UC San Diego Career-Readiness Competencies


UC San Diego has identified twelve competencies to promote student success and development. The framework and definitions for these skills were created to align with the learning outcomes and competencies identified by the following organizations:

  • Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U)
  • Council for the Advancement of Standards (CAS) in Higher Education
  • WASC Senior College and University Commission 
  • National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Career Readiness Competencies

The competencies are incorporated into the Engaged Learning Tools to promote student success and development at UC San Diego.

The competencies are reviewed on a four-year cycle by the UCSD Education Initiative Workgroup.




 Through research experiences and applied learning, students develop the following real-world skills: 

  • Critical thinking & problem solving: Identifies important problems and questions and gathers, analyzes, evaluates information from a variety of sources before forming a strategy, decision, or opinion.
  • Research ability: Accesses and evaluates multiple sources of information, including text and images, and synthesizes information to solve problems and create new insights.
  • Oral, written, & digital communication: Conveys meaning and responds to needs of diverse audiences through writing and speaking coherently and effectively, and develops the expression of ideas throughwritten, oral and digital mediums.
  • Teamwork & cross-cultural collaboration: Works withand seeks involvement from people and entities with diverse experiences towards a common goal, demonstrating strong interpersonal skills, respect, and dignity for others.
  • Understanding global context: Demonstrates an understanding of complex global issues and systems, and how issues and actions have local and global implications for the future.
  • Leadership: Takes initiative, demonstrates effective decision making and informed risk taking, and motivates and encourages participation from others to work towards a shared purpose and vision.
  • Professionalism & integrity: Demonstrates integrity, honesty, dependability and ethical responsibility, and accepts direction and personal accountability.
  • Self-reflection: Assesses, articulates, and acknowledges personal skills and abilities, and learns from past experiences and feedback to gain new insights and understandings.
  • Career development: Accesses information and opportunities for career exploration, and understands and articulates the importance of transferable skills in the job search process.
  • Digital information fluency: Demonstrates technological literacy and skills, and ethically and effectively uses technology to communicate, problem-solve, and complete tasks.
  • Civic engagement & social responsibility: Participates in service/ volunteer activities characterized by reciprocity, engages in critical reflection, and appropriately challenges unfair and unjust behavior to make a positive difference in the community.
  • Innovation & entrepreneurial thinking: Synthesizes existing ideas and concepts in innovative and creative ways to develop new ways of thinking or working, and engages in divergent thinking and risk taking.

For Students