Mainland Non-English-Major Students’ Perceptions of English Academic Writing in the Taught Postgraduate Program in Hong Kong: A Needs Analysis

Jiangping Chen


As higher education is being internationalized globally, it is also not rare to find degree programs delivered in English, the world’s lingua franca, in countries where English is learned as a foreign language. In mainland China, such courses are available for bachelor and master’s degrees. Accordingly, students in those programs have to meet the academic English requirements, by which writing is assumed to be the most challenging. This small-scale research was conducted among 81 mainland non-English-major students studying in the taught postgraduate program in Hong Kong, with the instruments of questionnaires and follow-up interviews. Within the framework of needs analysis, it reports their detailed perceptions of English academic writing. Results indicate that those upper-intermediate language learners are generally able to get accustomed to academic writing in English, but some writing skills, and particularly language issues (academic lexis, grammar, and style) pose challenges to their studies. The article concludes with some feasible pedagogical implications for updating the university English education system in mainland China.

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