Which (transferable) skills could be included in a particular programme?

The graduate attributes of a BA or MA programmes should address knowledge, skills and attitudes. The list of recommended skills in a particular programme could be extensive. To give you some ideas we have compiled a list:

List of transferable skills


  • communicate orally: interaction, presentation, debate, video
  • communicate in writing: different forms (proposal, lab journal, article, review, poster)
  • use different languages/different media
  • draw and use figures & tables
  • ask & answer questions


  • show intellectual insight
  • plan innovations
  • take initiative
  • take different perspectives
  • show willingness to conduct experiments


  • collaborate
  • be loyal
  • use leadership
  • utilize heterogeneity
  • establish & use networks
  • use intercultural skills
  • show societal awareness 


  • manage time & plan activities
  • create balance between work and private life
  • involvement
  • manage changes
  • reflect on own performance (strengths and weaknesses) and reasons
  • present one’s own capabilities & personality
  • manage ones career
  • manage projects: phasing, planning, monitoring , adjusting


  • define research question & draw up hypotheses
  • choose research methods and justify the choices
  • conduct literature search, gather and use literature
  • gather data, conduct experiment
  • manage and analyse data
  • show scientific integrity
  • cope with instability of knowledge
  • use ICT & show digital literacy

Problem solving:

  • ask questions and exploring the problem domain
  • acquire declarative and procedural domain knowledge
  • interpret data and information
  • draw conclusions, evaluate results, determine limitations
  • consider results in a broader context & explore practical implications
  • reason from partial conclusions to overall conclusions

Critical evaluation:

  • critical thinking & reading
  • independent judgement
  • critical attitude towards one’s own assumptions


  • give feedback
  • receive and process feedback


  • plan how to approach a given learning task
  • monitor comprehension and memory
  • evaluate progress toward the completion of a task

The specific areas and specific skills within these areas differ strongly between programmes. Each programme has an unique set of skills that their students are supposed to develop. So each programme should have its own list of skills.  The list of required skills depends to a large extent on the requirements  of the discipline and to the education vision that informed  the design of the programme.

Getting started

  • Start from the three main categories of skills as described in the chapter on transferable skills.
  • Adapt the categories of skills to your own programme. In the example, nine categories of skills are used, for example, the categories of self-management, creativity, research and problem solving. The relevant categories could differ between different programmes.
  • Define a number of skills in each of the categories.
  • Compare your list of skills to the lists of other programmes in your discipline.
  • Discuss the list with your colleagues, i.e. lecturers and researchers that are active within the programme.
  • Discuss the list with representatives of the discipline, for example, employees of firms and public organisations.


See also




On the  University of Edinburgh’s website is presented an explanation of the term ‘graduate attributes’, including examples of skills in different areas such as research, enquiry and communication.