The Individual Development Plan

...for mapping out your academic and professional development

As you begin your graduate school career, an Individual Development Plan (IDP) is an essential tool to help you:

  • Assess your current skills and strengths,
  • Make a plan for developing skills that will help you meet your academic and professional goals, and
  • Communicate with your advisors and mentors about your evolving goals and related skills.

The IDP you create is a document you will want to revisit again and again, to update and refine as your goals change and/or come into focus, and to record your progress and accomplishments. 

Sciences and Engineering

For graduate students in the natural sciences and engineering, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) online tool “myIDP” provides a comprehensive set of materials and exercises that will guide you through the process of self-assessment, career exploration, goal-setting, and implementation of your plan. Set up a free account and create and monitor your IDP at at myIDP. OR, use the suggestions and format below for creating your own individualized plan.

Social Sciences and Humanities

For graduate students in the social sciences and humanities, the information included here provides some important dimensions to consider as you assess your skills and interests, and an outline for creating your own individualized plan