In his thesis, “A realist approach towards students’ application of agency, culture and social structures in demonstration of competency in argumentative writing”, the study explored intersectionality between first-year science students’ cultural identities and the ways these aspects of students’ epistemologies weave with their attempts to demonstrate competency in written, dialectical and rhetorical argumentation. The researcher employed Margaret Archer’s (1995) morphogenetic model to divide students’ experiences into three chronological phases. These time periods, which spanned the pre-university domain as well as the first and second semesters, were termed the conditioning, interactive and elaboration phases of students’ Discourses (Archer, 1995). By analytically employing the morphogenetic cycle, this study simultaneously applied Gee’s (2012) theory of Discourse to emphasise epistemic shifts, development and constraints in students’ argumentation. The findings highlighted the interplay between and efficacy of on- and off-campus social structures, culture and agency as causal mechanisms in students’ methods of participating in dialectical, rhetorical and written argumentation. Examples of active entities in students’ argumentative Discourse emergence include their families, cultural communities, schools, degree programmes and professional communities. Findings from the study revealed that the majority of the participants experienced significant modifications to their scientific Discourses after reaching the end of the academic year. To argue effectively, first-year students had to modify their methods of participation in academic dialect and rhetoric that feed into their argumentative writing. The study concluded that due to the distinct cultural environment that universities represent when contrasted with the pre-tertiary experiences of all first-years, pedagogic mechanisms should be activated that facilitate their induction into argumentative, dialectical and rhetorical interactions, including writing, across the entire academic year.