Curriculum Maps

A curriculum map is a matrix aligning program-level student learning outcomes (SLOs) with the courses for a degree program or major. Program curriculum maps may vary in complexity and structure, to best meet the needs of the program.

Value of Curriculum Maps

Curriculum maps make visible the relationship between courses and program-level SLOs, enabling faculty to design and implement intentional curricula which systematically develop and deepen students’ key skills and knowledge. In this context, curriculum maps can:

  • Help each faculty member understand how their course is situated in the curriculum, and the essential contributions their course makes toward advancing program-level SLOs
  • Reveal where the curriculum is stronger or weaker in terms of advancing program-level SLOs
  • Provide a catalyst for faculty discussions about aligning and scaffolding courses, teaching, and assignments to effectively support student learning
  • Help programs plan assessment of program-level SLOs
  • Provide a framework for exploring the alignment between the intended, taught, and assessed curriculum

Curriculum Maps at WSU

WSU undergraduate degree programs are responsible for developing and regularly updating curriculum maps for their degree program or majors. Curriculum maps vary in approach and complexity. While a basic curriculum map simply shows which core courses support which program-level SLOs, most curriculum maps indicate an approximate level which a given course targets for a given program-level SLO (e.g., beginning, developing, mastering). Depending on context, some maps may include program electives and/or indicate which courses are available on a given campus.

Curriculum maps are sometimes confused with the schedules of studies published in the WSU Catalog. While a schedule of studies is a complete listing of all courses needed for a degree program shown in a semester-by-semester view, it does not show the relationship between program-level SLOs and courses. For more information about the schedules of studies and the curricular change process, see the WSU Curriculum Change website.

ACE Services for Curriculum Maps

We’re here to help — contact us for more information or to request our services

  • One-on-one or group consultations
  • Interactive workshops

Spotlights Related to Curriculum Maps

Highlighting program assessment in action

Curriculum Maps Toolkit

The resources below are intended to help programs and faculty as they develop or update their curriculum maps. ACE is available to collaborate with undergraduate degree programs to develop or update curriculum maps; contact us for additional information.

Sort by Type, Author, or Title to find what you need.

Quick GuideACE - WSUQuick Guide to Curriculum Maps (PDF)
Resource intended to help WSU programs and faculty consider good practices for developing and updating curriculum maps; also suggests follow up steps for using curriculum maps to review and refine curricula and plan program assessment
TemplateACE - WSUCurriculum Map Template (XLSX)Template intended to help WSU programs and faculty create a curriculum map for their undergraduate degree program; Note: ACE recommends that you review our Quick Guide to Curriculum Maps (PDF) in conjunction with this template
ChecklistACE - WSUQuality Checklist for Curriculum Maps (DOCX)Resource intended to help programs and faculty reflect on the quality and utility of their curriculum maps for their undergraduate degree programs
ExamplesVarious WSU ProgramsWSU Examples of Curriculum MapsWebpage featuring a selected sample of curriculum maps from WSU programs in various disciplines

Additional Resources and Scholarship


Hutchings, P. (2016). Aligning Educational Outcomes and Practices (PDF) (Occasional Paper #26). Urbana, IL: University of Illinois and Indiana University, National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA).

Matveev, A., et al. (2010). Curriculum Mapping: A Conceptual Framework and Practical Illustration (PDF). AMCIS 2010 Proceedings.

National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment. (2018). Mapping Learning: A Toolkit of Resources (PDF). Urbana, IL: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA).

Rawle, F., et al. (2017). Curriculum Mapping Across the Disciplines: Differences, Approaches, and Strategies (PDF). Collected Essays on Learning and Teaching. 10.


Note: Please contact ACE to borrow a book.

Diamond, R. (2008). Designing and Assessing Courses and Curricula: A Practical Guide. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Suskie, L. (2018). Chapter 5: Designing curricula to help students learn what’s important. In Assessing Student Learning: A Common Sense Guide. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.


Suskie, L. Blog posts queried for ‘Curriculum Maps’, A Common Sense Approach to Assessment in Higher Education Blog.