To best understand the practical application of the Degree Profile, it is helpful to view it as a spiderweb: a structured and interconnected series of ladders that simultaneously build on and support one another. The web is strung among five anchor lines, each line representing one of the basic areas of learning. Along each line, three points are fixed to indicate the extent of learning required to reach each rung on the ladder: the associate degree, the bachelor’s degree and the master’s.
Once the points are fixed, it’s fairly easy to discern a “core” of learning—the combination of competencies from each of the five areas of learning that collectively define the requirements for a specific degree. These cores of learning grow progressively larger as students build on their knowledge—and this growth in learning is predictable and transparent to all concerned.
And yet, predictability and transparency do not lead to rigid standardization. In fact, though certain core learning outcomes are expected in all programs, the range of course content can vary widely, by institution, by discipline—even by individual class section.
5 areas of learning
3 types of institutions
To illustrate the Degree Profile’s ability to accommodate almost limitless variety among institutions, three types of institutions are plotted on spiderwebs. Though the bachelor’s degree requirements for all three institutions encompass the core learning outcomes, it is clear that each institution also has discrete areas of emphasis and focus for its students.