The Research Degree Graduate Qualities

Seven Research Degree Graduate Qualities or generic outcomes result from doing a research degree with the University of South Australia. These qualities identify competencies that are transferable to the workplace.

The relationship between the research degree experience and the Research Degree Graduate Qualities are elaborated, recorded and tracked in the initial Statement of Agreement and successive Reviews of Progress.

Competencies of a research degree graduate

A research degree graduate of the University of South Australia:

  1. has an understanding of current research based knowledge in the field, its methodologies for creating new knowledge, and can create, critique, and appraise new and significant knowledge
  2. is prepared for lifelong learning in pursuit of ongoing personal development and excellence in research within and beyond a discipline or professional area
  3. is an effective problem solver, capable of applying logical, critical and creative thinking to a range of research problems
  4. can work both autonomously and collaboratively as a researcher within a particular discipline or professional area and within wider but related areas
  5. is committed to ethical action and social responsibility as a researcher in a discipline or professional area and as a leading citizen
  6. communicates effectively as a researcher in a discipline or professional area and as a leading member of the community
  7. demonstrates international perspectives in research in a discipline or professional area and as a leading citizen


At the beginning of your candidature, you and your supervisors will prepare a customised program which elaborates the seven Research Degree Graduate Qualities according to your needs and your field of research.

The Statement of Agreement and subsequent Reviews of Progress will list the activities and resources you will undertake to develop the Research Degree Graduate Qualities. For example, you might (or will):

  • access information about intellectual property and authorship
  • attend at on campus workshops and/or use online resources
  • submit an application for ethics approval
  • complete your research proposal
  • present work-in-progress and research findings at local, national and international conferences
  • undertake specific activities with supervisors and other research staff (eg preparation of journal articles)
  • participate in peer writing groups
  • network with scholars and researchers within your discipline or field of research
  • conduct literature searches in your discipline or field of research within an international context
  • write your thesis.

You and your supervisors will review your progress and set new targets for achieving the Research Degree Graduate Qualities throughout your candidature. These qualities will be a valuable resource to convey to prospective employers the qualities you can transfer to the workplace.