Competence clusters

Competence clusters

Competence clusters aim to:

  • Pave the way for student centered education
  • Reduce time to graduation
  • Foster simplified, objective, effective access to lifelong learning
  • Offer systematic procedures to design training plans
    suiting specific needs on the fly

Dynamic studies

Competence Clusters are an innovative model providing the required infrastructure to have a dynamic student-centred curriculum while fostering lightweight mobility for studies. With the Competence Cluster model, students can design their own curriculum to a certain extent, framed by the requirements of the degree they are enrolled in.

This model allows students to acquire the specific skills and competences required to attain a certain professional profile independently from the rest of the student group, despite being all enrolled in the same degree programme. With this model, students are free to either follow the standard curriculum of their degree or to adapt it to specific interests or needs by exchanging courses in the same Competence Cluster.

Learning units

Competence Clusters are cohesive homogeneous groups of learning units, each one of them assuring the same set of skills, competences, learning outcomes and workload/ECTS. Learning units are structured academic activities (full courses, course modules, labs) granting learners a set of learning outcomes that are assessed, certified and recognized by all partner universities. Learning units in the same cluster are equivalent from the point of view of learning outcomes and workload so they can be exchanged or attended autonomously.

Diversified education

Competence Clusters empower students by offering a more international, diversified and personalised education; strengthen ATHENA with an extended reach in both breadth and depth leading to new markets in higher education and new services to economy and society and disclose the full potential of universities placing it at the service of society, paying back the public investment on higher education.


Competence Clusters are a simple concept, a novel model in support of a sound transformation of higher education, opening new markets, offering new services and expanding horizons.

Competence Clusters will soon be available for search and enrolment through the ATHENA portal.