Scientific English

Degree course: 
Academic year when starting the degree: 
Academic year in which the course will be held: 
Course type: 
Various educational activities
Second semester
Standard lectures hours: 
Detail of lecture’s hours: 
Lesson (24 hours)

None, but a B1/B2 level of English will be an advantage.

Final Examination: 

The final exam is a written test divided into 3 parts:
1) Analysis of a scientific abstract in English with the communicative move model (5 points);
2) Writing a title for an abstract (5 points);
3) Writing and abstract based on given hypotheses, thesis and data (20 points).
The test is worth 30 points, the pass mark is 18/30. If students obtain a fail mark (17 or below), they will have to take the exam again.

Voto Finale

The course aims to provide students with the necessary elements to organise in a coherent and logical way some of the forms of communication used in the field of biomedical research, such as writing abstracts and research articles for international journals and conferences.
In particular, students are required to show that they have acquired a correct and appropriate scientific vocabulary, the main morphosyntactic structures of Academic Scientific English, and they can read and understand authentic scientific texts (research articles, abstracts, etc.) and have developed some academic writing skills.
The crucial linguistic skills of the course are writing, reading and comprehension, but also speaking, so the student will have to learn how to express agreement and disagreement with theses and hypotheses, discuss results and data from tables, describe their research.
Finally, special emphasis will be placed on consulting specialist bibliographic material in the scientific field, databases, pronunciation dictionaries, online and paper monolingual dictionaries, in order to adequately support their self-study and develop the required skills.

The course covers the following topics:
1. Reading and discussing abstracts and articles from a corpus of authentic texts.
2. Analysing the vocabulary, the morphosyntactic structures and communicative/argumentative functions of Academic English:
a) working with academic vocabulary: key nouns, key verbs, key adjectives, key adverbs, phrasal verbs, key quantifying expressions;
b) word combinations: prepositional phrases, verbs/nouns and prepositions, fixed expressions;
c) at academic institutions: academic courses, applications and application forms;
d) ways of talking about: sources, facts, evidence and data, numbers, statistics, graphs and diagrams, cause and effect;
e) opinions and ideas: talking about ideas, reporting what others say, analysis of results, talking about meaning, research and study aims, talking about points of view;
f) functions: presenting a topic, organising your writing, making a presentation, describing research methods, classifying, making connections, comparing and contrasting, describing problems, situation, processes and procedures, change, evaluation and emphasis, summary and conclusions.
3. Exploring the morphology of the academic vocabulary in papers and abstracts.
4. Acquiring and using academic writing strategies to write an abstract according the functional moves Background, Purpose, Methods, Findings and Conclusion/Discussion.

All material will be uploaded onto the course's platform.
Further references:
- Michael McCarthy, Felicity O'Dell, Academic Vocabulary in Use, CUP, Cambridge, 2008.
- John M. Swales, Christine B. Feak, Academic Writing for Graduate Students, The University of Michigan Press, 2009.


Frontal lessons with activities in class, such as vocabulary exercises, reading authentic texts, mock tests. Optional: grammar and listening exercises through the self-learning platform.

Office hours: by email appointment. The course professor is also usually available before and after class.