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Department of Academic Literacy and Science Communication

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Our department is made up of nine members who are representative of every South African race. We have an academically heterogeneous staff with members from overseas and other countries from the continent. Members of staff have obtained their qualifications from numerous institutions in the continent and abroad, giving the department rich and eclectic curricula experiences.


Welcome to the website of the Department of Academic Literacy and Science Communication at the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University. This department offers a variety of modules and courses to students of all programs from first to fourth year. The main focus of this department is the four skills of language proficiency which are reading, writing, listening and speaking, with more focus on reading and writing for academic purposes. This includes visual literacy. The department also provides tutoring to students doing extended programs. That is to say, students who still need certain grades in order for them to be accepted into a degree program by the university.

The teaching of language is customized towards the needs of the university students. In order to enhance relevance, the teaching of every language aspect relies on the use of authentic academic texts. This is done with the view to restrict the material selection to real and authentic texts which are encountered by students throughout their stay at university.

In addition to raising awareness of students to the complexities of Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP) and Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS), the department further aims to expose students to the cognitive processes which precede the composition of texts, be they scientific, medical etc.

Students are exposed to a variety of stylistic options available to producers of texts they are obliged to study in their various disciplines.

This is done particularly at first year level. Courses offered from second to fourth year take what has been offered to first year students to higher level. This is done through collaboration with colleagues from all schools in the university to produce texts which demonstrate awareness of conversions appropriate to communicate the findings of their research projects. Here, students must demonstrate their awareness of all stylistic features of academic texts from protocol to a full-fledged research.

The department also provides students with some basic skills required for survival at this level of their studies. These include basic computer literacy, library and university life issues.

As a department, we pride ourselves in providing students from mostly disadvantaged backgrounds with language proficiency levels which empower them to compete with their peers from all corners of the globe. That is to say, our students can handle any examination on academic and language proficiency demands even by countries from anywhere across the globe.