Please note! Course description is confirmed for two academic years, which means that in general, e.g. Learning outcomes, assessment methods and key content stays unchanged. However, via course syllabus, it is possible to specify or change the course execution in each realization of the course, such as how the contact sessions are organized, assessment methods weighted or materials used.


This course is about you as a writer. The overall objective of the course is to provide you with an understanding of writing as a (creative) process and a habit. The underlying assumption is that everyone can develop as a writer through practice and dedication. Insights from creative writing, behavioral psychology and other relevant fields are utilized and applied in order to understand academic writing comprehensively.

The focus is on how to get writing done, not on properties of academic texts or the publication process. We will develop an inclusive understanding of academic writing as a central aspect of academic work, and the practical and psychological aspects relevant for writing well and being productive. In addition, the course offers an opportunity to develop meta-skills that are useful in studies and working life more generally. These are skills such as self-management, a reflective approach to your own working habits, and peer support and teamwork abilities.

This course enables you to

- Adopt a comprehensive understanding of the writing process, and the relevance of different stages for your own writing

- Set realistic writing goals and meet them

- Apply useful time management tools to your academic writing, work, and studies

- Recognize your personal challenges and strengths as a writer

- Understand how to make your academic texts accessible and engaging

- Overcome writing difficulties

- Give and receive constructive feedback

- Develop peer support and group work skills

Credits: 6

Schedule: 14.09.2021 - 07.12.2021

Teacher in charge (valid for whole curriculum period):

Teacher in charge (applies in this implementation): Sophia Butt

Contact information for the course (applies in this implementation):

CEFR level (valid for whole curriculum period):

Language of instruction and studies (applies in this implementation):

Teaching language: English. Languages of study attainment: English


  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    In the course, academic writing is approached as practical activity. The focus is on creating a productive writing habit and understanding how to incorporate writing effectively as part of your academic work or studies.

    The themes examined in the course include 1) an approach to writing as a process, 2) writing as part of studies and research 3) the psychological and social aspects of writing, 4) how to improve the quality of the writing. In the context of these main themes, topics such as writing time management, writing problems, criticism and feedback, different kinds of writing support and features of stylish academic texts will be studied.

    The course is suitable for anyone who needs to make progress with a piece of academic writing during the Fall semester. The idea is that you apply the themes of the course to advancing your thesis (or similar) work. In the course sessions, practical tools are introduced that you can use in you own writing process. Throughout the course, you will set personal writing goals and support each other in meeting them. The focus is on goals and progress, not on texts as such: therefore, the course is suitable for anyone who needs to write in the academia, regardless of research topic or academic status.

Assessment Methods and Criteria
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    The coursework consists of weekly lectures, group work and an essay in which the participants, using appropriate source materials, reflect on what they have learned about the writing process and how their own writing has developed.

    You will advance a selected piece of writing (e.g. Master s or PhD thesis, or a research article) in the framework of the course. Thus, the course is particularly suitable for anyone who wishes to make their academic writing more manageable and less solitary.

    To pass the course, participants will have to 1) submit the pre-assignment, 2) be present in the weekly lectures and complete the (small) assignments given in them, 3) actively partake and contribute to group work, and 4) complete and pass the course essay.

  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    Lectures 36 hours, group work 12 hours, preparing for lectures and group work 24 hours, independent writing work 50 hours, course essay 40 hours


Study Material
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    Tohtoritakuu (Kiriakos & Svinhufvud); Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day (Bolker)

    Diverse source materials related to academic writing, creative writing and self-management.

    Required readings will be made available online or otherwise during the course.


Substitutes for Courses


Further Information
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    The working language is English, but written work can also be done in Finnish. The course is primarily for doctoral students. However, it is suitable for anyone interested in deepening their understanding of the writing process and developing their writing habits. Course is open for all Aalto students, but priority is given 1) Doctoral students and 2) Master's students.

    Teaching Period:

    2020-2021 Autumn I-II

    2021-2022 Autumn I-II

    Course Homepage:

    Registration for Courses: In the academic year 2021-2022, registration for courses will take place on Sisu ( instead of WebOodi.

    When registering, please complete the pre-assignment (see instructions below). Send the pre-assignment before the registration closes (i.e. one week before period I begins) to with the subject heading 21E72500 Pre-assignment .

    Pre-assignment instructions

    Topic: Me as a writer

    Describe yourself as a writer. Please note that the purpose is not to focus on your research topic or your CV, but on your experiences, thoughts, questions and feelings related to writing and yourself as a writer.

    The length of your text should be 1-2 pages. The style is free, but make sure you address the following questions:

    1. Your general feeling about writing (e.g. easy/hard, pleasant/unpleasant). Specifically:

    a. Is there a difference in how you feel about academic and other types of writing? If yes, why?

    b. Your experiences as a writer so far in different contexts (e.g. school, hobbies, university).

    c. How you feel you might have evolved as a writer; what issues you still have with writing.

    2. Why you wish to take this course: your current needs regarding writing; your expectations for the course.

    Please mention also 1) what specific piece of writing you plan to work on during the course (e.g. your Master s or PhD thesis, or a research article) and 2) how far along you are in your studies.