Essential Academic Skills for Degree or Masters Level Study - 20 Credits - Module

Course Code:
LBR6585, LBR7559
Short Course (19 weeks)
October 2019, January 2020

Academic skills are the foundation building blocks we use to communicate our knowledge, demonstrate our understanding, and advance our thinking on any topic. This module is aimed at students who wish to develop these essential skills in order to improve their capabilities and excel at university.

Whether you are returning to university study after a break or you simply want to refine your skills for Level 6 or 7 study, this module is tailored to your needs and delivered by nurturing and caring experts in academic skills. 

What's covered in the course?

This module will explore, discuss, and practice the essential skills required for successful degree-level or masters level study. These skills include those related to general study - such as literature searching, planning and use of evidence -  to those related to assignments - such as  academic writing, critical analysis and referencing – and those related more widely to personal/professional development – such as reflection, enquiry and problem-solving.

The module is flexible however, and as such the precise content is tailored to the development needs of students, with multiple sessions being set aside for one-to-one tutorials and bespoke workshops. This approach involves students being active partners in their own development, in both directed and self-directed learning, upon which you will receive regular feedback and opportunities to discuss progression with the module team, in order to optimise the development of your academic skills.  

A blended-learning approach is adopted for this module, incorporating a mix of classroom sessions, online activities and self-directed learning. The module is also designed to be collaborative, and you will be invited to work with, encourage and share experiences with your fellow students, something the small cohort size of this module enables.

The module is delivered by a dedicated and caring team of academic skills specialists, as well as invited experts, who will support you along your development journey.  

Why Choose Us?

  • The module covers the essential skills to be successful at degree level study with additional emphasis on wider skills for continuing personal and professional development
  • Delivered by dedicated and caring staff who are experts in academic skills teaching
  • Small cohort teaching with many opportunities for one-to-one tutorials and bespoke workshops
  • Students are an active partners in their development. Content and support is tailored your needs
  • Blended learning approach, utilising a range of innovative online technologies to complement in-class content


This course is worth...

20 credits

This course is open to International students

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
Module Oct 2019 SC 19 weeks
Jan 2020 SC 19 weeks

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
Module Oct 2019 SC 19 weeks
Jan 2020 SC 19 weeks

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead. Fees for 2019/20 will be published as soon as possible. The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

How to apply

Complete the online application form via the link above, including the name of the module you are enrolling onto. 

Entry requirements

This module is suitable for any student wanting to develop their academic skills. It would be particularly useful for students who have had a break from higher education and are returning to study, for international students new to UK higher education, and for students wanting to improve and refine their academic skills.

Level 6

This module will provide you with the opportunity to develop your academic skills in order to excel at Degree level study and beyond. The module is aimed at students who wish to develop their academic skills in order to be successful at level 6 study. You will be facilitated to develop the independent learning and academic scholarship required to support continuing personal and professional development.

L6 Module Description
20 credits

Level 7

This module will provide you with the opportunity to develop your academic skills in order to excel at Masters level study and beyond. The module is aimed at students who wish to develop their academic skills in order to be successful at Master’s level study. You will be facilitated to develop the independent learning and advanced academic scholarship required to support continuing personal and professional development.

L7 Module Description
20 credits

Course structure

Level 6

This module is practice-led, with most of the time and attention being paid to the practice of doing academic work and the skills required to do it successfully. This is supplemented (where appropriate) by theories and concepts related to the skills we explore.

The course is structured around the core contact session, for which there is pre-session and post-session activities to be done. Many of these will involve the completion of online activities.

The vast majority of time on this module will be spent in directed and self-directed study, rather than inside the classroom. Much of this will be based upon your own identified learning needs and tutorial support is offered by the module team to help in the progression of this development. 

Level 7

This course is tailored towards health and social care practitioners who are undertaking Masters level study and wish to develop their academic skills.

Through a programme of blended learning you will have to opportunity to develop skills of enquiry, reflection and problem solving. You will be encouraged to think critical and share in practice experiences with your fellow students, as well as engaging in both directed and self-directed learning activities.  You will be an active partner in your own learning and development and in return you will receive regular feedback and feedforward aimed at developing the academic skills require for successful study at MSc level. 

This module is particularly beneficial for international students who are undertaking MSc level study in the UK.  Practitioners working at a senior level in health and social care will also benefit from undertaking this programme of study which has a strong focus on personal and professional development.  


  • 3000 word reflective account demonstrating how your learning has developed.
  • 10 minute presentation outlining the focus of your reflective account. 

Course dates

Please check the course dates to see when your chosen modules are available throughout the year.

Download the course dates

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.


BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

The creation of our new suite of courses in Sport and Life Sciences is yet another exciting development at Birmingham City University. The 10,500sq metre building at City South Campus will enable us to offer a wide range of new health, nutrition, biomedical science and sports courses, as well as providing a new home for our education programmes.

Not only are we investing £41 million in a new building to house the laboratories and teaching spaces needed, but we also plan to open up these facilities to benefit all students and the wider community. This will complement our existing sports facilities, which already provide a base for students to compete in activities ranging from rugby to jiu jitsu.

The courses will reflect the latest developments in our teaching and our focus on practice-led learning with work placements and live industry case studies incorporated into the curriculum. All courses have been co-designed with employers and are endorsed or accredited by professional bodies where appropriate.

By expanding our provision to these new areas, we will be helping to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing society today, such as obesity and unhealthy lifestyles, by encouraging and supporting healthy eating and greater physical activity.

In addition, we will be producing graduates who can support elite performers in meeting the UK’s ambitions for sporting success at events such as the Olympics and other world sporting tournaments. We are constantly looking to enhance the range of courses we offer - please check all our courses for the latest additions to our portfolio.

Simulation Mannequins

We have several Simulation men (SIM men) and Simulation babies (SIM babies) which are leading edge, anatomically correct mannequins used for teaching specific techniques such as advanced adult and paediatric life support skills, acute and high dependency clinical skills, first aid and communication skills.

Simulation Mannequins

SPACE skills practice model


SPACE is an innovative practice area all students can access to use equipment and resources to practise a wide range of skills in a safe, welcoming and supportive environment. It provides students with a creative learning environment to get the best educational experience before becoming a health care professional.


Learning Facilities

We offer up-to-date, innovative facilities that simulate the real situations that medical staff may come across. These resources are essential in offering students a hands-on introduction to health and social care practice.

Learning Facilities

Nursing - Facilities - Virtual Tour

Virtual Tour

Explore our facilities in 360 panoramas, including welcome videos from key members of staff and Health and Wellbeing student profiles.

Virtual Tour

Doug Ellis Sports Centre

Our £8.5 million Doug Ellis Sports Centre boasts an 80-station fitness suite, an eight-court sports hall, and workout and spinning studios. The centre offers state-of-the-art fitness training equipment and plenty of room for team sports including five-a-side football and cricket. An all-weather pitch adds the finishing touches to the centre.

Visitors to the gym can choose a personalised fitness programme, instructed by qualified fitness trainers, and take advantage of a selection of classes, such as yoga, salsa or body combat.

Doug Ellis Sports Centre website

Dr Barbara Howard Hunt

Senior Lecturer / Academic Development Coordinator

Barbara has a background in qualitative and mixed methods research focusing specifically on service evaluation and the lived experience of individuals especially those affected by adversities or traumatic events. She also has a particular interest in personal development, specifically academic development and has tutored for both the Open University and the Royal College of Nursing on distance learning programmes.

Simon Cook Staff profile

Simon Cook

Senior Lecturer in Academic Support

Simon is a passionate teacher and researcher with specialisms in human geography and academic skills support.

At BCU, he is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, developing and providing academic skills support to international postgraduate students on the MSc Professional Practice Programme.

David Maynard

Education Facilitator / Numeracy Coordinator

David is an academic skills tutor with special training in supporting students with specific learning difficulties and with expertise in supporting students in numeracy. He is a member of the Personal Development Department.

David is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He has a Masters degree in Higher Education. David has worked in adult and higher education for 28 years of which the last 9 have been in the Personal Development Department.

Module Leader

If you have any queries about this course please contact the Module Leader, Simon Cook for Level 6 on:

For Level 7 please contact the module leader, Barbara Howard-Hunt on:

Professional Navigator

Our Professional Navigator, Nicola Clarke, are also on hand to offer guidance and will help you to choose which modules are best for you, taking into account your aims, professional or clinical experience, KSF requirements and your academic achievements.

Call Nicola on +44 (0)121 331 6162.

Professional practice routes

Have a look at all of our Professional Practice Healthcare routes available.

Professional Practice Routes