UoB and Beyond: Your Graduate Attributes

The skills, behaviours and values that students develop to support them whilst at UoB and Beyond.

Graduate Attributes: A complete list

Academically excellent

  • Subject specialists: Experts in discipline-specific theories, knowledge, research methods skills and enquiry-informed practices
  • Intellectually curious and confident: Nurtured by engagement in cutting edge academic disciplines
  • Independent critical thinkers: Challenging, discerning, analytical and autonomous thinkers
  • Cross-disciplinary expertise: Open-minded and having a depth and breadth of knowledge about concepts, ideas, theories and methods beyond a specialist subject

Local and global leaders

  • Creative: Able to think imaginatively and purposefully, to recognise opportunities and to come up with the original ideas
  • Intercultural: Able to work collaboratively, and communicate complex ideas to and with different and diverse audiences
  • Inclusive: Actively listen to and consider different views, lead with humility and empathy, and remove barriers for people who are different from themselves
  • Resilient: Agile, respond positively to change and uncertainty, act consistently with their values, and support the well-being of themselves and others

 Ethical and active citizens

  • Socially responsible: Civic minded and emotionally intelligent, with a desire to help others and in the wider community to flourish
  • Practical wisdom: Can respond constructively to ethical challenges, able to identify and enact the best options at the most appropriate time at work and in aspects of wider life
  • Reflective: Committed to evaluating personal ethical thoughts and civic actions


  • Digitally literate: With the skills and knowledge of finding, using, managing, critically evaluating, designing and developing digital resources and/or technologies, as appropriate
  • Sustainability-engaged: Adopt values and behaviours that demonstrate an understanding of and commitment to the global principles of sustainable development
  • Lifelong learner: Take responsibility for ongoing personal learning; monitor progress; evaluate personal growth
  • Entrepreneurial: Proactive, flexible, ability to generate and realise ideas, and benefit others by adding value (social, cultural, environmental, technological, operational, economical)

Graduate Attributes: At a glance

Our recently revised and relaunched Graduate Attributes provide a set of skills, behaviours and values that we believe students develop by connecting with the culture, curriculum and community of the University of Birmingham. The Graduate Attributes have been approved by UEB, and this webpage is a hub to provide information on UoB’s refreshed Graduate Attributes, including:

  • The purpose of Graduate Attributes and why they were revised
  • How they were revised
  • How students have helped shape the relaunch
  • Supporting materials to help staff identify and implement them.

What is the purpose of Graduate Attributes, and why has the University revised them?

The Birmingham 2030 strategic framework describes the University as a place of transformative education. To reflect UoB’s ongoing commitment to an inclusive, socially engaged vision of HE, Graduate Attributes – the qualities regarded as necessary to navigate the fourth industrial revolution and contribute to a rapidly changing society – have been revised and relaunched.

The intention of this revision is to help students to develop the skills, behaviours, and values that contribute to both individual and societal flourishing. The Graduate Attributes will support UoB’s ambition to meet the needs of students in their future lives and careers, and to help staff to identify and embed these into students’ courses and their overall UoB experience.

How were the Graduate Attributes revised?

Feedback was initially collected from staff, students and employers about the existing set of Graduate Attributes. As part of a HEFi Fellows and Scholars funded project, analysis was then undertaken looking at 60 HEIs both within the UK and internationally. This was conducted in partnership with student researchers.

The Graduate Attribute revision process was underpinned by:

  • Theoretical and practical literature on character, values, dispositions and traits in HE undertaken by the Jubilee Centre at UoB
  • A review of the literature relating to 21st century skills, competencies, and social emotional qualities in HE
  • Extensive research and evaluation carried out by Careers Network with employers

How students have helped shape the relaunch

To ensure that the revised Graduate Attributes will best meet the needs of students, collecting student insights was a fundamental part of the relaunch process. Our aims were: to gain feedback on the most effective terminology, and to gain feedback on how we could communicate the Graduate Attributes, visually and verbally, in the most useful and engaging ways for students. Insights were collected from UK and international students and graduates across all year groups through focus groups.

Our overall findings:


  • ‘Graduate’ was universally popular, and ‘attributes’ was much preferred over alternative terms
  • ‘UoB’ was preferred over ‘Birmingham’
  • Students disliked terms that they felt promoted the idea of having to be ‘the perfect student’

Visual representation

  • Students told us that they wanted consumable, engaging, and visually appealing communications that would be inclusive and reflect the diversity of the UoB student population
  • Students also wished to see recognisable UoB images and to have icons or badges to flag the Graduate Attributes. Exciting visuals for UoB’s Graduate Attributes will be coming soon

Materials to assist staff

Work is currently underway to support the identification and embedding of Graduate Attributes. Supporting materials in development are:

    • Webpage: This webpage is a central point which will be updated to direct staff towards more information. Please check back regularly for updates. We will also be developing a public website that students will be able to access
    • Visual materials: Exciting new visuals are being developed based on feedback from students about what would resonate with them 
    • MicroCPDs: There are now six about the graduate attributes on the HEFi website:
      1. The Birmingham Graduate Attributes - A Call to Action
      2. Student Insights and a Guild Perspective on the Graduate Attributes
      3. An employer perspective; how do our refreshed Graduate Attributes relate to industry?
      4. Academic insights: the value of embedding Graduate Attributes into our teaching
      5. Using Entrepreneurial Education to Develop Reflective Graduate Attributes
      6. Using the Future Skills Academic Toolkit to Embed Graduate Attributes into Your Teaching
    • HEFi workshops: Work is underway to provide Graduate Attribute themed sessions and materials to help colleagues consider opportunities for their programmes
    • Future Skills Academic Toolkit: A resource structured using the Graduate Attributes to help colleagues understand and implement curriculum enhancements through seeing case study examples and relevant materials to support this
    • Graduate Attribute Map: An optional tool designed to support colleagues to identify where and how Graduate Attributes are developed within programmes and modules, and to help make this visible for students. There is a guide document for staff, and a student facing document which aims to list and define the Attributes, and map them to examples in modules and projects within programmes:

Graduate Attributes Map - a guide document for staff (PDF - 487KB)

Graduate Attributes Map - a guide document for students (Word Doc - 488KB)


University of Birmingham student

May 2022

“I think the term ‘Graduate Attributes’ is good as it doesn’t make students feel like they need to have all of the skills, behaviours, and values to be the perfect student”



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