Courses Catalogue

Scholarly Writing And Communication Skills

ACADEMIC PROGRAMME: Environmental Science
COLLEGE/SCHOOL/FACULTY: School of Natural and Applied Sciences
PROGRAMME TYPE: Postgraduate

Course Description

The course unit is designed to provide PhD students with the knowledge and practical skills in academic writing and dissemination in form of journal papers, dissertations/thesis, books and book chapters among others. The course, therefore, introduces students to key aspects in academic writing, the publishing process – selecting titles, choosing the message and market, drafting, reviewing and editing. This includes, logical argumentation (descriptive or analytic), referencing styles, data presentation of data.


This course prepares the student for the scholarly work necessary for the doctoral program; it also introduces the student to a kind of writing and thinking that will enable him/her to become a reflective and critical thinker able to enter intellectual conversations inside and outside the academic world.


By the end of this course, the student should be able to:

  • Distinguish different types of research, their audiences and how research material might be effectively presented
  • Prepare scientific and technical papers, and presentations.
  • Format documents and presentations to optimize their visual appeal when viewed in-press, as a podcast or audio/video file format on the internet, or through personal presentations to an audience
  • Effectively use features of Microsoft Office to create eye-catching professional documents and presentations.
  • Effectively use features of Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, and Excel to create professional looking tables, graphs and figures.
  • Accept constructive criticism and use reviewers’ comments to improve quality and clarity of written reports and presentations.

A doctoral students student completing the course is expected to:

  • Demonstrate understanding of writing as a series of tasks, including finding, evaluating, analyzing, and synthesizing appropriate sources, and as a process that involves composing, editing, and revising.
  • Demonstrate critical reading and analytical skills, including understanding an argument's major assertions and assumptions, and how to evaluate its supporting evidence.
  • Demonstrate facility with the fundamentals of persuasion, especially as they are adapted to a variety of special situations and audiences in academic writing.
  • Demonstrate research skills, integrate your own ideas with those of others, and apply the conventions of attribution and citation correctly.
  • Use Standard Written English and revise and edit your own writing for appropriateness. You will take responsibility for such features as format, syntax, grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the connection between writing and thinking and use writing and reading for inquiry, learning, thinking, and communicating in an academic setting.
  • Conduct a literature review and critique a scientific publication
  • Use a referencing software
  • Write a scientific manuscript that conforms to the rules and requirements
  • Analyse their presentation efficiency and improve it in their written work
  • Deal with scientific editors, and others involved in the scientific publishing process
  • Prepare and present effective oral presentations and posters
  • Prepare a scientific project proposal