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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 143 Class Central reviews

4.7 rating at FutureLearn based on 136 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 approach....
  • 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

    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

    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
    very challenging and engaging subject as well as course material was very good at being presented the quizzes are helpful and it helps me take a look at myself in some closer aspects
  • Anonymous
    Excellent course, and you shouldn't miss it. I learned a lot from this course. Many thanks for the tutors from university of leeds who produced this valuable course.

  • 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
    A great introduction to critical thinking with a lot of emphasis on academic writing.

    Really informative and thought provoking.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    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
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    As a matter of fact, critical thinking is [was] a whole new concept to me. Since I'm new to it, it made learning a bit difficult.

    The course itself is great. It has opened me to see the enormous possiblity of learning new things and learning them deeply.

    I highly recommend the course to all and sundry, whether you are 7 or 70 yrs, whether a teacher or plumber, a student or not.

    Thanks to Leeds Uni and FutureLearn for this programme.
  • Anonymous
    This really is a fantastic course it takes you through from explaining what is critical thinking and how in a step by step way giving the skills to know the best way to do it.

    With examples and tips on how to get better, there are also some great links within the materials for you to get more practice.

    Would thoroughly recommend.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    The course has been very useful in my learning and understanding of critical thinking and how to write critically.
    The practical lessons and examples used in the course were impactful in understanding about the prerequisites and steps required in critical writing.
    I think the course was very helpful to all that attended.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    It is an outstanding course . I have noticed a great behavioral change after attending this course. It gives you a great beginning and shows right path to critical thinking. Must do it!
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    This is a really wonderful course. I learned more about critical thinking skill. I learned the strategies,goals and more about this. It is really a wonderful course.
  • 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, evaluate...
  • 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
    Critical thinking at University is a step in the right direction, but most have confidence and a few other things. To get the point across, maybe it's a good idea to discuss these matters. The course was aimed at everyone who feels the same way with their work and teaches how to be in control. Well suited for preparation.

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