Science and Engineering skills development programs

To excel in today’s competitive employment market, university graduates and researchers need to have strong communication skills. Being able to produce grammatically correct, accurate, and concise reports, papers, and presentations will serve you long after you finish your Curtin education. This is where the Science and Engineering Language and Literacy (SELL) Development program can help.

3 students studying in a classroom

Our workshops and resources help you identify ways to improve your academic language and writing skills. They include the SELL Diagnostic (a written diagnostic task) at the commencement of your course, the SELL program, Higher Degree by Research (HDR) SELL, SELL PLUS, and embedded unit instruction.

Programs and resources

SELL Diagnostic

The SELL Diagnostic is a simple tool that allows us to gauge your current abilities and direct you toward an English Language Development Program that can address any gaps in your knowledge and abilities. It is conducted at the start of your enrolment to highlight areas of concern before they can impact your academic studies.

You will be presented with a short paragraph of information and a related graphic or figure. Based on the content presented, you are asked to produce one to two paragraphs on the topic. Most people finish the activity in less than 30 minutes.

You do not need to study for or make any preparations before undertaking the SELL Diagnostic; rather, it is meant to capture a short sample of your current ability to organise and write.

Once you have completed the assessment, we can determine if you would benefit from a program to improve your academic language capabilities.

Science and Engineering students complete the SELL Diagnostic when they enrol in Communications units.

SELL Development program

If you are identified as needing guidance in academic writing, you may be required to complete the SELL program as part of your Curtin education. With this program, you can feel confident in knowing you are taking an important first step in strengthening skills that will be drawn upon in almost every unit of your Curtin degree course.

Once you complete the SELL program, you will have the knowledge, the skills, and the resources to set yourself apart from other university graduates through your written and verbal professional communications.

The program consists of a series of four topics covering:

  • Academic writing and paragraph structure
  • Paraphrasing and referencing
  • Sentence structure, cohesion and coherence
  • Editing, proof-reading and correcting common errors.

The topics are delivered through two-hour workshops that are offered throughout the semester at variable times to accommodate individual timetables.

The four workshops may be completed in any order, and can be either concentrated or dispersed in a manner that complements your schedule of assessments for your coursework.

You can access the SELL workshops schedule and other resources for developing English via our Blackboard unit, SELL.

SELL resources

The SELL Team is here to provide the Curtin community with guided programs and support to improve their writing and literacy skills within the science and engineering disciplines. These include:

  • Discipline-specific workshops
  • Online resources for self learning through Blackboard
  • Embedded unit instruction, so that language and literacy development is offered within units
  • Personalised just-in-time support through Studiosity, a Curtin Library service accessible via Blackboard


Alongside professional knowledge and practical experience, competency in written and spoken communication has been identified in Australia as essential to future employability in the Science and Engineering fields.

All Science and Engineering students at Curtin are expected to pursue the development of their language proficiency during their studies.

Curtin is committed to providing opportunities for students to develop their English, offering tutorials and workshops each semester. The workshops are Research Writing and English Language for Science and Engineering.

These workshops will be advertised every semester and this page will be updated accordingly once this information becomes available.

Library support

The Faculty of Science and Engineering also have dedicated Faculty Librarians who specialise in science and engineering. They offer search strategy and research support, EndNote workshops and individual consultations.

For more information

If you would like to know more about the communication skills programs offered in Science and Engineering, or would like to enrol in SELL, contact the team at