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Personal Development Planning (PDP)

personal development plans

What is Personal Development Planning?

A Personal Development Plan or Progress File is a collection of documents which records your progress through University. It encourages you to focus on your skills as a learner and to take responsibility for your own skill development. The PDP is your property. It is primarily about assessing your own skills, setting goals for improvement, recording your achievements and reflecting on your experiences at the University of Manchester.

What does it look like?

Your School will have its own specially designed PDP or progress file, which is linked to the aims and objectives of your subject area. Your PDP may take the form of a collection of documents, a small booklet or a web-based database.

The materials you assemble in your PDP could include:

  • questionnaires;
  • semester planners;
  • details of your meetings with your personal tutor;
  • academic and/or personal problems you may have encountered;
  • your academic targets;
  • personal records of your progress in course units;
  • exam results and other achievements;
  • your career goals.

Your PDP may also be linked to a core course unit in your school.

You will complete your PDP over the course of your whole degree. If your PDP is in the form of printed paper, it is best to keep it all together in a folder or loose-leaf binder. If you are completing your PDP online, make sure you have a back up or printed copy of your documents. You're in charge of your PDP. It is therefore your responsibility to maintain and to keep back up copies of your PDP.

What is the purpose of my PDP/Progress File?

Your School and your personal tutor can provide further information about the aims and objectives of your PDP. In general, however, your PDP is designed to:

  • Help you identify your analytical and transferable skills. As you progress through your degree, you will become more aware of the kinds of skills which can help you with your studies and career aspirations. Your PDP encourages you to reflect on those skills in which you feel confident and those where you feel you could improve.
  • Encourage you to reflect on your study skills and set goals for improvement. Once have identified your strengths and weakness, you can set action plans to develop the skills you wish to improve. 
  • Record your skills and strengths, and help you achieve your career goals. Your PDP provides a profile of your assignment and exam results, as well as your skill development. This will be a valuable resource when it comes to compiling your CV.

Further information about PDP or progress files can be found in your School handbook and on your School intranet.


The information for this page was drawn from material provided by Religions and Theology, Linguistics and the Combined Studies Centre.