Teaching Matters

Presentation 4 TR

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Teaching Matters 2018 | Presentation Details | 2018


Beyond the technical skills - a case for internationalisation of graduate attributes in PhD programs


Rajaraman Eri, School of Health Sciences
Ravi Vemuri, School of Health Sciences


Excellent teaching produces excellent students

Presentation Type



Tamar Room




Internationalisation of curriculum (IoC) has garnered momentum with many universities around the world. One aspect of IoC that lacks clarity is the student view on internationalisation in graduate attributes. In this focus group study, we explored graduate student (advanced stage PhD scholars) perceptions of the graduate attributes that need to be included in the curriculum for it to become internationalised.

Six PhD students from the discipline of biomedical sciences formed the focus group for the study. Advanced stage PhD scholars interviewed seem to favour a model of internationalisation of graduate attributes that include communication skills development on top of the list, while inter-cultural competence is seen as an attribute that will develop over time with students from different backgrounds working together, without a need for any specific training. Interestingly, one of the important attributes for internationalisation is the ability for PhD students to be part of international exchange programs and the consensus favours an active program aimed at that area.

It was found that 100% of the students opined that PhD students need help to develop their soft skills (communication, interpersonal skills) to become work-ready in any international setting. Over 80% observed that schools, faculties and Universities at large need to sponsor workshops and seminars regularly which will help students absorb attributes such as cultural and religious tolerance. Our study offers insights into what aspects of PhD graduate attributes need to be addressed at the Faculty and University levels in order to promote internationalisation of the curriculum.


Bremer, L., and Van Der Wende, M. (1995). Internationalising the Curriculum in Higher Education: Experiences in the Netherlands. The Hague: The Netherlands Organisation for International Cooperation in Higher Education.

Clifford, V., and Montgomery, C. (2017). Designing an internationalised curriculum for higher education: embracing the local and the global citizen. Higher Education Research & Development, 36(6), 1138-1151.

Green, W., and Whitsed, C. (2015). Introducing critical perspectives on internationalising the curriculum. In W. Green and C. Whitsed (Eds.), Critical perspectives on internationalising the curriculum in disciplines: Reflective narrative accounts from Business, Education and Health (pp. 3-22). Rotterdam, Netherlands.

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