The development of principal values that serves as the main reference for Universitas Negeri Yogyakarta is founded on diverse education philosophy, i.e. education endeavors for developing student potentials, education endeavors for training rational thinking toward achieving the goal, education endeavors based on noble values, enlightening education endeavors, and education endeavors for developing student competencies in facing change. UNY applies an eclective-incorporative approach in building its philosophy. In addition, the implementation of education, research, and community service in UNY is founded on the Pancasila philosophy.

Pedagogical foundation serves as the basis in the learning process development to make learning more active, interactive, innovative, inspiring, enjoyable, effective, challenging, as well as motivate students to develop all of their comprehensive potential in order to become creative, innovative, devoted, independent, and intelligent teachers or scholars in the field of teaching and education science.

The UNY three principles of higher education (tridharma), namely education, research, and community service, are directed to the hollistic development of Indonesian human resources, as well as the life improvement of the people of Indonesia. All three elements are adjusted to the development of the society in order to ensure that the university builds a strong collaboration with various groups or communities. Moreover, in order to expand the scope of the university’s impact on society, the character, moral, ability, truth and the Indonesian identity serve as the essence of fundamental principles that the university upholds in developing the institution as UKKD. Finally, for the principal values to develop into character and be reflected among the YSU academic community, the university’s motto “leading in character education” serves as an important motivation.