Graduate Capabilities

Graduate Capabilities (GCs) or attributes are interdisciplinary skills, knowledge and attitudes that equip students to live and work in a rapidly changing and complex world.  They are desirable and transferable attributes sought by employers.  Our Bachelor-degree graduates will know – and be able to show prospective employers – which graduate capabilities they have demonstrated, how well, and against what quality standards.

The Graduate Capabilities (GCs) are consolidated into four domains and sets of skills.  These are:

  1. Literacies and Communication Skills;
  2. Inquiry and Analytical Skills;
  3. Personal and Professional Skills; and,
  4. Discipline-specific Knowledge and Skills.


How are the GCs defined?

  1. Literacies  and Communication SkillsThe ‘Key Elements’ of  this capability are:
    • Writing
    • Speaking
    • Quantitative  Literacy
    • Cultural  Literacy
  2. Inquiry  and Analytical SkillsThe ‘Key Elements’ of  this capability are:
    • Critical  Thinking
    • Creative  Problem-solving
    • Inquiry/Research
  3. Personal  and Professional SkillsThe ‘Key Elements’ of  this capability are:
    • Teamwork  including leadership and working in groups
    • Autonomy  and independence
    • Ethical  behaviour
    • Adaptability  Skills
    • Study  and Learning Skills
  4. Discipline-specific  Knowledge and SkillsThe ‘Key Elements’ of  this capability are those specific to the discipline area for which it is being  articulated but are not covered above, and is the task of individual Colleges and disciplines.

Why are GCs important?

GCs are demonstrable skills valued by employers.  Sometimes they are referred to as ‘generic skills’ or ‘transferable skills’ but most of all they can be thought of as ‘interdisciplinary skills’.  These are the foundation skills that graduates will use in their everyday work regardless of their occupation or discipline to communicate effectively, professionally, ethically, and with understanding for the diversity of the population.  Many graduates are likely to work in jobs which are yet to be invented and/or which may not be in their discipline area.  Therefore, those interdisciplinary skills become crucial to adapting to new challenges and circumstances.

How will students learn them?

GCs embedded in the curriculum and explicitly taught so that all La Trobe undergraduate students are exposed to them.

How are Colleges preparing for this learning?

Through constructive alignment, GCs have been aligned to course and subject intended learning outcomes, and are embedded in activities and assessments throughout relevant subjects within the course.  Subject learning guides and the University Handbook will need to be updated to indicate which subjects include which of the revised GCs.

What is the role of course coordinators and subject coordinators?

The role of the Course Coordinator is to ensure that subjects within their course/major teach, evaluate and provide feedback to students on their development of each of these GCs at three points in the course – cornerstone, mid-point and capstone - so that students achieve and can demonstrate the expected graduate standards set by the discipline.  The subjects in which these GCs are taught and evaluated will be shown on course maps.

Not every subject teaches one or more of the GCs and not all subjects need to teach one or more of the GCs.  However, for Subject Coordinators of those ‘core’ subjects (either core as part of the course or discipline) which have been given the responsibility of teaching, evaluating and providing feedback to students on their progression towards meeting the expected GC standards, they must ensure the relevant GCs are aligned with the subject intended learning outcomes, teaching activities and embedded in the normal assessments.  Subject Coordinators must also ensure that students are evaluated for those GCs against relevant standards.

How will the GCs be evaluated and recorded?

Colleges will evaluate GCs at the ‘domain’ level but the ‘elements’ making up those domains may be spread across multiple subjects within any given course.  Evaluation, recording and aggregation of data will be at the subject level as determined by the College.  Further discussion with Colleges will determine the extent and method for recording GC outcomes at the capstone level.

The new Course Information Management System (CIMS) will record the elements and domains of the GCs as they apply to any given subject and that information will be used to produce any publications, forms or course maps.  As CIMS will not be available in 2014, only the domain level names will be included in the subject database.

What will employers know about the GCs?

A statement about La Trobe University’s GCs will be included on the Australian Higher Education Graduate Statement (AHEGS) but further discussion with Colleges is required to determine whether standards and outcomes are also recorded and if so, the set or sets of GC standards to be published.

The AHEGS and academic transcript can be made available to employers by graduates when applying for positions.  La Trobe University information provided to employers by Student Enrichment and by Colleges should include statements about the GCs and their value to graduates and the broader community.