Academic English Communication Skills

Academic English Communication Skills (AECS) is a free service from the ARU Language Centre to support you while you study. It's available to international students studying undergraduate or postgraduate degrees.

Do you need support with your English language?

If English is not your first language, we can help.

We offer a range of academic English classes, online study programmes and one-to-one academic language consultations.

Online and face-to-face English classes

Academic English Communication Skills classes are available for a range of academic and language skills which you can join regularly or for specific sessions.

Our classes are for all international students studying an undergraduate or postgraduate programme.

You can sign up for a class:

  • by request if you want to do one or more of the sessions
  • after taking an induction language test (all international students are given this test before the start of their academic studies) if we think you require additional support
  • on the request of your tutor or faculty if they would like you to have extra support.

We offer both online and face-to-face classes, taught over ten weeks during trimester 1 and trimester 2. These lessons and materials cover the following areas.

  • Writing and reading including support for assignments/dissertations, academic style, analysing assignment tasks, reading extensively, formatting and referencing.
  • Language support including typical grammatical errors academic vocabulary, complex grammar, passive voice for academic context, use of tenses and articles.
  • Speaking and listening including note-taking in lectures, language for academic presentations, pronunciation focus.

There is a one-hour lesson per week for each of these three topic areas. You can do all three (a maximum of three hours per week) or choose specific areas or lessons.

We also have a Canvas site with lots of materials and self-study work that you can access to improve your use of English.

To book a place or for any further information please email us at [email protected], or search for ‘In-Sessional’ on Canvas. There is more information in our leaflet.

Academic English Communication Skills - Student Leaflet

One-to-one academic English language consultations

You can book one-to-one consultations if you have a specific worry or would like help with an assignment.

A language tutor will speak to you to support you with your language needs. We recommend you do this once you have attended the classes provided.

You can have a face-to-face consultation at our Cambridge campus, or an online consultation (available everywhere) using Microsoft Teams.

Consultations are offered throughout the year at set times each week. 

What can you discuss?

In the AECS consultations we can offer advice on topics including:

  • how to format your work
  • identifying areas of difficulty with language and possible solutions
  • help with the organisation and development of your ideas
  • ideas on how to write more clearly and accurately

You are welcome to bring along samples of your work for our tutors to look at.

Please note we can’t provide a proof-reading service at these consultations. If you have concerns about your writing, we would recommend attending the classes on writing skills and/or on language skills. These sessions will help you with your grammar and vocabulary.

How to book

You can book a maximum of four sessions per term. The sessions are all 20 minutes long.

To book an ELF consultation please use our online booking form.

If you cannot attend your one-to-one consultation you must let us know as soon as possible by emailing [email protected]

For more information please email us at [email protected] or search for ‘In-Sessional’ on Canvas. There is more information in our leaflet (PDF).