University is required to make its way towards a less academic and speculative but more applied type of vocational training. Society becomes more complex and integrated, work more differentiated and variable and the demand for knowledge and professional capabilities is rapidly changing. Higher education, and therefore university, is required to train individuals capable of acting efficiently in the society and developing inside themselves an applied type of abilities, whose benchmark is the economic performance. The aim is to train expert individuals. Thus a mono-dimensional conception of knowledge prevails; it tends to level the goals of higher education on the aspect of activity so that terms such as wisdom, reflexivity, criticism, introspection, comprehension give way to expressions like competence, capability, ability, outcome, information, technique, flexibility. The article critically discusses the theme of competences and argues about the goals of university education.