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Getting Your GLOA Started

The Graduate Learning Outcomes Assessment (GLOA) Process begins with the faculty in a graduate program selecting at least one graduate learning outcome for assessment. The learning outcomes for graduate programs will vary. Below are examples of graduate student core learning competencies that programs can consider for their GLOA. Programs may also identify unique learning competencies. The graduate learning outcome that each program selects to assess will come from a single core competency.

Core Competencies (Examples)

Students will be able to….

Core Knowledge 

  • Graduate students will demonstrate advanced knowledge in a specialized area consistent with the focus of their graduate program.
  • Demonstrate general knowledge of research and theory consistent with that of a practicing Ph.D.
  • Demonstrate specialized knowledge of a sub-field and theory sufficient to carry out substantive independent research in that sub-field.

Research Methods and Analysis

  • Graduate students will demonstrate the use of data gathering and data analysis methods in conducting research that is consistent with the focus of their graduate program.
  • Demonstrate understanding of qualitative and quantitative methodologies typically used and critically read research that uses this range of research.
  • Frame an empirical research study guided by theory and prior research.
  • Design and implement a sound study using appropriate methods, measures, and techniques.
  • Critically evaluate and systematically analyze data to come up with appropriate findings and interpretations.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of, and follow research ethics.


  • Graduate students will participate in classroom pedagogy consistent with undergraduate education in the associated major.
  • Design high-quality undergraduate and graduate courses, including appropriate goals, reading or audiovisual materials, assignments, and sequencing.
  • Communicate effectively to large and small groups in pedagogical settings in both lecture and discussion formats.
  • Identify and effectively deploy suitable digital media for use in all aspects of instruction.
  • Assess students effectively, including developing and using appropriate measures and rubrics.

Scholarly Communication

  • Graduate students will produce written and oral communications of quality consistent with the focus of their graduate program.
  • Structure a coherent academic argument that rigorously presents and evaluates evidence to support claims.
  • Review and cogently synthesize relevant literature.
  • Adopt an authorial voice.
  • Write in a level and style of English consistent with that found in leading academic journals.
  • Properly use styles of citing, referencing, and formatting found in the major area of study research outlets.
  • Make clear and cogent oral presentations, including effective use of digital media.
  • Cogently summarize their research and its significance for non-specialist audiences.

Career Development and Professionalism 

  • Graduate students will know and participate in the intellectual and organizational aspects of the profession as applicable to the major area of study, including the ethical conduct of study.
  • Select appropriate conference venues for their educational research and produce competitive research proposals for them.
  • Prepare and discuss a poster suitable for presentation at a research conference.
  • Prepare manuscripts that meet the standards of research journals and respond appropriately to recommendations for revision.
  • Select appropriate fellowship or grant opportunities and prepare competitive proposals for them.
  • Make effective contributions to research teams and lab groups.
  • Make effective contributions to the university, community, and professional service.
  • Master required skills for effective practice in their field through participation in practicum and internship experiences.

Independent Research 

  • Graduate students will conduct independent research resulting in an original contribution to knowledge in the focused areas of their graduate programs.
  • Develop their own research projects that meet high standards of theoretical and methodological rigor.
  • Produce scholarship that is comparable in scope and format to articles and books that appear in leading peer-reviewed journals and presses.
  • Supervise research assistants effectively.
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