Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session


A placement test and the permission of the instructor.

Course Description

If you are a junior, senior or graduate student in the sciences or engineering at MIT and if your English skills are advanced but your writing needs further development, 21G.225 / 6 is the right place for you. This workshop is grounded in current applied linguistics and genre research; and it provides the opportunity to analyze, practice and receive feedback on many of the types of professional and academic documents that you will write in your engineering or science studies and careers. You will find the workshop most productive if you are already engaged in a research project; you can then use the literature and data related to own research in the course assignments.

The workshop content builds cumulatively; each module and assignment builds on the one before. Class members are frequently the authors of the work under review and are occasionally responsible for leading group discussions and making short presentations. Regular attendance, timely completion of assignments, and constructive participation throughout the semester are crucial to the learning process and to the success of the workshop.

Goals and Expectations

In 21G.225 / 6, you can expect to improve efficiency and fluency through drafting, revising, and sharing in the writing process. You will learn how to anticipate reader’s needs and meet their expectations. You will become familiar with appropriate genre conventions in your discipline. You will sharpen your editing skills to increase accuracy in sentence structure and word choice, and you will develop confidence in yourself as a global professional.

For further detail, see Goals of the Advanced Workshop for Writing in Science & Engineering.

Required Texts and Materials

Caplan, Nigel A. Grammar Choices for Graduate and Professional Writers (Michigan Series in English for Academic & Professional Purposes). University of Michigan Press ELT, 2012. ISBN: 9780472035014.

Day, Robert A., and Barbara Gastel. How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper. 7th ed. Greenwood, 2011. ISBN: 9780313391972.

Hacker, Diana, and Barbara Fister. Research and Documentation in the Electronic Age. 5th ed. Bedford / St. Martin’s, 2010. ISBN: 9780312566722.

Houghton Mifflin Company. The American Heritage Dictionary. 5th ed. Dell, 2012. ISBN: 9780553583229.

Oxford University Press. New Oxford American Dictionary. 3rd ed. Oxford University Press, 2010. ISBN: 9780195392883.

A published formal, academic article, or model paper, reporting on research from a respected English language, refereed academic journal in your field, or from Nature. The article must include an abstract, subheadings, figures, tables and references. The article may not be a letter or conference proceedings. Bring one copy to the instructor; have another copy with you in every 21G.225 / 6 class.

For more of the course readings, please see the table in the Readings section.

Grading Policy

Punctuality, attendance, preparation and participation

  • Come on time to every class
  • Prepare for every class by doing the assigned readings and exercises for in-class discussion
  • Contribute constructively to class dynamics
  • Hand in each assignment on its due date, unless you have made other arrangements in advance
  • Take responsibility for any unavoidable tardiness or absences by notifying the instructor in advance whenever possible, and by consulting with a classmate to learn what was covered in the class you missed


Short exercises (5)

  • You are expected to prepare and hand in short assignments that provide practice in strategy (designing the best approach for your readers and purposes), retrieving and summarizing key information, and building fluency and accuracy


In-class, open-book quizzes (5)

  • These short assessments will occur at the start of class and will take no more than 15 minutes


Memos (2)

  • Memos should be typed in 12 point TimesNewRoman font, on standard 8.5 X 11" paper using single spacing. Memo formatting conventions require the audience, purpose and author information in the headings. Include page numbers on all documents longer than one page. Always use the spell-check tool before you share your document with others

Short formal papers (3) 30%
Final long paper 25%

For more information on the papers listed in the table above, see the Assignments section.

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2016