Curriculum Mapping

Curriculum mapping is curriculum awareness and a visual representation of the structure of curriculum:

Mapping helps us look at our programs in a holistic way – at a level beyond individual courses – and making sure that program [and discipline] curriculum provides appropriate conditions for student achievement of intended program [and discipline] learning outcomes. (Palomba & Banta, 1999)

Palomba, C. A., & Banta, T. W. (1999). Assessment essentials: Planning, implementing, and improving assessment in higher education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Why Map Curriculum?

  • For alignment (within a program, between general education and institutional goals, etc.)
  • To identify where and how particular outcomes are expected, explicitly taught for, and assessed
  • To facilitate curriculum and course design
  • To reflect the requirements and pre-requisites for each course
  • To Illustrate the organizational relationship between courses, programs and institutional outcomes


Uses of Curriculum Maps

  • Provides an overview of the structure of the curriculum and the contribution of individual courses to the goals of the program
  • Identifies program strengths and gaps in addressing student learning outcomes
  • Suggests optimal sequence for students

Questions Curriculum Mapping can Answer

-              In the key courses, are all outcomes addressed, in a logical order?

-              Do all the key courses address at least one program outcome?

-              Do multiple offerings of the same course address the same outcomes, at the same levels?

-              Do some outcomes get more coverage than others?

-              Are all outcomes first introduced and then reinforced?

-              Are students expected to show high levels of learning too early?

-              Do students get practice on all the outcomes before capstone?

-              Do all students experience a coherent progression and coverage of all outcomes?

-              How do electives, if present, contribute to the achievement of student learning outcomes?

Jankowski, N. (2014) Mapping learning outcomes: What you map is what you see [Powerpoint Slides]. Retrieved from

Program/Discipline Curriculum Mapping

The Process:

  • Focused on curriculum and learning outcomes
  • Two-dimensional matrix representing courses on one axis and outcomes on the other
  • Faculty identify which courses address where learning outcomes are introduced, reinforced, and mastered.

The map below is an example of a program curriculum map.  Both Programs and Disciplines can be mapped. Disciplines map according to broad outcomes for students that intend to major in the discipline and transfer to a 4-year institution.

HSV program map

I=Introduce R=Reinforce M=Mastered 


The map below is an example of a course curriculum map.  

Course Curriculum Map

 Additional Information about Program and Course Curriculum mapping as well as FAQs