Individual Development Plan

For Graduate Students and Postdocs

According to Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), the purpose of the IDP is to "provide a planning process that identifies both professional development needs and career objectives. Furthermore, IDPs serve as a communication tool between individuals and their mentors."

The IDP will set a course for your appointment that will match your skills to your career ambitions. Of course, since your skills and goals will almost certainly change over time, the IDP will be an evolving document that you will return to with your mentor over the course of your appointment. The purpose of IDP is to build upon your current strengths by identifying areas for development and crafting a plan to address those areas. You should work with your faculty mentor(s) to agree on a development plan that will allow you to be productive while positioning you to be successful in your chosen career.

IDP Video Series

Prepared by Craig Ogilvie, Assistant Dean

These short videos are designed to give useful tips and assist with the process of developing an IDP.

Sciences & Engineering

For graduate students and postdocs in sciences and engineering, we recommend using AAAS’ free online tool myIDP. This tool asks a series of questions on your

  • Interests
  • Skills
  • Values

And provides several suggestions for possible career matches. It also contains links to career resources and tools to help you develop concrete plans, attend workshops, networking etc.

Social Sciences & Humanities

No equivalent online tool exists.

Self-assessment Form

Instead we recommend a Self-assessment Form that is most likely to be a private document that the mentor(s) should not expect to see. The self-assessment form asks a number of questions based on the six core competencies, and the outcomes of the self-assessment will serve as the basis for the separate IDP form.

The IDP Form

The IDP form should be shared in a draft form with the mentor(s) at the meeting where the graduate student or postdoc accomplishments and goals will be discussed in light of the core competencies and the graduate student’s career aspirations.