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University of Leeds

Critical Thinking at University: An Introduction

University of Leeds via FutureLearn


Make sure you have the critical thinking skills required for university

Critical thinking is a vital skill at university and later in life. University study introduces you to new concepts, ways of learning and requires you to think critically. You need to know how to question information sources and how to evaluate different arguments.

Despite critical thinking being so important, students are often unprepared when they start their studies. This course will show you what critical thinking skills you need at university level, how they can be applied to different disciplines and how to use practical strategies to develop these skills for a successful academic life.

This course has been ranked as one of the best online courses of all time by online course aggregator class central.

This course is for anyone preparing to study at university level or for current university students. You may be an undergraduate or a new taught postgraduate student who might be unfamiliar with studying in the UK. If you want to have a successful academic life, this course will give you the foundations whatever your discipline at university.

Critical thinking skills are also valued later life by employers, so if you want to refresh your skills, this practical online course is for you.

The course is part of the academic skills courses portfolio at the University of Leeds aiming to improve skills required for academic study.


  • Critical thinking and what it means at university
    • Welcome
    • What is critical thinking?
    • A model for critical thinking
    • Why is critical thinking important at university?
    • Summary
  • Improving your critical thinking
    • Welcome to Week 2
    • Challenges to thinking critically at university
    • How can you improve your critical thinking?
    • How will critical thinking help you at university?
    • Summary

Taught by

Jiani Liu and Michelle Schneider


4.8 rating, based on 147 Class Central reviews

4.7 rating at FutureLearn based on 149 ratings

Start your review of Critical Thinking at University: An Introduction

  • Gives a good overview over what Critical Thinking is, what is expected from a Critical Thinker, and how Critical Thinking is split into three stages. This is a good introduction for a beginner. However, I wish there were more exercises in order to practise our Critical Thinking skills.
  • Thanks to this practical course, I have a better grasp of what critical thinking is. Before I took this course, my approach to critical thinking was to ask questions whatever came up to me. However, this introductory course gave me a more structured…
  • Anonymous
    Whilst I found the course, plain, straightforward, helpful and logical in its approach and explanations, reviewing the work of 2 other students has not convinced me that it was helpful to them. Both, as their names names seemed to suggest, may be from culturally diverse backgrounds. They appeared not to understand the requirements of the assignment task.
    Perhaps a greater emphasis on how to understand the requirements/parameters of an assignment task is might need to be the prequel which allows informed, relevant application of CT
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    I think this course is really useful, especially for beginners. It introduces the concepts of critical thinking in the first week and then provides more examples and exercises for learners to get an idea of what they mean theoretically in the first week, enabling learners to have a go with it and understand the strategies better:) Hope the course can contain more sample responses, which can further help beginners to briefly understand what a good critical thinking looks like. Also, more exercises will be certainly helpful:)
  • Anonymous
    This course was very helpful on my part as a learner. It gives insights and knowledge on how to properly describes something, how to evaluate and analyze before arriving into a conclusion. In this course i learned how to arrange my thoughts and ideas in a proper context and perspective view. This course on Critical thinking absolutely will absolutely help me in my professional career and personal life.
  • Anonymous
    This course was very helpful on my part as a learner. It gives insights and knowledge on how to properly describes something, how to evaluate and analyze before arriving into a conclusion. In this course i learned how to arrange my thoughts and ideas in a proper context and perspective view. This course on Critical thinking absolutely will absolutely help me in my professional career and personal life.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Course was informative, I found it useful as it taught me how to be a critical thinker which will be useful for my university life plus it transferable too. I would recommend this course as to any one going to university as it help you to critique article and how to not get overwhelmed with information that out there. Try it you won't be disappointed.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    A very helpful course - I'd say it took me a bit more than the 4 hours a week to complete, but it is what you make it as well I think. I'd recommend this to anyone looking for some support in their first weeks at university, or anyone like me who just wishes to improve their personal critical thinking skills.
  • Anonymous
    This is an excellent course. I think it is aimed mainly at undergraduates, but there is plenty of useful information for Masters students and PhD researchers, particularly those who have been away from academia for a while. The exercises and mini assignments provide helpful opportunities to practise the skills taught on the course. As a postgraduate, some of this was familiar to me, but I definitely identified weaknesses in my own ability to think critically and acquired new skills to make me a more effective researcher. In other words, I needed to 'up my game' and this course has given me the tools to do so.
  • Naser Aldhawi completed this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    The Course valuable with useful information and preparing students for the university to enhance critically knowledge and building new educational life for a better future the Course well building and giving examples from real life
  • Anonymous
    I now have a better understanding of what critical thinking is and how to develop my critical thinking skills. this is very helpful as I can now make meaningful contributions during academic meetings.
  • Anonymous
    This online free course has been an invaluable tool. As a returning student i wish i had had access to it sooner and would highly recommend it for students looking to start their undergraduate. The course is a mixture of reading and video material…
  • Profile image for Fatima Gafar
    Fatima Gafar
    very useful course opens my mind for new things I was not aware of before. Exercises and useful sources are included which give a sense of engagement and better understanding for the information.
  • Anonymous
    A great introduction to critical thinking with a lot of emphasis on academic writing.

    Really informative and thought provoking.
  • Anonymous
    It's a great course and the 2nd week is actually really challenging - Futurelearn are great courses but sometimes are a tickbox exercise. This course actually has a research and exercise section where feedback is produced by other learners - this really helps crystallise the learning.

    I believe that the course has helpred me with both the skills of thinking critically and writing critically also.

    Great course - thank you.

    FLORENCE MACDONALD (M.L.E (SM) completed this course.

    Greetings !! Thanks to Future Learn and to the University of Leeds and your respective team members.
    Thank you Ms Jiani and Ms Michelle for showing me the way and for walking along with me in the journey of learning Critical Thinking. I have no words . but say I am grateful to you for the structured course, the relevant topics, and the professional manner it was done. This is a give in for University of Leeds and I am glad to learn from such professionals from such an elite University of Leeds.
    Kind regards,
    Florence MacDonald
  • Martin Nelson
    This is a well-presented course. It defines and discusses the issues involved in critical thinking by giving examples and short questionnaires. It raises awareness of the importance of critical thinking in assessing any information, especially for a university student. What is learned here is applicable to every piece of information from an article in a newspaper to one in a learned journal.
  • Anonymous
    This course is excellent not only for its content but also for its pedagogical techniques. It is an extremely relevant course as critical thinking is a 21st century skill which helps us to understand and interrogate texts around us, analyze them, e…
  • Anonymous
    Critical thinking at university is a very important course. Even though is designed for undergraduate students but is good every body.

    This course open your mind to understand issues and how to go about it.

    The course has changed my limited understanding of critical thinking.

    The only problem I have with the course is too short.

    A better course for everyone.

  • Anonymous
    The Critical Thinking Course is an excellent course I would recommend any day any time.

    The course illuminated my approach to study, made it not difficult to understand what is required from a researcher.

    Am so elated about The Critical Course and would never stop singing praises to the organizers. Thank you so so so much.


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