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With the rise of English as an academic lingua franca, the ability to produce academic texts in English is quickly turning into a core skill also for students whose first language is not English. Although this trend has increased the awareness of a need for specific writing instruction, systematic improvements for a theory-informed teaching practice still require more detailed knowledge of the current state of student academic writing. This contribution provides such information by means of an extended genre analysis of student texts produced by non-native speakers in the initial phase of their studies. While special emphasis is given to introductions and conclusions as two genre-constituents that place high demands on the student authors, more general theoretical issues are also explored. These relate to the use of conventionalised language, from the macro-level of genre structures to the micro-level of formulaic language.