Articulating Learning Outcomes in Doctoral Education

    The U.S. graduate education community has a strong interest in defining the learning outcomes of doctoral programs. Having clear and explicit learning outcomes help students navigate important milestones, prepare students for a wide variety of career paths, and enable doctoral programs to measure their own success. Conversely, failure to clearly define the goals and outcomes of doctoral education puts the autonomy of programs at risk, as accrediting bodies and governing boards may define these outcomes for them.


    To better understand the state of doctoral outcomes assessment in the U.S., the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS), with support from Lumina Foundation, conducted a year-long research project to explore national and global contexts for doctoral learning outcomes and evaluate the use of competency frameworks at the doctoral level. The results of this project inform the work of learning outcomes assessment for doctoral programs as well as next steps for graduate schools, faculty, and other stakeholders.



    Press Release


    CGS is the leading source of information, data analysis, and trends in graduate education. Our benchmarking data help member institutions to assess performance in key areas, make informed decisions, and develop plans that are suited to their goals.
    CGS Best Practice initiatives address common challenges in graduate education by supporting institutional innovations and sharing effective practices with the graduate community. Our programs have provided millions of dollars of support for improvement and innovation projects at member institutions.
    As the national advocate for graduate education, CGS serves as a resource for policymakers and others on issues concerning graduate education, research, and scholarship. CGS members receive regular updates of legislative and regulatory proposals impacting graduate education and are provided resources to use in advocacy efforts on their campuses and with policymakers and other constituents. 
    CGS is an authority on global trends in graduate education and a leader in the international graduate community. Our resources and meetings on global issues help members internationalize their campuses, develop sustainable collaborations, and prepare their students for a global future.