English language and communication skills development

If you want to excel in today’s competitive employment market, university graduates and researchers need to have strong written communication skills. This is where the English Language and Communication Skills Development program can help.

Being able to produce grammatically correct, accurate, and concise reports, papers, and presentations will serve you long after you finish your Curtin education.

To ensure that you are ready to meet the expectations of your future employer, we have established the Science and Engineering Language and Literacy (SELL) Team. The team administers a tailored and discipline-specific English Language and Communication Skills Development program.

The SELL Team

The SELL Team is here to provide the Curtin community with guided programs to improve their writing and literacy skills within the science and engineering disciplines.

Even if you are confident in your English language proficiency, studying a science or engineering degree at Curtin University means that you will be required to write reports and critiques, structure arguments, and communicate clearly in an academic style.

As you progress with your degree, the communication skills required of you will increase substantially. Many students are not prepared for this and end up struggling in the latter years of their course.

To avoid this situation, we use a simple tool at the start of your enrolment to highlight areas of concern before they can impact your academic studies. It’s called the Post-Entry Language Assessment (PELA) and it allows us to gauge your current abilities and direct you toward an English Language Development Program that can address any gaps in your knowledge and abilities.

Programs offered

Post-Entry Language Assessment (PELA)

The PELA is straightforward.

You will be presented with a short paragraph of information and a related graphic or figure. Based on the content presented, you are asked to produce one to two paragraphs on the topic. Most people finish the PELA in less than 30 minutes.

You do not need to study for or make any preparations before undertaking the PELA; rather, it is meant to capture a short sample of your current ability to organise and write.

Once you have completed the assessment, we can determine if you would benefit from a program to improve your academic language capabilities.

Science and Engineering Language and Literacy program

The PELA identifies students requiring further assistance with academic writing within the Science and Engineering disciplines.

If you are identified as needing guidance in academic writing, you may be required to complete the Science and Engineering Language and Literacy program as part of your Curtin education.

If you are selected for the SELL program, you can feel confident in knowing you are taking an important first step in strengthening skills that will be drawn upon in almost every unit of your Curtin degree course.

Once you finish the SELL program, you will have the knowledge, the skills, and the resources to set yourself apart from other university graduates through your written and verbal professional communications.

The program consists of a series of four topics covering:

  • academic writing and paragraph structure
  • paraphrasing and referencing
  • sentence structure, cohesion and coherence
  • editing, proof-reading and correcting common errors.

The topics are delivered through two-hour workshops that are offered throughout the semester at variable times to accommodate individual timetables.

The four workshops may be completed in any order, and can be either concentrated or dispersed in a manner that complements your schedule of assessments for your coursework.

You can access the SELL workshops schedule and other resources for developing English via our Blackboard unit, SELL.

To access this information, send an email with your Student ID Number and “Enrol in SELL” in the subject line to SELL@curtin.edu.au.

Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Writers’ workshops

Alongside professional knowledge and practical experience, competency in written and spoken communication has been identified in Australia as essential to future employability in the Science and Engineering fields.

All Science and Engineering students at Curtin are expected to pursue the development of their language proficiency during their studies.

Curtin is committed to providing opportunities for students to develop their English, offering tutorials and workshops each semester. The workshops are Research Writing and English Language for Science and Engineering.

These workshops will be advertised every semester, and this page will be updated accordingly once this information becomes available.