The Stirling Graduate Attributes

What are graduate attributes?

Graduate attributes are the high level qualities, skills and understandings that a student should gain as a result of the learning and experiences they engage with, while at university. This ‘graduateness’ is what sets them apart from those without a degree, and is the added value which graduates can enjoy and share with employers and the wider community. They equip students and graduates for life long personal development, learning and to be successful in society.

Do all graduates have these attributes?

All our students are individuals with their own backgrounds and experiences. The University can offer the opportunities for students to develop these skills and qualities but it is up to our students to reflect on their own development needs and to engage with the opportunities that are appropriate for them.

Why are they important?

Our graduates are finding their place in a world, which is complex and fast moving. They face the challenges and opportunities of a digital revolution, which will continue to change the way we work and values the critical thinking and inter-personal skills that graduates have to offer.

Students will be equipped to be active citizens both nationally and globally though gaining an understanding of diverse cultures and perspectives developed here Stirling. This will equip them to contribute to important contemporary challenges, such as helping to create sustainable solutions to the global environmental crisis.

Indeed, by achieving these graduate attributes, our students will have demonstrated the UNESCO key competencies for sustainability.

They have the knowledge, skills and attributes to make their communities and the world a better place.

Stirling Graduate Attributes

Every Stirling graduate is unique and will have their own experiences, approach and voice, but through their degree and the opportunities at the University of Stirling, graduates of the University will be:

  • subject specialists, with in‐depth knowledge, understanding, research and other skills associated with their discipline(s)
  • innovative and creative in their approach to positive change
  • socially intelligent and proactively inclusive, able to effectively navigate complex relationships with others from any background or culture
  • digitally literate and
  • responsible for their own behaviour, their future and their wellbeing

The Stirling Graduate Attributes Matrix

This matrix breaks down the elements of the graduate attributes so that students can understand how to start to build them, during their time at university. It gives some examples of activities, which might help develop the attributes. This is a not a linear path, it is a matrix which will be developed piece by piece during their time at Stirling.

Be a Subject specialist

Have in-depth knowledge, understanding and skills associated with their discipline

Disciplinary Knowledge 

Able to define the core skills and concepts associated with the discipline


Able to identify key questions, research and pursue rigorous evidence-based arguments 


Understand how knowledge is constructed and contested


Able to link the discipline to local, national and global issues to seek positive and sustainable solutions


Teaching and learning activities; assessments; practical and reading


Teaching and learning activities; assessments; practical and reading


Teaching and learning activities; assessments; practical and reading


Teaching and learning activities; assessments; practical and reading


Be Innovative

Able to define and create significant positive change


Always looking for opportunities to  continue to learn, reflect and apply new knowledge and skills in a positive sustainable way, with both a local and world perspective


Able to find new ways to address problems sustainably, answer questions or expressing meaning

Sense making

Able to reflect and see the deeper meaning or significance; the “bigger picture” or patterns emerging

Critical thinking

Able to evaluate and draw conclusions from information, to find sustainable solutions to complex problems and make decisions


Module choices; extra reading; clubs and societies, sport; projects and dissertations

Internships, placements; problem based learning; sport; projects and


Reflect on learning across modules; internships, placements and work experience

Study at honours level; internships; Dissertations and projects

Be socially intelligent

Proactively seek and work with the diverse perspectives of other’s to effectively navigate complex relationships


Able to openly and honestly communicate and listen in a way that creates mutual understanding with others from diverse cultures, perspectives and backgrounds


Proactively seek the diverse thoughts, feelings and perspectives of others’ and taking these into account


Able to work productively with others, no matter their culture, perspective or background, and complete joint projects. To work in partnership.


Able to lead and support others by inspiring them with a clear vision and motivating them to achieve goals


Presentations; written reports; internships; sport

Class discussions; clubs and societies; sport

Reflective assessments

Group work; clubs and societies; sport; internships, placements and work experience

Group work; clubs and societies; part time work; sport; leading projects

Be digitally literate

Have the capabilities needed to live, learn and work in a digital society


ICT proficient

Able to use the devices, applications and software commonly used in the discipline and in general use (e.g. Microsoft Office 365) effectively and to adapt to new developments in digital technology

Information and data literacy

Able to interpret, critically analyse and represent information in different settings. Understand the legal, ethical and security requirements around using and collecting data

Digital creation, problem solving and innovation

Able to create new digital artefacts, use digital evidence to solve problems and use digital technology to develop new ideas, projects or opportunities

Digital communication, collaboration and participation

Able to communicate and collaborate effectively in digital media and spaces and build digital networks, while managing digital identity, reputation, wellbeing and safety on platforms such as LinkedIn


Approach to studies and opportunities through LinkedIn Learning; online learning; using Office 365

Approach to studies and opportunities through LinkedIn Learning; online learning; dissertations and projects

Approach to studies and opportunities through LinkedIn Learning; online learning; placements and work experience

Clubs and societies; module representation; remote placements and projects; LinkedIn and other networks

Be responsible

Take responsibility for your own behaviour, learning, future and wellbeing, including your role in environmental sustainability


Able to prioritise and, manage commitments to maintain a sense of focus and deliver projects on time


Act in an honest, ethical and consistent manner based on a strong sense of self and personal values. Consider the impact of your actions on others and the environment.


Resilient when confronted with challenges and able to adapt positively to and accept change through a continued willingness to learn and develop


Ready to get started and act on opportunities, built on a foundation of courage, self-belief, reflection and independent thought


Approach to studies; career planning; opportunities through LinkedIn Learning

Approaches to academic integrity; academic debate; social groups and clubs and societies; sport

Approach to studies; career planning; Clubs, societies, co- curricular activities; sport; internships, placements and work experience reflective assessments

Approach to studies; Clubs, societies, co- curricular activities; work experience; volunteering; My Stirling awards; networking; employability activities; Student Union activities; sport and wellbeing