Professional skills for physiology majors: defining and refining

Michelle B. French, Julia K. Choate, John Zubek, Randy W. Bryner, Kathryn M.S. Johnson, Meredith J. Luttrell

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Changing labor markets require a workforce that is broadly trained for a variety of possible careers. Recognizing this, government and industry representatives, along with students and their families, are encouraging universities and colleges to focus more on developing transferable skills to maximize employability of their graduates. In response, academic institutions and professional organizations have begun to develop lists of transferable professional skills that they expect students to have acquired on graduation. At the 2018 Physiology Majors Interest Group (P-MIG) meeting, participants stated that there was a need to define a list of professional skills for undergraduates completing a physiology major. To this end, a professional skills committee was established. Initially members of the committee worked together to develop a draft list of skills. An iterative process of refining the list was then undertaken through presentations/small-group discussions at appropriate international meetings and via an online survey. Over 60 physiology educators, the majority of whom teach in undergraduate programs, provided input. The final list (presented here) consists of 13 skills grouped in four broad categories: think critically, communicate effectively, behave in a socially and scientifically responsible manner, and demonstrate laboratory proficiency. It is anticipated that the list will be used for curriculum mapping and to guide the development of new physiology courses and major programs. The professional skills committee now plans to develop rubrics and tools that will allow for the assessment of these skills.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)653-657
Number of pages5
JournalAdvances in Physiology Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • communication skills
  • critical thinking
  • laboratory proficiency
  • professional skills
  • transferable skills

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