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Academic writing (AWR)


Admission requirements

This course is obligatory for all MSc students Chemistry and all MSc students Life Science & Technology.
The course Academic Writing is taught three times in the academic year 2023-24.


A good scientist will never be a great scientist without the ability to explain their work to other scientists. Therefore, it is vital that students learn to report on their work with easy to read manuscripts in proper academic English, with a clear and logical structure.
In this course, students learn the essential writing skills for communicating scientific results. The principles are covered in lectures and put into practice with exercises during lectures and in homework assignments. To test the skills acquired in this course, two writing assignments are handed in and graded. These are an introduction to a research paper and a mini literature review. Students improve their texts based on feedback from the lecturer and peer-review sessions.

Course objectives

At the end of the course students

  • can critically read scientific literature

  • know the structure of a scientific paper and the function of each section

  • can use logical structure to build their narrative

  • can write a piece of scientific text using proper academic English

  • apply the correct ways to source, use and cite scientific literature

  • can review and edit their own and their peers’ work


Schedule information can be found on the website of the programmes.

You will find the timetables for all courses and degree programmes of Leiden University in the tool MyTimetable (login). Any teaching activities that you have sucessfully registered for in MyStudyMap will automatically be displayed in MyTimeTable. Any timetables that you add manually, will be saved and automatically displayed the next time you sign in.

MyTimetable allows you to integrate your timetable with your calendar apps such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and other calendar apps on your smartphone. Any timetable changes will be automatically synced with your calendar. If you wish, you can also receive an email notification of the change. You can turn notifications on in ‘Settings’ (after login).

For more information, watch the video or go the the 'help-page' in MyTimetable. Please note: Joint Degree students Leiden/Delft have to merge their two different timetables into one. This video explains how to do this.

Mode of instruction

AWR consists of two modules of equal study load. Module 1 consists of lectures with associated assignments and is assessed with assignment 1. Module 2 is all self-study and consists of online modules and writing a mini literature review (assignment 2).

Assessment method

Final assessment is based on two writing assignments.

  • assignment 1 (introduction): 30%

  • assignment 2 (literature review): 70%

Attendance at lectures/workshops, completion of homework and participation in peer review is mandatory.

Reading list

All literature will be made available on Brightspace:

  • Papers from the literature

  • Slides presented during the lectures

  • Background reading materials


Important: There are only 30 places available per block

From the academic year 2022-2023 on every student has to register for courses with the new enrollment tool MyStudyMap. There are two registration periods per year: registration for the fall semester opens in July and registration for the spring semester opens in December. Please see this page for more information.

Please note that it is compulsory to both preregister and confirm your participation for every exam and retake. Not being registered for a course means that you are not allowed to participate in the final exam of the course. Confirming your exam participation is possible until ten days before the exam.

Extensive FAQ's on MyStudymap can be found here.


Dr. A.L. Boyle


Assignment deadlines are communicated via Brightspace.

According to OER article 4.8, students are entitled to view their marked examination for a period of 30 days following the publication of the results of a written examination. Students should contact the lecturer to make an appointment for such an inspection session.