Frequently Asked Questions 

Below you'll find answers to some of the main questions that have been asked about the implementation of the York Pedagogy. 

Applying the pedagogy to degree programmes 

What defines a programme?

The York Pedagogy requires that all taught undergraduate and postgraduate programme are revised to align with the 5 pedagogic principles. The pedagogy should be applied to every individually named taught degree course that has a unique SITs programme code. 

Do all programmes have to align to the pedagogy?

All taught undergraduate and postgraduate programmes need to be aligned to the principles outlined in the York Pedagogy by 2017-18. We will be working with departments on undergraduate programmes to enable compliance with the pedagogic principles in 2015-16, work will then begin on postgraduate taught programmes in 2016-17. 

As part of the implementation process departments are expected to write programme learning outcomes, map modules to the programme learning outcomes and write an enhancement plan for all undergraduate programmes by the end of July 2016. 

Do PGT programmes have to align to the pedagogy?

Yes. All taught postgraduate programmes need to  comply with the principles of the York Pedagogy. Work will begin on aligning taught programmes in 2016-17. 

Do combined programmes have to align to the pedagogy?

The York Pedagogy applies to all programmes including combined programmes. The timescale for complying with the York Pedagogy is the same for combined programmes as it is for departmental specific programmes, aligned to the five pedagogic principles by 2017-18. 

As part of the implementation process departments are expected to write programme learning outcomes, map modules to the programme learning outcomes and write an enhancement plan for all departmental specific and combined undergraduate programmes by the end of July 2016.


Do all programmes have to have a programme leader?

Yes. All programmes' need to have a named programme leader who has primary responsibility for the programme as experienced by students. However, an individual can be the named programme leader for multiple programmes. 

Further information about the programme leader role can be found on the Programme Leader section of the website. 

We're introducing a new programme or radically changing an existing one in the next two years. How will this be supported?

This is an opportunity to create the programme learning outcomes and the map of the student work from the beginning to ensure that the new programme aligns to the principles of the York Pedagogy. Contact the Quality Assurance Team to discuss the requirements for the new programme specifications. 

Programme Learning Outcomes

What is a programme learning outcome?

Programme learning outcomes provide a clear statement of what the student should have learned at the end of the programme. They provide focus and direction, and clarify what will be assessed to acertain what learning has taken place. 

The York Pedagogy states that a programme learning outcome should capture the distinctive characteristics of each programme and accurately reflect what a student graduating from that programme is able 'to do' as a result of sucessful completion. 

We have programme learning outcomes now. What's so different?

In the previous programme specification proforma, the intended learning outcomes of the programme were split into three categories: knowledge and understanding; discipline related and transferable skills; and experience and other attributes. This often resulted in a list of 30 or more programme learning outcomes, which could be considered unwieldy and repetitive. The York Pedagogy requires fresh thinking to clearly express the programme's characteristics in a limited set of 6-8 distinctive programme learning outcomes. 

This move to a concise and manageable set of outcomes, that focus on the distinct abilities gained throughout the progress of the programme, will improve the clarity in the purpose of that programme and will foster a shared understanding of the core objectives that span it. 

What constitutes a good programme learning outcome?

The programme learning outcome should succinctly articulate the capabilities of students graduating from that programme, [as] evidenced and enabled by the knowledge and skills they have acquired through the course of study. 

The programme learning outcome should be ambitious, to ensure that students are sufficiently challenged throughout their course of study, while remaining appropriate to the degree level. It is important that the programme learning outcomes are demonstrable to enable effective assessment and are distinctive to the programme. 

Why only 6-8 programme learning outcomes?

Clear objectives are one of the main predictors of educational engagement and significant learning gain. A succinct set of 6-8 programme learning outcomes, which can be mapped across modules to reveal progress, will clarify the purpose of student work, assessment and staff contact in contributing to the overarching aims of the programme. 

How do programme learning outcomes work for combined degrees?

Programme learning outcomes apply both to single honours and combined degree programmes. For combined degree programmes the expectation is that you will formulate 6-8 outcomes, highlighting the distinctive characteristics of the programme, expressing what a graduate of a combined degree programme is able ‘to do’.

The PLOs for combined degrees will be informed by the PLOs from the contributing programmes but they should not be simply a repetition. Rather, the PLOs should embody an integrated approach, articulating the benefits of studying the combined subject disciplines. For further information about PLOs for combined degrees take a look at our further guidance document

How are the programme learning outcomes approved?

Formation of the programme learning outcomes should be a collegial process: we would expect that programme learning outcomes are shared across the department with colleagues who contribute to the programme, and with current students undertaking the programme of study. Once the programme team has reached a consensus on the programme learning outcomes, these outcomes should be submitted to the UTC Pedagogy Working Group for consideration. 

This process should be undertaken for evey programme. York can submit PLOs for consideration by the UTC Pedagogy Working Group either as a collective (for all programmes0 or individually (for each programme as they are ready). 

Preparing Programme Maps 

When do we need to map the programme?

You can start the programme map once you have the programme learning outcomes. The programme map will need to be completed before work can commence on the Enhancement Plan. The expectation is that departments will have completed a programme map and an Enhancement Plan for all undergraduate programmes by the end of July 2016. 

We recommend that you get agreement on the programme learning outcomes from the programme team and submit them to the UTC Strategy Working Group for consideration, before you start working on the programme map, to ensure that you are mapping to the agreed programme learning outcomes. 

What is involved in the mapping process?

The programme map is a document that captures compactly how the programme is consistent with the Pedagogy. The module map should describe work and modular level progress towards the the programme level learning outcomes. Programme leaders will liaise with module leaders to gather the information needed to populate the module map. 

What is the intended purpose of the mapping exercise?

The programme map is primarily a design tool to identify how modules link to the programme learning outcomes. The information gathered through the mapping process will be used to facilitate discussions within the programme team about current practice, progression, timing, student work, staff contact and assessment. 

In the later stages of the York Pedagogy implementation the modified information gathered for the programme map will form part of the quality assurance document. The finalised map will also be used as a communications tool, enabling programme information to be provided and the alignment of modules and programme learning outcomes to be explained, both to students and potential applicants, in the context of a clear and distinctive approach to programme design. 

Do we have to include stage outcomes as part of the module map?

The expectation is that for each stage a 'global' progress statement is included on the map to indicate the expected capabilities of students aligned to the programme learning outcomes. This will provide clarity to students on the expected progression throughout the programme towards the programme learning outcomes. 


If you have any further questions please contact your ProPEL project contact