Doctoral Development Programme

The English Language Teaching Centre offers 3 modules for the Graduate School Doctoral Development Programme. These modules cover the principles and practice of thesis writing and the speaking skills researchers need. The modules are restricted to only researchers through the Graduate School, so are not open to undergraduates and taught postgraduates.

Covid-19 Update

Our expectation and current plan is to deliver face-to-face teaching in 2021-22. We have proven expertise in providing blended learning via a mixture of face-to-face and online delivery and will be able to adapt our learning and teaching delivery in response to new Covid-19 safety measures should this be needed.

If students are unable to travel to Sheffield for the start of the 2021-22 academic year for reasons related to international travel restrictions or visa delays, they will be able to commence their studies remotely where possible. We know that prospective students will be eager to know if this affects them personally and we’ll be in touch over the coming weeks to confirm which programmes are eligible. The UK government has recently confirmed that if a student needs to begin their course this Autumn by distance learning from overseas due to Covid-19, they will still be eligible to switch into the Graduate route if they meet the other requirements of the route and have entered the UK by 6 April 2022.

Doctoral Development Programme Modules 


ELT6050 - Thesis Writing: Principles & Practice

This course aims to improve the confidence, extend the knowledge and develop the writing abilities of doctoral students. We compare examples of writing from a range of UoS theses, covering sections from introduction to conclusion, discussing writing techniques, academic expectations and structure and style. We also discuss strategies for reading, planning, focusing, drafting and revising.

It is aimed at students from all departments, and is particularly useful for international students, though home students are also welcome.

The course includes one hour of self-study and one hour of class-time. The classes will mainly be online.

The self-study can be completed in the student’s own time in the week preceding the class.  Students choose ONE day and time to attend the class. Please note that each class is offered within a two-hour time frame: your class may be in the first or the second hour.


ELT6051 - Academic Writing for PhD Students (for non-native speakers of English)

This course provides an overview of grammar and the basic skills needed to produce written work of an acceptable standard in the form of research reports, literature reviews, confirmation reviews and theses. Key aspects include: structure of academic texts – from research papers to theses; word order and linking ideas – voice, prioritisation of information, coordination and subordination; punctuation; tense – use and combination; paraphrasing and summarising.

It is aimed at students who are beginning to write their doctoral thesis, but it’s open to doctoral students at any stage.

The course includes one hour of self-study and one hour of class-time. The classes will mainly be online.

The self-study can be completed in the student’s own time in the week preceding the class. Students choose ONE day and time to attend the class. Please note that each class is offered within a two-hour time frame: your class may be in the first or the second hour.


ELT6052 - Online Thesis Writing course (for distance learning students only) - This class will not be running in Semester 2.  Please sign up for ELT6050 instead.


ELT6060 - Speaking Skills for Research Purposes

The course covers the skills involved in the design, preparation and execution of oral presentations of the kind given by research students within their study programmes. This includes practice in answering questions during and after such presentations.
Other oral skills to be developed during the course are those required in more formal situations, such as the preparing for the viva, and in less formal situations such as academic discussions with colleagues and supervisors.

The course includes one hour of self-study and one hour of class-time. The classes will mainly be online.

The self-study can be completed in the student’s own time in the week preceding the class. Students choose ONE day and time to attend the class. Please note that each class is offered within a two-hour time frame: your class may be in the first or the second hour.


Registration for Semester 1

Registration for Semester 1 2021-22 will be available on this webpage. Please check back for further updates.

Registration will be on a first come first served basis.


Unfortunately, the (ELT81002) Writing your PhD Literature Review course, will not be running in 2020-21.  We hope to run this course in semester 1, 2021-22.

This course will provide a clear understanding of the basic language skills required, an overview of the commonly-used structures for the review and the theoretical basis on which to write a PhD literature review. The sessions include taught input material on grammatical structures and examples from ‘model’ reviews submitted to a wide range of departments here at The University of Sheffield; each session will provide candidates with the opportunity to discuss and work on their own reviews.

If you are interested in this course, please add your name to the waiting list. We will contact you once the course start date is confirmed, with more details about how to register.

Waiting list