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What is Personal and Professional Development (PPD)?


"Personal and professional development enhances and integrates the knowledge, skills, attributes and values of a graduate in any discipline"

- Dr Jenny marie, UCL Centre for the Advancement of Learning and Teaching


PPD website


The PPD process encourages students to make active connections between the academic subjects they study, and the informal learning opportunities that arise in university life; making more coherent what might otherwise be fragmented pieces of learning in limited contexts. The focus is more on learning than teaching, and the tutor's role is one of facilitation and sensitive guidance of the student on a learning journey that is unique to them.

Some degrees have an explicitly vocational focus, with professional accreditation (e.g. Medicine, Law, Architecture, Engineering, Chemistry), where the required skills, knowledge, attributes and values for membership of that profession is defined by the accrediting body.


But for any discipline, we can ask (and help students to answer) the question:

What does it mean to be a historian, a mathematician, a geographer...?


Intertwined with this is the students' personal development, where we can encourage students to articulate the kind of person they aspire to be in the world, both within and outside of professional circumstances, for instance in their family, their community, their workplace.

By engaging students in such conversations, they will:

  • form a clearer view of how they want to develop over time
  • set aspirational goals for that development.

They then need to consider who they are now, whilst bearing in mind that their attitudes and behaviour may vary between different settings and contexts.

Building up a PPD portfolio

This should lead to a comprehensive and evidence-based self-assessment within an appropriate framework of knowledge, skills, attributes and values.

The resulting profile will allow students to:

  • Identify priority areas that they may wish to develop where there is an apparent need or opportunity in the current context
  • Plan how to develop by drawing on the help and resources available to them, particularly on the PPD website but also in the opportunities to work and learn with the people and facilities around them
  • Review and reflect periodically, to track and record their achievements and development, becoming more able to articulate the process and outcomes of their learning, not only for employability, but for their own satisfaction and ongoing motivation.

These processes of goal setting, self assessment, planning, developing and recording are all vital parts of the PPD process, supported by personal tutors at UCL.

Page last modified on 07 aug 13 12:27