What kind of support available for improving English language skills while doing a PhD?
Depending on the University you choose to do the PhD, there will be a range of support mechanisms on offer in improving academic writing. Even though, one might need a little more support or commitment to improve academic writing skills when English is not their first language in general, all those who start a PhD will need some sort of coaching and support in academic writing. Academic Writing is a different art, that needs to be mastered by practising it. All the PhD students will be engaging in a range of activities such as writing their draft chapters, writing abstracts and papers for conferences, writing reports on their research, writing reports for yearly reviews of progress and so on, and engaging in extensive reading of academic texts. These activities also will offer a prime learning opportunity of academic writing.
Heriot Watt University offers specialist programmes, for example, our Languages and Intercultural Studies (LINCS) department offers English for University Study Programmes. These courses aim to prepare students for study and research at Heriot-Watt University, where PhD students can enroll in a course for one semester, that is, 12 weeks duration. Such a 12 week course will offer them with language proficiency required for research purposes. Students will prepare themselves for PhD studies by exploring research concepts in their field and working on their literature review at the same time as they improve general and academic language proficiency. This programme also offers an opportunity for students to consult their supervisors during this time, should they require and associate suitable research publications in preparation of gaining more background knowledge on their chosen fields. Click here for information on these courses.