Skip to main content
CODE 55405
SEMESTER 2° Semester


The Department of Pharmacy considers the knowledge of English to be crucial for the education of students enrolled in their degree courses. Therefore it organises a Scientific English course (intermediate-advanced level) open to first year students, held by a mother-tongue Teacher. Even if students have a good grasp of English, they are advised to attend the course.



Contents: Analysis of websites and their videos in relation to their intersemiotic, interactional, intercultural and interdisciplinary characteristics. Readings which refer to the theoretical features of text analysis; reflections on applicative methods of text analysis, including translation. Objectives: The capacity to express oneself in English at a B2 level of the CEFR in the various registers of spoken, written and multimodal discourse; metalinguistic analysis of multimodal English texts with reference to the phonological, morphological, syntactic, lexical and pragmatic structures; methodological studies aimed at the practice of and reflection on translation, written and oral, from English to Italian in its non literary applications and in its multimedia applications.


The course entails reflection on the typical micro/macro structures and micro/macro skills of English for medical and healthcare purposes. Students are required to acquire precision in the use of microstructures. The term microstructures refers to revision of what is learnt at school in relation to the morphosyntax of English. This includes the verb system and, in particular, the role of verbs and verb aspect in English medical discourse as well as the functions of adverbs, pronouns, prepositions and conjunctions in affirmative, negative, interrogative, modal, subordinate, temporal, concessive, consecutive, conditional, adversative, dubitative, passive, impersonal, infinitival and hypothetical clauses. All this is preliminary step to proficiency vis-à-vis the commonest grammatical microstructures in scientific discourse namely: 1) the use of nouns to express abstract processes (nominalisation) and the effects abstract expression has on negative, demonstrative (use of the definite article) and interrogative clauses in scientific discourse; 2) the role of the verb and other parts of speech in expressing opinions, probabilities, possibilities and hypotheses (modality); 3) quantification and expression of statistical data; 4) expressing comparisons; 5) expressing sequences of events; 6) the use of acronyms, initialisms and abbreviations in medical discourse; 7) agency suppression and deletion (the latter in in keeping with the principle that “among its syntactic structures, scientific discourse privileges those which allow the agent to be sidelined or removed altogether”). In their turn these features of English are only an intermediate step  towards mastery or more advanced skills such as describing graphs, presenting case studies, summarizing scientific articles, comparing data  and so on. All this plays an intrinsic role in your future professions.


School level English, at least a B1.5 CEFR level.


  1. Frontal lessons, interactive.
  2. Online lessons using TEAMS, also interactive (Covid-19)
  3. Online lessons/assignments using AulaWEB

The frontal lessons (either in class or using TEAMS) are a mixture of lecture and discussion and are taught in English. Online resources will be used to enhance instruction and details of the latter will be given during the course. 

Since perfect congruity between the topics of the course and the students' previous knowledge of English is not possible, students will be the crafstmen of their learning, in order to guarantee, ultimately, the disciplinary coherence by means of responsible and autonomous self-study. As a matter of fact, the course book which belongs to the The Medical Alphabet series, differentiates the topics in an analitical and clear manner thus allowing reading and consultations to be carried out not necessarily in alphabetical order. What is learnt reading scientific texts in English cannot but strengthen what is learnt in Italian and vice-versa. By comparing various sources, their differences and similarities, a lot can be learnt. 


Together with the revision of the morpho-syntactic features, the course aims at introducing themes relating to the many activities that are carried out in national and international specialist biomedical and pharmacological contexts, with particular reference to communication and management systems. Thus, besides what has already been stated concerning linguistic microstructures and interactional microskills, the course will cover various professional aspects of the pharmaceutical and biomedical career in Anglosaxon societies with a comparative study of both the Italian situation and that of the various English speaking countries.  

Reading implies the need to understand the deepest levels of a text which includes its more or less explicit implications, references and inferences. All this is not so easy to manage in a foreign language and in some cases will be rather complex. For this reason, the course book – The Medical Alphabet Vol. 2 – can be defined as mixed, since it refers to a vast medical and pharmaceutical filmography which is a great help in the professionalising journey and aims at giving students a specialist linguistic competence, in spoken and written English. Constant self-instigated re-reading and revision of what has been learnt during lessons is the key to moving ahead in the best possible way. Reading two or three pages of English every day and watching a short film or carrying out one of the prescribed exercises every two to three days makes it possible to acquire lifelong knowledge and skills.


Course book: Anna Loiacono (2018). The Medical Alphabet Volume 2. An English Textbook on Healthcare in the Digital Age. Matarrese Editore. Andria.


Baldry, Anthony. Multimodal Web Genres: Exploring Scientific English. Como & Pavia: Ibis, 2011.

Baldry, Anthony, & Thibault, Paul. Multimodal Transcription and Text Analysis. A Multimodal Toolkit and Coursebook. London, Equinox, [2006] 2010.

Anna Loiacono (2013). The Medical Alphabet Volume 1. An English textbook in healthcare. Matarrese editore. Andria.


Exam Board





ANNA CARBONE (Substitute)





The English course starts in the second semester.

Class schedule

The timetable for this course is available here: Portale EasyAcademy



The exam is oral and consists of two parts: one part entirely in English with the course teacher and a translation from English into Italian part with one of the members of the Exam Commission. 

The student's capacity to speak in English and the application of the main features of the textual models acquired and used during the course will be evaluated based on the following: 

a) student's choice of a topic from from the course book or from the course in order to give an in depth presentation; 

b) a general conversation on the course book; 

c) the reading and translation of a scientific text chosen by the other members of the commission. 

Exam schedule

Data Ora Luogo Degree type Note
30/06/2023 09:30 GENOVA Orale
14/07/2023 09:30 GENOVA Orale
08/09/2023 09:30 GENOVA Orale
22/09/2023 09:30 GENOVA Orale
27/12/2023 09:30 GENOVA Orale
26/01/2024 09:30 GENOVA Orale
09/02/2024 09:30 GENOVA Orale