Research course

Academic and Professional Literacies

Open University · Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent)

Months of entry


Course content

Academic and professional literacies is a key topic in the Language and Literacies Research Cluster within the Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET). Researchers and students work in a variety of areas relating to literacies in education (secondary and HE) and professional contexts. Past and present studies have focused on writing in different disciplines (e.g. history, geography, history of science, health and social care); digital literacies in teacher development; writing by UK and international students; argumentation in computer-mediated academic discussions; literacy practices in digital environments; developing teacher literacies through participation in ereading groups; the writing for publication of scholars working in non-Anglophone contexts; and writing in professional social work practice. Methodologies include ethnography, corpus analysis, systemic functional analysis and discourse approaches, including critical discourse analysis and poststructuralist approaches.

Current/recent research projects
  • Students’ writing and transitions from school to university
  • A corpus-driven study of Chinese students’ undergraduate writing in UK universities
  • Explorations of student academic literacy practices in digital multimodal disciplinary contexts in South African vocational higher education
  • Women’s academic writing and widening participation in higher education in the UK
  • An exploration of subject tutor practice surrounding student writing in UK higher education
  • A study of how Canadian immigrants negotiate communication and establish relations in an employment preparation programme
  • Multimodal literacy and education in the context of new technologies
  • Scholarly writing for publication
Potential supervisors

Department specialisms

Academic literacies The sociolinguistics of writing Writing in social work education and professional practice Writing for publication Digital literacies in post-compulsory learning contexts Argumentation in formal and informal contexts Writing in English as a lingua franca contexts Writing in social and healthcare professional contexts

Fees and funding

Please see The Open University website for more information.

Qualification and course duration


full time
36 months
distance learning
variable months
part time
72 months


distance learning
variable months
part time
36 months


full time
12 months

Course contact details

Mrs Anne Foward
+44 (0)1908 655364