A broad understanding of the skills and characteristics associated with successful performance in graduate school was developed through discussions with two groups of distinguished graduate faculty members. The first group consisted of eminent psychologists with expertise in cognition and assessment. The second group was composed of distinguished faculty from other fields, including the humanities, social sciences, and physical sciences. The first outcome was a characterization of the graduate education process as a form of apprenticeship that was suggestive of the kinds of skills and characteristics that contribute to success in many graduate programs. Based on this description, the second outcome was the identification of critical skills associated with scholarly and professional competence that are not currently measured by graduate admissions tests. A tentative list of seven competencies thought to be important for success in academic graduate programs and in subsequent professional roles was developed: communication, creativity, explanation, motivation, planning, professionalism, and synthesis. The last two outcomes concerned how these competencies might be assessed.