Policy for Implementation of Personal Development Planning (PDP) at the University of Dundee

Updated on 10 December 2020

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The University of Dundee adopts the following definition of PDP: 'a structured and supported process undertaken by an individual to reflect upon their own learning, performance and / or achievement and to plan for their personal, educational and career development.' - Guidelines for HE Progress Files

This definition of PDP activity can accommodate the various interpretations required by the diverse range of degrees on offer.

1. All students at the University of Dundee will be provided with the opportunity to take part in personal development planning (PDP) and will be encouraged to do so. Each student will be responsible for their own engagement with the process, including planning, recording and reflecting on their academic, career and personal development.

2.Schools, in consultation with their staff, students and, if appropriate, employers' representatives, will have responsibility for deciding whether to operate a formal PDP scheme within their undergraduate and postgraduate programmes and how this will be deployed (for example, whether to use ‘generic’ or  programme-specific templates). Where deemed appropriate by the relevant School, this will include embedding relevant PDP activities within programmes and informing students about where PDP fits.

3. Where a formal PDP scheme does not exist, individual students will be able to take part in the University's generic scheme with support from the Careers Service.

4. Where degree accreditation by external professional, statutory and regulatory bodies (PSRBs) applies and where this is contingent on there being a defined personal and career development planning scheme or similar, Schools may choose to align the PDP scheme with the PSRB’s scheme for continuing professional development, operating this according to the accrediting body's policy and regulations. This will take precedence over the University's 'generic' scheme.

5. Support for personal and career development planning will be provided centrally through the offices of Academic Affairs, the Careers Service, the Library and Learning Centre, Information and Communication Services, Registry and others. These bodies will be collectively responsible for designing and implementing generic PDP materials (including an online generic PDP facility); for modifying these according to programme needs; and for the operation of supporting software. This work will be overseen by the new Employability Task Force, which includes student and employer representation and reports to the University’s Learning and Teaching Committee.

6. Schools will be expected to induct students into their PDP scheme, in collaboration with the Careers Service and Library and Learning Centre, as appropriate.

7. The generic PDP scheme will be web-based, presented, as appropriate, to undergraduate, taught and research postgraduates via My Dundee. This will be configured to allow all students to construct their own personal development plan online, supported by a range of appropriate web-based guidance materials. Students will have ownership of their own records and will determine who is given access to them.

8. For students studying vocational subjects with accredited PDPs, web-based support will also be provided, configured as appropriate to fit with each degree programme's specific needs. In such cases, alternative software- or paperwork-based schemes will be allowed, but Schools will be expected to support such schemes themselves. An explanation and description of what is appropriate to each School will be provided by the School for an area of the web-based resource, entitled ‘ My School PDP Activities’ and students’ attention will be drawn in accompanying materials to their School’s preference for specific or generic material.

9. The Careers Service will offer a Careers Education Programme to undergraduates and taught postgraduates to facilitate the integration of PDP and career planning activities within the curriculum. This will include induction events, workshops, seminars and, where degree pathways allow, an optional credit-bearing module in Career Planning. The Careers Service will also contribute to the Generic Skills programme for research postgraduate students, as appropriate.

10. The Careers Service has developed an Internship Scheme for undergraduate students. Internships and credit-bearing work placements will contribute to PDP through the use of an integral learning log and report.

11. Monitoring of Schools' deployment of PDP will be managed by each College and overseen by the Employability Task Force which reports to the Learning and Teaching Committee.

12. The effectiveness of the deployment of the PDP scheme for each undergraduate and taught postgraduate degree will form a part of the Programme Review process and will be addressed by the Careers Service representative on the Programme Review team. Appropriate references to postgraduate PDP schemes will be included in the University’s Codes of Practice for Supervised Postgraduate Research and Taught Postgraduate Programmes.

13. Time and resources to develop PDP activities should be considered by the appropriate senior management when allocating staff workload. The costs incurred in all generic development activity will be borne by The Careers Service, the Library and Learning Centre and in School -specific activity by Schools.

14. Staff development to support staff working with PDP activities will be made available via the Library and Learning Centre and the Careers Service.


For all queries relating to PDP development, contact mypdp@dundee.ac.uk; the School contacts listed on the appropriate My PDP resource; or the Convener of the Employability Task Force, Dr I.K.Francis, Academic Secretary.                                        

Corporate information category Academic governance