Dalia Cohen

Dalia Cohen


I completed my first degree in German and Philosophy at the University of St Andrews in 2015, and subsequently gained a PGCE in Modern Foreign Languages from Oxford University in 2016. After spending some time teaching MFL in secondary schools, I returned to higher education to undertake a master’s degree in International Education Policy and Leadership at the University of Leeds. My master’s dissertation research focused on the transition experiences of undergraduate students from socially disadvantaged backgrounds at a Russell Group university.

Since 2019, I have been teachng on pre-sessional EAP (English for Academic Purposes) courses at  the University of Leeds. As a result of this, my interest in the student exprience became focused on international students, and particularly in how international students develop academic literacy when navigating a new academic environment. My teaching experience in this area drew my attention to the particular challenges such students face when attempting to display critical thinking in their written assignments, as this is an unfamiliar concept for many of them. This inspired me to pursue a PhD in this area and in 2023, I was delighted to be awared the University of Leeds School of Education Research Scholarship which has enabled me to do this.

Research interests

My PhD research will investigate how Chinese master’s students in the UK enact critical thinking in their writing assignments. In particular, I am interested in students’ individual experiences and how this develops during their year of master’s studies. The research will be longitudinal and qualitative in nature and will combine text based analyis of students’ written work with interviews to gain insights into students’ conceptualisations of critical thinking, the rhetorical techniques they use when attempting to enact this in their written work and which barriers they may face in this regard.


  • MA International Education Policy and Leadership (University of Leeds, Distinction)
  • PGCE Modern Foreign Languages (Oxford University)
  • BA German and Philosophy (University of St Andrews, 2.1)