Skills: Personal and Intellectual Autonomy

This page provides the full explanation of Personal and Intellectual Autonomy and examples of skills that are related to the attribute.

Scales - Critical and reflective thinkers

University of Edinburgh graduates use their personal and intellectual autonomy to critically evaluate ideas, evidence and experiences from an open-minded and reasoned perspective.

Below are some examples of skills and abilities that contribute to a student's overall skills in Personal and Intellectual Autonomy.  Skills and abilities in this area vary from individual to individual, from discipline to discipline and from situation to situation.  It is important to recognise what skills are relevant and how these skills need to be adapted for the situation in which they will be used.

Staff should be helping, supporting and encouraging students to learn about and develop these skills. Students need to reflect on what skills they have, what skills they need and how these can be developed, and then seeking out relevant opportunities to strengthen and develop these skills.

Example skills Key aspects include:
Ethics and social responsibility
  • develop reflective awareness of ethical dimensions, and responsibilities to others, in work and everyday life
  • recognise and address ethical dilemmas, social responsibility and sustainability issues, applying ethical and their own/organisational values to situations and choices
Self-awareness and reflection
  • be critically self-aware, self-reflective and self-manage in order to fully maximise potential
  • develop personal resilience
  • learn how to deal with setbacks and failures and learn and develop from these
  • establish personal vision and goals
  • seek and value open feedback to help self-awareness
Independent learning and development
  • the importance of the development of lifelong learning skills as part of continuing personal and professional development
  • to think independently, exercise personal judgment and take initiatives
  • the ability to succeed in a rapidly changing environment
  • the importance of learning to learn
Creativity and inventive thinking
  • thinking creatively and managing the creative process in oneself and in others
  • think outside the box
  • being adaptable, and learn how to manage complexity and self-direction
  • being curious, creative, and taking risks
  • developing higher-order thinking and sound reasoning
Decision making
  • being able to make, implement and review decisions based on appropriate techniques
  • analysing facts and situations and applying creative and inventive thinking to develop the appropriate solutions
  • collaborating and debating effectively to test, modify and strengthen one's own views