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.

In semester 1 2020-21, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the DDP modules will be delivered through a combination of self-study materials, student-student interactions, '“live” teaching and tutorial sessions, all delivered online.  Every effort has been made to keep the courses as interactive and personal as possible. 

In semester 2, if teaching restrictions due to COVID-19 are changed, elements of the course may still be online, or may be delivered in combination with some face to face sessions.

If you are interested in signing up, please choose ONE day and time for each module via the 'Expression of Interest' form below.  The Expression of Interest form will be available on Friday 29th January from 10am (BST).  There will be waiting lists for all classes.

Please complete the 'Expression of Interest' form and we will confirm by email if you have a place on your chosen course/s.  If you have not received an email by 19th March, please assume you have been unsuccessful this time.

Doctoral Development Programme Modules 

Semester 1, start date, week commencing 26th October 2020 – week ending 18th Dec 2020, then week beginning 18th Jan 2021 – week ending 29th Jan 2021.

Semester 2, start date, week commencing 22nd Feb 2021 - week ending 4th June 2021.


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 2

Registration for Semester 2, 2020/21 will open on Friday 29th January from 10am (BST).   

Registration will be on a first come first served basis. Class sizes will be small, 12 per class.

Please complete the 'Expression of Interest' form, if you would like to know when registration is open again for Semester 2.  

Expression of Interest form  

If you have not received an email confirming your place by 19th March, please assume that you have been unsuccessful this time.

However, there will be another opportunity to sign up for these courses for Semester 2 and we will contact you nearer the time with more details.

If you have already completed an Expression of interest form for these courses, we will keep your details and contact you once Semester 2 has been confirmed.
If you haven't and would like to sign up, then please complete the form.

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.

Waiting list  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.