University English Scheme (UES)

The University English Scheme (UES) is for students who wish to take part in our programme of academic English courses for non-native English speakers.

Classes focus on the English language needed for academic study including reading, writing, listening and speaking for academic purposes.

You can choose to take the 20-credit module in English for academic purposes if this fits into your programme of study. If you don't need the credit points, you can participate in our non-credit classes and choose from a range of class types depending on your needs. We can also help you on an individual basis through our Language Advisory Service (LAS). 

Non-credit modules

The following non-credit modules are designed to help you develop your academic English.

  • Academic English
    This is a module for students who want to improve their academic English skills. We cover writing effectively, reading academic articles, giving oral presentations and so on.
  • Academic English for your PhD
    This module is for students who are engaged in research (i.e. PhD students). The focus is on developing the language to explain and present your research in both written and spoken formats.
  • Academic speaking and pronunciation
    This class gives you the opportunity to develop your speaking skills. Topics in the past have included making assumptions, information exchanges and debates.
  • Grammar for academic writing
    In this module, we explore and practise the different grammatical structures needed for different types of writing.
  • Academic reading and vocabulary
    This module helps students to deal with the reading on their courses by looking at different reading strategies. Students will also broaden their academic vocabulary.
  • Writing your master's dissertation
    This module is for international students who are currently writing or about to start writing their master's dissertations. Sessions will cover, for example, structuring text, writing abstracts and introductions, reviewing the literature, and making claims.


If you are unfamiliar with studying at university level, or just want to update your skills, these workshops are for you. The sessions are as follows:

  • Avoiding plagiarism
    How to avoid plagiarism by paraphrasing the words of others more effectively, and how to correctly reference sources using the SHU Harvard referencing system.
  • Writing a critical review
    What does it mean to read and write critically?  How do you go about critiquing an article by an expert?  This class will look at how to improve critical reading and writing skills.
  • Synthesising sources
    Continuing on from Session 3, this class looks at using multiple sources of information to support points and arguments, and how to incorporate these into writing to maximum effect.
  • Proof-reading and feedback 
    This session will focus on analysing exam and assignment tasks quickly and recognising exactly what is being asked. 
  • Preparing for assignments and feedback
    This session will look at how to read your own work critically, both in terms of writing style and content. This is a key skill for those writing essays and reports, and it is also important for those students writing essay exams.

All classes are free, and you need only come to the specific sessions that interest you. All students are welcome, but these sessions will be of particular interest to those returning to study or from outside the UK.

One-to-one support with academic English

The Language Advisory Service (LAS) gives you the chance to make a private appointment with a UES tutor. We offer these half-hour appointments on a regular basis during term time and sometimes during the semester breaks. We can help you with:

  • improving structure/organisation/vocab in assignments, dissertations and theses
  • pronunciation practice
  • helping to design a good oral presentation
  • clarifying problems with particular grammatical points

If you would like to make a Language Advisory appointment, please visit the University English Scheme Organisation site on Blackboard. Click on ‘Language Advisory’ in the site menu and use the Doodle poll link to book a session.


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