Accessibility statement

The Hidden Curriculum in Higher Education

The hidden curriculum describes all the things that students learn that are not part of the intended or planned curriculum (as defined, for example, by learning outcomes). Often, this learning will relate to the unspoken attitudes and values which underpin the way the learning environment (and the non-learning environment) are organised. It will be conveyed unconsciously in the way interactions between students, and between students and staff are managed, in the expectations of students in terms of their attendance and engagement, and in the choices we make about what content to include in our curricula and what content not to include.

Research into the hidden curriculum has been particularly prevalent within the compulsory sector, where, for obvious reasons, there has been an interest in the ways that the environments within which school children are educated serve to reinforce, perpetuate (or possibly in certain instances contest) the norms which frame society.

However, the hidden curriculum is also relevant to higher education, and has become a focus of attention and scholarship in recent years. This coincides with both a renewed interest in the purpose of a higher education, and also an increased awareness of embedded inequalities within the sector. For example, gender disparity might be considered an example of the hidden curriculum that has become (at least in part) ‘unhidden’. Similarly, the conscious concern with how, predominantly ‘white western’ perspectives, might prejudice student learning and thinking, is an example of the hidden curriculum being exposed, and has led to a groundswell of initiatives and scholarship on decolonisation.   

SoTL Journal Club

Information and details of papers and discussions on themes relevant to the Hidden Curriculum in SoTL Journal Club Meetings.

Annotated Bibliography

A collated list of key reading relevant to the Hidden Curriculum in HE, with brief evaluative summaries of content (in progress).

Journal: Special Edition

A special edition of the SoTL Journal, comprising academic papers written by York staff on various facets of the Hidden Curriculum.