Programme director's handbook

Curriculum design at Aalto University

An aim of curriculum design is a programme that helps students acquire the competence they will need in their field in the future and to acquire it within the target time frame. Gathered together on this site are Aalto University’s curriculum design guidelines and schedule.

What is a curriculum?

A curriculum can be viewed from two perspectives: as a process and as a result. The latter is the approved description of a programme’s intended learning outcomes and content. 

Curriculum design is a process that results in the curriculum produced by the academic community. The teaching community for the programme or study module participate in the process, discussing and agreeing on student learning, educational aims, and alignment of the aims. The joint discussion results in an overall description of: the intended learning outcomes of the programme; the goals and contents of the study modules; and the selection of courses and implementation of teaching within the given period of time. 

These curriculum guidelines apply to the planning of the bachelor’s and master’s programme curriculum at Aalto, as well as the planning of doctoral programmes and study modules (such as majors and minors). 

Timetable for preparing the 2024–2026 curriculum

Aalto University follows a two-year curriculum. In the spring of odd-numbered years, curriculum design begins with setting the university’s joint aims, the making of programme assessments, and identifying development goals.

The curriculum design proceeds according to the below schedule, which shows what happens in each stage and what kinds of outputs (e.g. documents) the stages are meant to produce. You can also find instructions below for each stage. 

This timetable is to be followed by all Aalto schools and units. The schools and units will publish their more specific timetables on this page.

School level specifications to timetables and further guidelines

Curriculum design guidelines

Below you can find the collected joint guidelines of the university concerning curriculum design.

Curriculum design goals and practices

Goals for the curriculum design work in 2024–2026

Our shared goals in curriculum design are integrating sustainability themes into programmes, strengthening our lifewide learning offering, and implementing the new language guidelines.

Environmental Engineering new flow channel in Otaniemi, with students and teaching staff

Curriculum design glossary

Below you will find definitions of the terms used in these curriculum design instructions.

Kirjahyllyjä ja kirjoja lukusalissa.

Curriculum development

Curriculum development

The aim of curriculum design is a programme that helps students acquire the competence they will need in their field in the future and to acquire it within the target time frame. In this page, we have described the stages of curriculum development and instructions for each stage. You can find also tools and working templates to carry out each stage.

Four people sitting on the stairs near School of Business and Väre, in sunlight

Decision-making and drawing up the curriculum

Curriculum information about programmes and study modules

This page describes what information goes into a programme and study module curriculum.

Curriculum information about courses

A course is a part of studies that covers a specific topic, content or competence area. The curriculum defines the course contents, implementation methods and other course information that is valid for the whole curriculum period.

Formulating degree requirements clearly in Sisu

Clearly formulated degree requirements make planning studies easier. This page contains instructions on how to formulate degree requirements clearly.

How to update course information in the Curriculum Planner

The Curriculum Planner is a tool for the courses’ responsible teachers to update their course information.

Planning the educational selection

Teaching periods for 2024–2025 and 2025–2026

At Aalto University, teaching is divided into five periods. As a rule, one period lasts for 7 weeks and includes an examination week. This page has the dates for the teaching periods in the academic years 2024–2025 and 2025–2026.

Basic clock with blue background

Learning Services contact persons

Learning Services staff (usually a planning officer or coordinator) support the programmes in designing the programme. Their contact details are available on the Student Guide. You may contact when necessary the person coordinating curriculum design for your school or unit. Below you can find the contact information for joint service specialists and for the Learning Services coordinators of curriculum design at the schools and units. 

 Mari Partanen

Mari Partanen

Planning officer
Support for curriculum work in Aalto ARTS
 Riikka Leikola

Riikka Leikola

Support for curriculum work in Aalto BIZ
 Kari Lehti

Kari Lehti

Planning officer
Support for curriculum work in Aalto CHEM

Tuula Noponen

Planning officer
Support for curriculum work in Aalto ELEC

Päivi Kauppinen

Planning officer
Support for curriculum work in Aalto ENG

Tarja Timonen

Planning officer
Support for curriculum work in Aalto SCI

Miia Rosenberg

Planning officer
Coordination of curriculum work in open university

Vuokko Rantanen

Coordination of curriculum work in language center
 Noora Jaakkola

Noora Jaakkola

Support for curriculum design process and pedagogical support for curriculum development
 Erika Myllyniemi

Erika Myllyniemi

Pedagogical Specialist
Development of support services for curriculum design

Perttu Puska

Head of Aalto ELEC Learning Services
Process owner of curriculum design process
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