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UC San Diego Competencies

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

The framework and definitions were created to align with the learning outcomes and competencies of:

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

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

UC San Diego 12 competencies

Career Development

Accesses information and opportunities for career exploration, and understands and articulates the importance of transferable skills in the job search process.

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.

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.

Digital Information Fluency

Demonstrates technological literacy and skills, and ethically and effectively uses technology to communicate, problem-solve and complete tasks.

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.


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.

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 through written, oral and digital mediums.

Professionalism & Integrity

Demonstrates integrity, honesty, dependability and ethical responsibility, and accepts direction and personal accountability.

Research Ability

Accesses and evaluates multiple sources of information, including text and images, and synthesizes information to solve problems and create new insights.


Assesses, articulates and acknowledges personal skills and abilities, and learns from past experiences and feedback to gain new insights and understandings.

Teamwork & Cross-Cultural Collaboration

Works with and 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.