Master Level Writing in Engineering and Productive Vocabulary: What does measuring academic vocabulary levels tell us?
Book chapter, 2013

This study investigates the development of productive knowledge of English academic vocabulary in the writing of MSc students from different engineering discipline areas at a technical university in Sweden. The purpose is to estab- lish (i) the extent to which Swedish and international Master of Science (MSc)students employ English academic words (from the Academic Word List [AWL],Coxhead 2000) in their writing duringthe first and second year of a two-year MSc program, (ii) if there is any development in the frequency of English academic words from one year to the next, and (iii) whether or not AWL frequency is a useful indicator of progression. Results suggest that students come to the MSc level with relatively advanced productive knowledge of AWL-vocabulary and that there are small differences between discipline areas and groups of authors. The proportion of AWL-vocabulary found in the students’ writing at the end of the second year is only marginally higher or even lower than that found in the first year writing, suggesting that vocabulary development during the two years is oriented at the discipline specific vocabulary rather than general academic vocabulary.

faculty training

writing in the disciplines

English for academic and specific purposes




Magnus Gustafsson

Chalmers, Applied Information Technology (Chalmers), Language and Communication (Chalmers)

Hans Malmström

Chalmers, Applied Information Technology (Chalmers), Language and Communication (Chalmers)

Of butterflies and birds, of dialects and genres: Essays in honour of Philip Shaw

978-91-87235-34-4 (ISBN)

Subject Categories

Pedagogical Work

Specific Languages

Learning and teaching

Pedagogical work



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