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«The Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP) The Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP) describes the knowledge, skills and applications that prepare ...»

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The Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP)

The Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP) describes the knowledge, skills and applications that

prepare graduates to succeed in the economy, civil society and their own lives. In developing the

proposed DQP, two wagers were made. The first is that the U.S. sorely needs and can be enticed

to adopt a shared set of reference points that describe the meaning and value of college degrees

at the associate, baccalaureate and master’s level. The second is that developing a shared framework can enhance educational productivity by providing much needed guidance—to students, faculty, employers and policy leaders—both about what students ought to be able to do with their education, for work, citizenship and personal development, and about ways to foster and document students’ achievement of DQP competencies, from formal study and from fieldbased settings such as work or community service. (AAC&U website) The complete draft of the Degree Qualifications Profile 2.0 can be found here.

3. The Degree Qualifications Profile 2.0 This section outlines the five component areas of learning for each degree level, the proficiencies basic to each area of learning, and their relationship to one another. These proficiencies appear also in a summary chart or grid on Pages 33-36.


The DQP offers a significant modification of the traditional distinction between the broad knowledge acquired through the entire course of one’s education and that gleaned through pursuit of a specialized field of study. It emphasizes the integration of ideas, methods, practice, and theory across both broad and specialized realms.

Specialized knowledge Most who receive degrees pursue specialized areas of study and are expected to meet knowledge and skill requirements of those areas. Specialized accrediting associations and licensure bodies have developed standards for many such fields of study and the “Tuning” process is doing so for some of these and others. (See Appendix B, Page 38.) But all fields call more or less explicitly for proficiencies involving terminology, theory, methods, tools, literature, complex problems or applications, and cognizance of limits. These reference points for student achievement of specialized knowledge are addressed in the proficiencies presented below.

At the associate level the student pursuing a specialized degree such as an Associate of Applied Science • Describes the scope of the field of study, its core theories and practices, using field-related terminology, and offers a similar explication of at least one related field.

• Applies tools, technologies and methods common to the field of study to selected questions or problems.

• Generates substantially error-free products, reconstructions, data, juried exhibits or performances appropriate to the field of study.

At the bachelor’s level, the student • Defines and explains the structure, styles and practices of the field of study using its tools, technologies, methods and specialized terms.

• Addresses a familiar but complex problem in the field of study by assembling, arranging and reformulating ideas, concepts, designs and techniques.

• Frames, clarifies and evaluates a complex challenge in the field of study and one other field, using theories, tools, methods and scholarship from those fields to produce independently or collaboratively an investigative, creative or practical work illuminating that challenge.

–  –  –

At the master’s level, the student • Elucidates the major theories, research methods and approaches to inquiry and schools of practice in the field of study, articulates their sources, and illustrates both their applications and their relationships to allied fields of study.

• Assesses the contributions of major figures and organizations in the field of study, describes its major methodologies and practices, and illustrates them through projects, papers, exhibits or performances.

• Articulates significant challenges involved in practicing the field of study, elucidates its leading edges, and explores the current limits of theory, knowledge and practice through a project that lies outside conventional boundaries.

Broad and integrative knowledge U.S. higher education is distinctive in its emphasis on students’ broad learning across the humanities, arts, sciences and social sciences, and the DQP builds on that commitment to liberal and general education in postsecondary learning. However, the DQP further invites students to integrate their broad learning by exploring, connecting and applying concepts and methods across multiple fields of study to complex questions — in the student’s areas of specialization, in work or other field-based settings, and in the wider society. While many institutions of higher education and most state requirements relegate general knowledge to the first two years of undergraduate work and present it in isolated blocks, the DQP takes the position that broad and integrative knowledge, at all degree levels, should build larger, cumulative contexts for students’ specialized and applied learning and for their engagement with civic, intercultural, global, and scientific issues as well.

At the associate level, the student • Describes how existing knowledge or practice is advanced, tested and revised in each core field studied — e.g., disciplinary and interdisciplinary courses in the sciences, social sciences, humanities and arts.

• Describes a key debate or problem relevant to each core field studied, explains the significance of the debate or problem to the wider society, and shows how concepts from the core field can be used to address the selected debates or problems.

• Uses recognized methods of each core field studied, including the gathering and evaluation of evidence, in the execution of analytical, practical or creative tasks.

• Describes and evaluates the ways in which at least two fields of study define, address, and interpret the importance for society of a problem in science, the arts, society, human services, economic life or technology.

–  –  –

• Describes and evaluates the ways in which at least two fields of study define, address, and interpret the importance for society of a problem in science, the arts, society, human services, economic life or technology, explains how the methods of inquiry in these fields can address the challenge, and proposes an approach to the problem that draws on these fields.

• Produces an investigative, creative or practical work that draws on specific theories, tools and methods from at least two core fields of study.

• Defines and frames a problem important to the major field of study, justifies the significance of the challenge or problem in a wider societal context, explains how methods from the primary field of study and one or more core fields of study can be used to address the problem, and develops an approach that draws on both the major and core fields.

At the master’s level, the student • Articulates how the field of study has developed in relation to other major domains of inquiry and practice.

• Designs and executes an applied, investigative or creative work that draws on the perspectives and methods of other fields of study and assesses the resulting advantages and challenges of including these perspectives and methods.

• Articulates and defends the significance and implications of the work in the primary field of study in terms of challenges and trends in a social or global context.


The six crosscutting Intellectual Skills presented below define proficiencies that transcend the boundaries of particular fields of study. They overlap, interact with, and enable the other major areas of learning described in the DQP.

Analytic inquiry Because the synthesizing cognitive operations of assembling, combining, formulating, evaluating and reconstructing information are foundational to all learning, they are addressed throughout the DQP. But analytic inquiry, though it is involved in such synthesis, requires separate treatment as the core intellectual skill that enables a student to examine, probe and grasp the assumptions and conventions of different areas of study.

At the associate level, the student • Identifies and frames a problem or question in selected areas of study and distinguishes among elements of ideas, concepts, theories or practical approaches to the problem or question.

–  –  –

• Differentiates and evaluates theories and approaches to selected complex problems within the chosen field of study and at least one other field.

At the master’s level, the student • Disaggregates, reformulates and adapts principal ideas, techniques or methods at the forefront of the field of study in carrying out an essay or project.

Use of information resources There is no learning without information, and students must learn how to find, organize, and evaluate it. At each degree level, these tasks become more complicated — by language, by media, by ambiguity and contradictions — and the proficiencies offered below reflect that ladder of challenge.

At the associate level, the student • Identifies, categorizes, evaluates and cites multiple information resources so as to create projects, papers or performances in either a specialized field of study or with respect to a general theme within the arts and sciences.

At the bachelor’s level, the student • Locates, evaluates, incorporates, and properly cites multiple information resources in different media or different languages in projects, papers or performances.

• Describes characteristics of essential information resources, including their limitations, and explains strategies for identifying and finding such resources.

• Generates information through independent or collaborative inquiry and uses that information in a project, paper or performance.

At the master’s level, the student • Provides evidence (through papers, projects, notebooks, computer files or catalogues) of contributing to, expanding, evaluating or refining the information base within the field of study.

Engaging diverse perspectives Every student should develop the intellectual flexibility and broad knowledge that enables perception of the world through the eyes of others, i.e., from the perspectives of diverse cultures, personalities, places, times and technologies. This proficiency is essential to intellectual development and to both Applied and Collaborative Learning and Civic and Global Learning.

–  –  –

• Describes how knowledge from different cultural perspectives might affect interpretations of prominent problems in politics, society, the arts and/or global relations.

• Describes, explains and evaluates the sources of his or her own perspective on selected issues in culture, society, politics, the arts or global relations and compares that perspective with other views.

At the bachelor’s level, the student • Constructs a written project, laboratory report, exhibit, performance or community service design expressing an alternate cultural, political or technological vision and explains how this vision differs from current realities.

• Frames a controversy or problem within the field of study in terms of at least two political, cultural, historical or technological forces, explores and evaluates competing perspectives on the controversy or problem, and presents a reasoned analysis of the issue, either orally or in writing, that demonstrates consideration of the competing views.

At the master’s level, the student

• Addresses through a project, paper or performance a core issue in the field of study from the perspective of a different point in time or a different culture, language, political order or technological context and explains how this perspective yields results that depart from current norms, dominant cultural assumptions or technologies.

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