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English for academic purposes online

This online module is aimed at both UK-based and international students who are already studying or are planning to study at university. L185 focuses on the development of academic reading and writing skills but will also help you make progress in academic speaking and listening skills. It will be useful if you wish to improve your existing competence in academic English. If your goal is to raise your IELTS scores to enable you to gain entry into a university of your choice, its approximate entry and exit IELTS scores are between 5.0–5.5 and 6.5–7.0.

Modules count towards OU qualifications

OU qualifications are modular in structure; the credits from this undergraduate module could count towards a certificate of higher education, diploma of higher education, foundation degree or honours degree.

Browse qualifications in related subjects

Module

Module code

L185

Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
30

Study level

Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU module levels correspond to these frameworks.
Level of Study
OU SCQF FHEQ
1 7 4

Study method

Module cost

Entry requirements

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What you will study

To succeed at university, you need to be able to read and think about a wide range of study material, make useful notes, and write assignments that answer the question. This module will help you to develop the skills and language to do this. You’ll explore how university study materials are organised and how academic language is used in them.

You’ll work with authentic materials from a range of Open University modules which cover areas of academic study such as science, the arts, humanities, social sciences, business, and health studies. You’ll look at the similarities and differences in language across these subjects, while developing the particular language and skills you need for your chosen areas of study.

The module is made up of 40% reading, 40% writing, 10% listening and 10% speaking. Your interactions with the study materials, your tutor and other students on the module will take place online. You'll complete interactive activities, contribute to forums and participate in online tutorials (learning events) in real time.

You will learn

At the end of the module, you’ll have developed your understanding and practice of:

  • using language for a range of academic purposes, including description, comparison, explanation, evaluation, persuasion, problem solving, cause and effect, and argument
  • selecting information and ideas from different sources and using this to support an academic argument
  • reflecting on and critiquing academic texts
  • communicating more effectively in a global and academic environment
  • developing understanding of the conventions of good academic practice

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You'll have a tutor who will be allocated to your study group, and who will be available to provide support and guidance, and who will mark and provide feedback on your assignments. Feedback provides the basis for your development as a student, and you will be able to contact your tutor by email or phone throughout the module. You will also be supported by other students in your group, with whom you will be able to communicate via your Tutor Group Forum (TGF).

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box.

One of the TMAs will require you to use an audio recording tool to record your voice.

Future availability

English for academic purposes online (L185) starts once a year – in October.

This page describes the module that will start in October 2024.

We expect it to start for the last time in October 2028.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

Course work includes:

4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
1 Interactive computer-marked assignment (iCMA)
No examination


Entry requirements

This is an OU level 1 module. OU level 1 modules provide core subject knowledge and study skills needed for both higher education and distance learning, to help you progress to other modules.

There are no academic entrance requirements for this module but a certain level of English is recommended, though not compulsory.

The Skills for OU study website provides further information and support on improving your English skills.

Please note that:

  • If you live outside the UK and English is not your first language, the module starts at an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) level of approximately 5.0–5.5 / Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) level of B1-B2, or equivalent, in each of the four English language skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking). You can find out more about the different levels at this website.
  • If you live in the UK and English is your first language, the module starts at a Skills for Life literacy level of approximately Level 1 or equivalent.
  • If you live in the UK and English is not your first language, the module starts at a Skills for Life ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) level of approximately Level 1 or equivalent.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module or your level of English, please speak to an adviser.

Register

Start End England fee Register
05 Oct 2024 Jun 2025 £1818.00

Registration closes 05/09/24 (places subject to availability)

Register
This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2028.

Additional Costs

Study costs

There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as set books, a computer and internet access.

If your income is not more than £25,000 or you receive a qualifying benefit, you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after your module has started.

Ways to pay for this module

Open University Student Budget Account

The Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd (OUSBA) offers a convenient 'pay as you go' option to pay your OU fees, which is a secure, quick and easy way to pay. Please note that The Open University works exclusively with OUSBA and is not able to offer you credit facilities from any other provider. All credit is subject to status and proof that you can afford the repayments.

You pay the OU through OUSBA in one of the following ways:

  • Register now, pay later – OUSBA pays your module fee direct to the OU. You then repay OUSBA interest-free and in full just before your module starts. 0% APR representative. This option could give you the extra time you may need to secure the funding to repay OUSBA.
  • Pay by instalments – OUSBA calculates your monthly fee and number of instalments based on the cost of the module you are studying. APR 5.1% representative.

Joint loan applications

If you feel you would be unable to obtain an OUSBA loan on your own due to credit history or affordability issues, OUSBA offers the option to apply for a joint loan application with a third party. For example, your husband, wife, partner, parent, sibling or friend. In such cases, OUSBA will be required to carry out additional affordability checks separately and/or collectively for both joint applicants who will be jointly and severally liable for loan repayments.

As additional affordability checks are required when processing joint loan applications, unfortunately, an instant decision cannot be given. On average the processing time for a joint loan application is five working days from receipt of the required documentation.

Read more about Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).

Employer sponsorship

Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU courses are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to complete. They also value the skills that students learn and can apply in the workplace.

More than one in ten OU students are sponsored by their employer, and over 30,000 employers have used the OU to develop staff so far. If the module you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could approach your employer to see if they will sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. 

  • Your employer just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.
  • You won’t need to get your employer to complete the form until after you’ve chosen your module.  

Credit/debit card

You can pay part or all of your tuition fees upfront with a debit or credit card when you register for each module. 

We accept American Express, Mastercard, Visa and Visa Electron. 

Mixed payments

We know that sometimes you may want to combine payment options. For example, you may wish to pay part of your tuition fee with a debit card and pay the remainder in instalments through an Open University Student Budget Account (OUSBA).


Please note: your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and, therefore, the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you. The fee information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2025. Fees typically increase annually. For further information about the University's fee policy, visit our Fee Rules

This information was provided on 21/04/2024.

Can you study an Access module for free?

Depending on eligibility and availability of places, you could apply to study your Access module for free.

To qualify, you must:

  1. be resident in England
  2. have a household income of less than £25,000 (or be in receipt of a qualifying benefit)
  3. have not completed one year or more on any full-time undergraduate programme at FHEQ level 4 or above or successfully completed 30 credits or more of OU study within the last 10 years

How to apply to study an Access module for free

Once you've started the registration process, either online or over the phone, we'll contact you about your payment options. This will include instructions on how you can apply to study for free if you are eligible and funded places are still available.

If you're unsure if you meet the criteria to study for free, you can check with one of our friendly advisers on +44 (0)300 303 0069, or you can request a call back.

Not eligible to study for free?

Don't worry! We offer a choice of flexible ways to help spread the cost of your Access module. The most popular options include:

  • monthly payments through OUSBA
  • part-time tuition fee loan (you'll need to be registered on a qualification for this option)

To explore all the options available to you, visit Fees and Funding.

What's included

You'll also be provided with a printed resources book, and have access to a module website, which includes:

  • a week-by-week study planner
  • course-specific module materials
  • audio and video content
  • assessment details and submission section
  • access to forums where you can communicate with your fellow students
  • access to online tutorials (learning events).

Computing requirements

You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11) or macOS Ventura or higher.

Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop, as described above.

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying L185 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our disability support pages.