands-on from the second I walked into the classroom. The course was all about correcting errors, doing small exercises, etc. The purpose of the third session was to let us practice our oral skills. Despite making only few mistakes in pronounciation, the feedback on how to improve my style of presenting was very useful. The fourth and last session was also very helpful since it was tailored to the individual mistakes of every student.
(participant in 2020)