Institute of Teaching and Learning

Professional Development for Teaching and Learning

Developing graduate attributes

Identifying graduate attributes

Traditionally, particularly for professional undergraduate programs, the relevant program accrediting body has been a strong influence in specifying program graduate attributes. For example, for undergraduate engineering programs in Australia, the program accrediting body (Engineers Australia) requires that...

Graduates from an accredited [engineering] program should have the following attributes:

  • ability to apply knowledge of basic science and engineering fundamentals;
  • ability to communicate effectively, not only with engineers but also with the community at large;
  • in-depth technical competence in at least one engineering discipline;
  • ability to undertake problem identification, formulation and solution;
  • ability to utilise a systems approach to design and operational performance;
  • ability to function effectively as an individual and in multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural teams, with the capacity to be a leader or manager as well as an effective team member;
  • understanding of the social, cultural, global and environmental responsibilities of the professional engineer, and the need for sustainable development;
  • understanding of the principles of sustainable design and development;
  • understanding of professional and ethical responsibilities and commitment to them; and
  • expectation of the need to undertake lifelong learning, and capacity to do so. (Engineers Australia, 2005)

Where the University also articulates a list of graduate attributes, a program would normally be expected to incorporate those graduate attributes as well. Apart from addressing these internal and external program accreditation requirements, there is a growing awareness that there are other important stakeholders that have a valid claim in contributing to the definition of a relevant, comprehensive and contemporary set of graduate attributes for a particular program, including:

  • academic staff;
  • current students;
  • alumni;
  • employers of graduates from the program;
  • adjunct professors and other external academic advisors; and
  • program academic advisory boards.

Activity icon Activity

What methods/processes/reference points does your School use for identifying an appropriate list of graduate attributes for the program(s) that you contribute to? If you are unsure, what methods/processes/reference points could your School use?

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Deakin University acknowledges the traditional land owners of present campus sites.

6th December 2010