Definition: what are graduate attributes?

A summary of what graduate attributes are (and are not).

Each student at the University of Edinburgh joins us from different educational backgrounds, cultures and experiences. While studying at the University we want students to broaden their horizons and attitudes, and to develop their current skills and abilities and learn new ones, not only to help in their studies and future careers, but also support their role within society.

The Graduate Attributes Framework has been created to allow tailoring by each college, school and subject area and tailoring for particular co- and extra-curricular activities.

The University of Edinburgh Graduate Attributes Framework

How do the Graduate Attributes apply to me?

The essentials

Graduate attributes ARE: Graduate attributes are NOT:
  • descriptive of what it means to be a graduate of a higher education institution – yes in terms of skills and abilities, but also in terms of attitudes and approaches – how you approach learning and knowledge, your own development, and the world around you
  • basic, remedial skills required either for entry to university or to simply engage in study
  • skills, abilities and attributes that mean different things in different contexts and disciplines
  • unconnected to academic disciplines
  • they are not simply taught but developed through meaningful experiences and the processes of learning and reflection
  • a list of transferable skills that can be simply ‘taught’
  • they are unique to every student – yes we might identify some common areas that we want our students to develop, but students will have their own starting points, progress and experiences in these areas while at the University which will shape them as individuals
  • intended to make all students the same