Discipline knowledge, skills and values for graduate success

Unitec students will need to learn and demonstrate a variety of discipline knowledge, skills and values in their programmes of study. Discipline studies ensure students are prepared to take their place in a profession, vocation or further study. 

The aim of this post is to provide resources, and support to programme development teams to consider discipline studies in their own context.  A successful output will be the development of a discipline outcome for the programme graduate profile, and integration into course learning outcomes, and assessment activities. 

By the end of this session you will be able to:

Knowledge: To understand the concepts and principles of discipline studies.

Skills: Develop a graduate outcome to support student engagement with the discipline in your programme.

Values: Commit to providing students to with the knowledge, skills and attributes to ensure success in their first five years of work.

People: Collaborate effectively with students, stakeholders and the programme development team members.

Learn: Access, evaluate and share resources which develop discipline studies in your programme of study.

Integrate: Embed discipline studies into  graduate outcomes in course learning outcomes and assessments.  




In many ways it is easier to explain what discipline studies is not...it is not the generic graduate attributes described in our Graduate Success series. Discipline studies are those very specific sets of knowledge, skills and values that set a profession or vocation apart from others. 


In some cases the profession or vocation will itself specify what the student must know and be able to apply and demonstrate. However, there are some non-professional careers where the requirements are not specified by an industry organisation. In these cases, this resource will be of value to programme developers and curriculum writers. 



To fully integrate discipline studies into your programme of study, you will need to craft a graduate profile statement. To help you do this we have provided some sample statements from other institutions.  You will find the resources here.....


We have developed these questions to prompt your thinking about discipline studies in your profession or vocation. 



  1. What are the current discipline practices in the workplace of your graduates?
  2. How does your vocation or professional body view graduates?
  3. What practices are emerging in your vocation or profession? 
  4. What international standards are in place to support your vocation or profession?
  5. How does an expert in your profession or vocation demonstrate the discipline knowledge, skills and values?
  6. What technologies does your profession or vocation use to advance your discipline?


Once you have developed a graduate profile statement you will need to embed it into your course learning outcomes and assessments. We have resources and training which will support your staff.  See our resource on Designing courses for significant learning.


You may like to take time to consider the values of your discipline and how it will help your students succeed in the first five years of work. To do this you will need to consult with graduates and employers. You current students will benefit from a clear explanation of the need for global connectedness in their career and you may like to include this in your student handbook and make it available on your programme site.


To ensure you have the information you need to make good decisions about your discipline, you will need to work closely with students, graduates, employers, and professional bodies. We advise you to set up a consultation project, and survey your stakeholders to gather key information and ideas about global connectedness and internationalisation.


You will find a centralised and accessible knowledge base which support your discipline which will be valuable to both staff and students. You could do this through a Moodle site, or any other social network. The key is to have a knowledge based that is accessible and to which staff and students can contribute resources.


Once you have created your discipline studies graduate outcome, it should be embedded into course learning outcomes and assessments. We suggest you map your discipline studies outcome across your programme of study. For more on Curriculum Mapping....


We also suggest you periodically review the effectiveness of your graduate profile. To do this we have created a short introduction to our student, staff and stakeholder survey.  Find out more here....



List of academic disciplines


If you would like more information or assistance, please contact your Te Puna Ako academic advisors.

Last updated by Diana Ayling Jun 8, 2012.

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