Nominalizations tend to be associated with academic writing as they can assist in maintaining an impersonal tone, often by deleting a human agent within a given sentence. There are additional functions, such as helping to create textual cohesion, all of which have relevance in the production of quality academic texts. Based on the previous work regarding the use of nominalizations within academic writing (Biber, 1988; Biber et al., 1998; Guillen Galve, 1998; Charles, 2003), a question arises which this paper seeks to address. If we assume that nominalizations, to an extent, are a feature of accomplished academic writing, what are the implications for their use within each year of an undergraduate degree program-how do students develop their use of nominalizations? For purposes of addressing this question, the academic writing of six undergraduate students was analyzed throughout each year of their degree course. The six participants studied on an academic program entitled 'Language, Literacy and Communication' (LLC), part of the School of Education at The University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, with the results demonstrating that nominalizations do not necessarily play a prominent role within the academic writing of this community. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.