The Sheffield Graduate Attributes

The University of Sheffield provides many opportunities for students to develop and enhance their personal attributes and ability to secure the outcomes they seek, and then to manage their onward careers with confidence.


The Sheffield Graduate Attributes framework is a presentation of those attributes which the university community and external partners have agreed are likely to be particularly beneficial to academic success, personal development and employability.

Attributes and skills are developed and enriched through academic programmes and all extra-curricular activities, learning and work experiences. Everyone possesses a unique profile of attributes and skills, and students are encouraged to reflect on their strengths and consider their personal development goals using the mySkills portfolio.

The Sheffield Graduate Attributes are grouped into three sections:

My learning 

Skills to facilitate learning and effective application of knowledge are crucial to the enjoyment of studying a subject and to fulfilling academic potential. These attributes and skills are also necessary and widely applicable in other contexts and in the workplace.

Academic skills 
mySkills logo
  • Academic writing - Using clear, concise language appropriate to the academic discipline and credible evidence to present written arguments or reports, using relevant referencing and citation
  • Numeracy and data - Appropriately calculating, analysing and presenting numerical data
  • Study skills - Selects, uses and seeks existing and new knowledge to develop intellect; using learning and study time effectively
Applying knowledge
  • Translating knowledge - Applying and translating knowledge and skills to contexts and challenges within and beyond your studies
  • Problem solving - Exploring innovative approaches to solving problems. Developing creativity, understanding, and challenging existing ideas
  • Exchanging knowledge - Demonstrating interest in and understanding of the positive application of knowledge in a working environment
Research and critical thinking
  • Research skills - Experienced in the processes and methods of research - discovering, understanding and creating information
  • Research impact - Considering impact and disseminating the benefits of research and knowledge to wider community and society
  • Critical thinking - Critically appraising, questioning, analysing and interpreting a variety of evidence, and applying research skills in different contexts

Digital capability

  • Digital fluency - Sourcing, using and creatively applying appropriate digital tools, information and skills
  • Digital communication - Assessing and presenting data, information and evidence using software and digital media
  • Digital citizenship - Developing and maintaining a professional and ethical online presence and identity

My impact 

Attributes such as the ability to communicate and collaborate effectively and being considerate and inclusive of diversity, enable positive contribution and impact within communities. These attributes also consider the impact of ethical, societal and environmental decisions.

Interpersonal skills
  • Communication - Communicating confidently in writing, in person and online for different purposes and audiences
  • Networking - Using interpersonal skills to build and maintain positive relationships through networking
  • Emotional intelligence - Recognise own and others emotions to guide thinking and behaviour
Working with others
  • Collaboration - Working effectively with others and in teams, encouraging collaboration and contributing positively
  • Influencing - Positively contributing, influencing and inspiring others
  • Leadership - Developing leadership potential and capability
Equality and inclusion
  • Community engagement - Actively participate and positively affect others in personal, local, global or virtual communities
  • Global awareness - Global competence and cultural intelligence, engaging with global issues and contexts
  • Inclusivity - Recognising and valuing different abilities, backgrounds, beliefs and ways of living
Ethics and sustainability
  • Integrity - Acting ethically, honestly and fairly in personal, academic and workplace settings
  • Appropriate conduct - Demonstrating appropriate and socially responsible behaviour, including academic conduct
  • Sustainability - Acquiring the knowledge and skills to promote societal and environmental sustainability

My self

The ability to develop and maintain positive wellbeing and to understand oneself underpins the development of many other attributes. Defining purpose, adaptive thinking, and enhanced resilience will help to support lifelong personal and professional wellbeing.

Positive wellbeing
  • Self care - Identifying and doing things to enhance mental and physical health, confidence and self esteem
  • Autonomy - Making own decisions about how to think and behave, pursuing freely chosen goals
  • Self-awareness - Reflective and understanding of personal strengths, values and areas for development
  • Healthy relationships - Developing positive, trusting, and supportive relationships 
  • Defining purpose - Finding a sense of direction in life, defining personal values and goals and working to fulfil them
  • Positive mindset - Approaching challenges with a positive outlook, self-belief and a sense of perspective
Personal development
  • Growth mindset - Recognising the value of continuing development and effective life and career management techniques
  • Determination - Effectively planning and managing tasks within deadlines - getting things done
  • Resilience - Effectively re-framing, learning and recovering quickly from difficulties and setbacks
  • Innovation - Curious, creative and innovative - considering and developing new approaches and ideas
  • Commercial awareness - Demonstrating an understanding of commercial and organisational decisions and wider contexts
  • Adaptability - Open minded, willing to learn new things, take on new challenges and make adjustments

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