ES2531/ES1531/GEK1549/GET1021 - Critical Thinking and Writing


The challenges of a global engineer increasingly call upon engineers to think critically and communicate effectively to undertake developmental leadership. This course aims to develop and practise students' critical thinking and writing skills through analysing case studies in engineering leadership, constructing complex engineering-related problems and solutions, presenting arguments effectively and reflecting on personal leadership development. Relevance to engineering practice is emphasized with references to grounded theories of engineering leadership and the seven missing basics of engineering education.

This module is taught over 1 semester with 1 two-hour sectional teaching (in addition to a two-hour online presence) per week.


On successful completion of this module, students will be able to:

  • apply critical thinking skills as identified in the seven missing basics of engineering education and engineering leadership frameworks to analyse how developmental leadership operates in engineering-related contexts;
  • analyse a complex engineering-related problem;
  • use relevant and reliable information to justify proposed solutions that include societal implications to a complex engineering-related problem;
  • evaluate engineering-related solutions using a suitable framework that includes environmental and sustainability considerations;
  • write comprehensive, clear, and well-organised discipline-related essays and reports that respond to set tasks; and
  • contribute positively to the project goal and decision making of the team.

The skills acquired can be further honed in students' academic life at NUS and in the workplace.

The instructional approach used in the course is a seminar/tutorial rather than a lecture style. As most of the class discussions and other activities will be done in small groups, students' active participation is essential. In this "student-centred" teaching/learning environment, students will have the opportunity to:

  • share ideas with others, ask questions, provide peer feedback, debate issues and orally present and defend during class;
  • practice critical thinking and problem-solving strategies, reflective learning and academic writing when considering the content topics and conducting research; and
  • collaborate actively with peers on classroom activities and course assignments, via the LumiNUS and other internet-based platforms, meetings and oral peer reviews.


  • ES2531/ES1531/GEK1549/GET1021 is a 100% Continuous Assessment module.


  1. Students who are required to take ES1000 Foundation Academic English and/or ES1102/ES1103 English for Academic Purposes must pass the modules before they are allowed to read this module.
  2. Students who matriculated in AY2014/15 and AY2015/16 are to read the cross-listed modules, GEK1549 and GET1021, respectively.


  1. IEM1201%, UTW1001%, ES1531, GEK1549 and GET1021.
  2. U-town students cannot select ES2531.

Modular Credits