Academic English

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What is academic English?

Academic English is different from everyday spoken English. It may be used to describe an object or situation, describe a process or explain something. This rigorous certificate program brings together highly motivated students who want to improve their use of academic English. It has helped non-native English speakers from more than 55 countries strengthen their skills for real-world academic situations. You’ll get personalized feedback to develop the skills you need to share academic ideas and communicate in an academic context. Enjoy access to University of Toronto libraries, computer systems, events and many services while studying at one of the world’s best universities.

You may be confident in using English in everyday situations, but the kind of English you need for study is rather different. It is what is known as ‘academic English’ and is the type of English you need for reading and understanding your study materials and writing about your subject.


Main features of academic English

  • Is usually formal in tone and impersonal in style
  • Avoids contractions or shortened forms of verbs, such as won’t, doesn’t or it’s
  • Avoids using a linking word such as ‘and’ or ‘but’ at the beginning of a sentence
  • may use the passive form of verbs
  • Have an increased chance of success if you later take an examination course
  • Avoids personal pronouns such as I, me, you, your

Course Content

Much of academic English is about expressing the relationship between ideas. Although the language may be more complex than in everyday English, good academic writers aim to be as clear, precise and simple as possible. They think about what their readers know already, and aim to guide them towards less familiar areas and topics.

The ability to write in an academic style is something you develop as part of your university study. It is difficult to give overall ‘rules’ on the way to write for a university course, as academic subjects vary in their vocabulary and expressions,
the types of text used (for instance essays, reports, research articles or summaries)
and how these texts are structured and organised.

Quick Info

  • Course length
    2-52 weeks
  • Entry level
    Elementary to Advanced English
  • Minimum age
  • Lesson hours
    45 minute lessons
  • Class size
    Average 12, maximum 15
  • Timetable

    All courses are Friday-Friday, 24 classes

Course structure
    • 20 Lessons (15 hours) of General English
    • 7 Sessions (5.25 hours)

Find out more

Find out more about this course

Our general English courses are designed for people who want to improve fluency and accuracy in English. Some people who do these courses are learning for work, others for study or simply for personal interest.