English Language Education

Writing a PhD First-Year Report

This course focuses on the academic writing skills required to produce the report (or proposal) PhD students present to their Year-1 ‘review’, ‘panel’ or ‘progression board’.

Students will have the opportunity to write and receive tutor feedback on draft sections of their own reports.

Course details

Course Content

The course explores the following typical sections of the report:

  • Content and Structure
  • The Introduction
  • Objectives
  • Report on Progress
  • Future Plans
  • References

Teaching Methods

In class you will work through a series of tasks related to different sections of the Report. This will include analysing report extracts written by former PhD students from a range of disciplines. You will discuss your answers to the tasks with other students and your tutor, who will also provide you feedback on extended writing tasks completed at home. The feedback will focus on overall clarity, style and organisation. Any systematic language errors will also be highlighted.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students should have a better understanding of:

  • how to organise their first-year report
  • appropriate grammar and vocabulary for writing a report
  • any language and academic writing areas that may need further work


All first year international PhD students currently studying at the  University of Edinburgh. 

Independent Study Materials