Accessibility statement

Personal development planning

The University of York policy on personal development planning (PDP), as endorsed by Senate in July 2004, states that the undergraduate experience should play a critical part in students’ personal and professional development. The policy and accompanying framework are underpinned by the belief that planning and reflection should form an integral part of the student-supervisor relationship.


The principal aims of personal development planning are to help you to obtain advice on your personal and professional (career) development, and to assist you to reflect broadly on academic, paid and voluntary work and personal experience.

  • Modular courses, which give the possibility of pursuing individualised pathways through degree programmes, make it more important that you are actively review and consolidate your learning
  • The examination culture which pervades the educational system encourages people to focus on achieving good results, often to the exclusion of broader skill and knowledge acquisition
  • Widening student participation has changed the profile of students entering the university, PDP allows for reflection on the range of life-skills or prior experience that students bring to University and discussion about how these might be of use
  • Career opportunities are changing. There is a broadening of opportunities to include more non-traditional opportunities, where employees are expected to take greater responsibility for their own personal and professional development
  • Graduate employment is increasingly competitive and changes in job functions and working practices demand greater flexibility


PDP involves a set of interconnected activities:

  • Planning
    how to articulate, develop and achieve personal objectives
  • Doing
    learning through experience acquired within and outside the curriculum
  • Recording
    thoughts, ideas, experiences, evidence
  • Evaluating
    making judgements about self and own work and determining what needs to be done to develop/improve/move on; obtaining feedback from others

Personal development planning is something that you do and from which you benefit as your university career develops. Your participation in the PDP process is voluntary, but it is highly recommended, and if you choose to do it, your supervisor will be available to help you.


The formal process involves meeting your supervisor once each year in each area of a your experience (personal, extra-curricular, academic and career development), to:

  • reflect on your experiences and achievements so far
  • consider your own strengths and weaknesses
  • identify information and guidance needs
  • plan appropriate actions in relation to the above

Getting started

If you wish to participate, you should download and complete the correct PDP form for your year, then email it to your supervisor and let him/her know whether/when you would like to discuss it.

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