Academic Writing Development PGCert

Study level: Postgraduate
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This course is an exciting new qualification for graduates and professionals interested in studying, researching, and teaching writing.

Year of entry



100% online study

Study mode



1 year blended learning/distance learning

Course code


Start date

September 2023

The content of this course for 2023/24 entry is still being updated.
The information on these pages relates to 2022/23 entry and is for guidance only. Please revisit this course page for updated information.

Course overview

This course is an exciting new qualification for graduates and professionals interested in studying, researching, and teaching writing.

The focus of the course is on writing, rhetoric, and literacies research, and on how this research can inform the teaching of writing and writing development.

  • The course programme builds upon the strength of the Centre for Academic Writing in the teaching of and research into academic writing, as well as Coventry University’s pioneering establishment of a Centre for Academic Writing.
  • You will have the opportunity to study flexibly via distance learning.
  • Specialist teaching and support is provided by Assistant Professors and Lecturers at Coventry University’s Centre for Academic Writing.
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Global ready

An international outlook, with global opportunities

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Teaching excellence

Taught by lecturers who are experts in their field

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Career ready graduates, with the skills to succeed

Why you should study this course

  • Innovative degree course (unique in Europe) exploring the fast-expanding field of Academic Writing Development.
  • Focuses on academic writing development for university students (undergraduate through doctoral level) and professional development in writing for research dissemination and publication.
  • Provides essential training in how to set up and manage a writing centre or writing programme.
  • Analyses the academic writing needs and practices of writers from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

I chose to study Academic Writing because I teach Academic Writing, mainly to international students, and find it’s one of the hardest skills to get a hang of. I teach them other skills as well, but writing is definitely the subject that we’ve spent the most time working on.

It’s also the area I see students make the least amount of progress on by the end of the semester. The main reason I’m studying this course is because I really want to learn how to become a better teacher of writing.

Anne Heringer, PGCert Academic Writing Development student 2019-20
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What you'll study

The course begins by teaching key pedagogies for supporting academic writing for both study and professional writing purposes.

It also provides grounding in the theories and practices of how to set up and manage a writing centre, programme, or initiative. The course then offers in-depth learning about how to support postgraduates, academics, and researchers in writing for publication in English.

The PGCert ‘Academic Writing Development’ course duration is one year. Teaching is delivered through four semester-long modules: two modules in Semester 1 and two modules in Semester 2.


  • This module introduces the foundations of teaching and supporting academic writing for university students. It presents an overview of issues involved in the design and delivery of academic writing instruction and support, and invites you to question the influences of context and methods of support in helping university students succeed at their studies.


  •  Publishing research in highly-ranked English language journals has become an expectation for scholars around the world. Writing advisors play an important role in helping researchers meet this expectation by mentoring the production of research writing across disciplines. This module explores the challenges and demands on researchers that are created by a competitive global system of higher education in which English is almost universally required as the medium of scholarly exchange.


  • In this module, you will learn the key theories and pedagogies underpinning the development and management of university academic writing programmes, centres, and initiatives. You will evaluate models of academic writing provision, both in terms of theoretical coherence and practicability (including an appraisal of their effectiveness, reach, and value-for-money).


  • This module introduces a range of practical approaches and techniques for supporting research active academics with their writing. The module explores a range of skills and formats for providing effective writing development to help researchers publish high-calibre research in English, including writing retreats, workshops and one-to-one consultations. It investigates common challenges facing research writing developers, such as working with writers from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds, mixed disciplinary groups, or groups of researchers at different career levels.


We regularly review our course content, to make it relevant and current for the benefit of our students. For these reasons, course modules may be updated.

How you'll learn

Starting in September, the course is designed to be studied online, over one year.

Enabling you to fit your studies around other commitments, the programme is delivered through:

  • online module materials,
  • optional live online sessions,
  • independent study.

A wide variety of resources are made available, including: specialist materials from the Centre for Academic Writing's library collection, information on academic writing research projects of teaching staff, session recordings, discussion forums, and videos. Module lecturers will address your questions and offer guidance relating to your studies. Your Personal Tutor will provide pastoral care and support.

Throughout the course, you will have the opportunity to attend bespoke live events online, organised by CAW. Although these sessions are optional, we strongly encourage attendance to underpin your learning, to meet your cohort and teachers, and to build your professional network. Students who are unable to attend can continue to study independently using the online


Teaching contact hours

This degree is an online distance learning programme, which you can choose to complete through 100% online asynchronous study. Therefore, while we make live contact and discussion opportunities available on all modules across the programme, these are not obligatory and you can study asynchronously if you prefer. As such, teaching contact hours take many different forms in order to meet a range of student learning expectations. These contact hours include online live sessions, personal tutorials, and asynchronous engagement through the module and community pages on the Virtual Learning Environment (Aula).

As an innovative and enterprising institution, the University may seek to utilise emerging technologies within the student experience. For all courses (whether on-campus, blended, or distance learning), the University may deliver certain contact hours and assessments via online technologies and methods.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are prepared for courses due to start in or after the 2022/2023 academic year to be delivered in a variety of forms. The form of delivery will be determined in accordance with Government and Public Health guidance. Whether on campus or online, our key priority is staff and student safety.


This course will be assessed using a variety of methods which will vary depending upon the module.

Assessment methods include:

  • Individual assignments
  • Written coursework
  • Essays

The Coventry University Group assessment strategy ensures that our courses are fairly assessed and allows us to monitor student progression towards achieving the intended learning outcomes.

International experience opportunities

The course offers the opportunity to learn about and compare writing development theories and practices from around the world.

The course also introduces you to (and encourages you to participate in) national and international writing development conferences and professional organisations.


Having worked in the field of Academic Writing Development for many years as both a practitioner and scholar, I have witnessed the growing need for relevant qualifications to professionalise the work of Writing Development specialists and for those who aspire to work in student and/or staff writing development. I am proud that the Centre for Academic Writing at Coventry University is offering the Postgraduate Diploma in Academic Writing Development, to which academics teaching on the course bring their own experience as writing teachers and writing consultants, as well as their experience and findings as researchers of Academic Writing.

Dr Lisa Ganobcsik-Williams (Head of CAW)
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Entry requirements

Applicants should hold a second class honours degree or above in any academic discipline in the Humanities, Social Sciences, or Sciences, and have an interest in teaching, supporting, and researching academic writing.

Applicants who can demonstrate relevant experience at an appropriate professional level but do not have the formal academic entry qualifications may be admitted subject to an application and assessment.

We recognise a breadth of qualifications; speak to one of our advisers today to find out how we can help you.

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Select your region to find detailed information about entry requirements:

You can view our full list of country specific entry requirements on our Entry requirements page.

Alternatively, visit our International hub for further advice and guidance on finding in-country agents and representatives, joining our in-country events and how to apply.

Applicants should hold a second class honours degree or above in any academic discipline in the Humanities, Social Sciences, or Sciences, and have an interest in teaching, supporting, and researching academic writing.

Applicants who can demonstrate relevant experience at an appropriate professional level but do not have the formal academic entry qualifications may be admitted subject to an application and assessment.

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 6.5 overall, normally with a minimum score of 7 in writing.

If you don't meet the English language requirements, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course. 

For more information on our approved English language tests visit our English language requirements page.

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Fees & Funding

Fees breakdown: Students will pay for the course in a staged process. All students will pay for the PGCert in year one of the course. Students who are continuing to the PGDip will pay for the PGDip at the start of year two of the course. Students who are continuing to the MA will pay for the MA later in year two of the course.

Student Full-time Part-time
UK TBC Not available
International TBC per year Not available
  • We carry out an initial fee status assessment based on the information you provide in your application. Your fee status determines your tuition fees, and what financial support and scholarships may be available to you. The rules about who pays UK (home) or international (overseas) fees for higher education courses in England are set by the government's Department for Education. The regulations identify all the different categories of student who can insist on paying the home rate. The regulations can be difficult to understand, so the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has provided fee status guidance to help you identify whether you are eligible to pay the home or overseas rate.

    If you meet all the criteria required by any one category, including any residence requirements, your institution must charge you the home rate. You only need to find one category that you fit into.

Careers and opportunities

Upon successful completion of this course, you will able to:

  • Apply and evaluate different approaches to teaching and supporting academic writing, ranging from student writing to writing for research dissemination and scholarly publication.
  • Demonstrate the ability to identify, resolve and reflect upon problems arising from applying academic writing pedagogies in practice.
  • Propose theoretical and practical solutions for key challenges facing writers from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds who wish to engage in the process of writing and publishing their research.
  • Recognise ways in which different institutional and cultural constraints shape the practice of academic writing provision.

Successful completion of this course will enhance your career prospects for working with students, academics, and other colleagues through supporting, teaching and carrying out research on academic writing.

This course combines the theory and practice necessary for working effectively as a writing developer in writing centres, learning centres, staff development centres, and research centres, and for providing writing support in disciplinary or workplace contexts, in the UK and internationally.

Where our graduates work

  • Carnegie Mellon University Qatar
  • Freie Universität Berlin
  • Hamad Bin Khalifa University
  • Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA)
  • Sheffield Hallam University
  • University College London (UCL)
  • Universität Hamburg
  • Universität Siegen
  • Vienna School of International Studies
  • VSB-Technical University of Ostrava

How to apply

  • Coventry University together with Coventry University London Campus, CU Coventry, CU London, CU Scarborough and Coventry University Online come together to form part of the Coventry University Group (the “University”) with all degrees awarded by Coventry University. 


    The majority of our courses have been formally recognised by professional bodies, which means the courses have been reviewed and tested to ensure they reach a set standard. In some instances, studying on an accredited course can give you additional benefits such as exemptions from professional exams (subject to availability, fees may apply). Accreditations, partnerships, exemptions and memberships shall be renewed in accordance with the relevant bodies’ standard review process and subject to the university maintaining the same high standards of course delivery.

    2UK and international opportunities

    Please note that we are unable to guarantee any UK or International opportunities (whether required or optional) such as internships, work experience, field trips, conferences, placements or study abroad opportunities and that all such opportunities may be subject to additional costs (which could include, but is not limited to, equipment, materials, bench fees, studio or facilities hire, travel, accommodation and visas), competitive application, availability and/or meeting any applicable travel COVID and visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand the visa requirements, please contact the International Office.

    3Tuition fees

    The University will charge the tuition fees that are stated in the above table for the first Academic Year of study. The University will review tuition fees each year. For Home Students, if Parliament permit an increase in tuition fees, the University may increase fees for each subsequent year of study in line with any such changes. Note that any increase is expected to be in line with inflation.

    For International Students, we may increase fees each year but such increases will be no more than 5% above inflation. If you defer your course start date or have to extend your studies beyond the normal duration of the course (e.g. to repeat a year or resit examinations) the University reserves the right to charge you fees at a higher rate and/or in accordance with any legislative changes during the additional period of study.


    Due to COVID-19, some facilities (including some teaching and learning spaces) and some non-academic offerings (particularly in relation to international experiences), may vary from those advertised and may have reduced availability or restrictions on their use.

    Student Contract

    By accepting your offer of a place and enrolling with us, a Student Contract will be formed between you and the university. The 2023/24 Contract is currently being updated so please revisit this page before submitting your application. The Contract details your rights and the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and contains the obligations that the university will owe to you. You should read the Contract before you accept an offer of a place and before you enrol at the university.