English Seminar and Presentation Skills

Fall 2021 (3 credits)

Co-ordinator: William Lee
William Lee


Course Description

This one-term course aims at enhancing the spoken English of research postgraduate students in Environmental Science, Policy and Management. The course focuses on developing appropriate English skills for participation in academic seminars and giving effective presentations of the students’ own research. Students who fail to fulfill the spoken English language requirement of the University are advised to take LANG 5000 before enrolling for this course (for students admitted in 2009/10 and onward). Corequisite(s): LANG 5000

This 13-week course (1.5 hours, twice a week) will have students developing their presentation skills.


Professors at HKUST often remark that their graduate students while capable academically, often lack the ability to communicate their technical knowledge. Graduate students are now so highly specialized in their research that many of their classmates, people in their own fields, find it difficult to understand the content of their presentations. This course exists to fulfil this need, of teaching graduate students to communicate their specialized content to a wider, often non-academic audience.


After completing the course, students will be able to:

  • Engage confidently and fluently in seminar discussions on a range of topics related to Environmental Science, Policy and Management
  • Explain and defend their own positions on a range of issues related to their subject
  • Ask appropriate questions in seminar discussions
  • Use a wide range of subject-related vocabulary in oral interaction
  • Deliver effective presentations based on their own research topics
  • Demonstrate skills in referring to empirical data in oral presentations
  • Make appropriate use of supporting visual material in oral presentations

Intended Learning Outcomes

Context and purpose of communication
  • Demonstrate an awareness of environmental issues.
  • Articulate knowledge of the various environmental positions and assess each perspective.
Presentation & Communication skills
  • Develop an awareness of audiences and their specific needs
  • Identify characteristics of effective presentations, and develop necessary communication skills of articulation, pace, and voice projection.
  • Exemplify professional organizational skills to illustrate and explain ideas.
Leadership and Teamwork
  • Collaborate with peers to research group projects and present collective findings.
  • Lead peers to adopt and implement solutions to environmentally based problems.
International outlook
  • Respond effectively to various cultural and national perspectives which influence the implementation of environmental solutions.
Ethical standards & Compassion
  • Recognize various cultural and individual values when assessing environmental solutions to problems.
  • Illustrate understanding of individual and societal concerns surrounding environmental action.


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