Policies and Procedures

Individual Development Plan for Graduate Students

To assist PhD graduate students to achieve their career goals, the School of Population Health has a policy that mandates all PhD graduate students to develop and use an Individual Development Plan.

What is an Individual Development Plan?

The Individual Development Plan (IDP) is an extremely useful tool designed to assist the graduate student with 1) identifying his/her professional goals and objectives; 2) assessing the graduate student's skill set relative to his/her career goals; and 3) developing a plan to acquire the skills and competencies needed to achieve short- and long-term career objectives. In addition to serving as a planning tool, an IDP also serves as a communication tool, allowing the graduate student to communicate research and career goals to mentors, including research advisors and graduate program directors.

What is the IDP process?

The development, implementation, and revision of IDPs require a series of steps to be conducted by graduate students and their mentors. This is an interactive process and requires full participation of both students and mentors.

1) Student Self-Assessment; 2) Student: Write and share IDP - Mentor: Review IP and help revise; 3) Student: Implement plan and revise as needed - Mentor: establish regular progress review; 4) Student: Survey opportunities with mentor - Mentor: Discuss opportunities

How does this relate to core competencies?

There is broad agreement that core competencies provide an excellent way to evaluate career/professional development. Core competencies are primarily blends of skills and experiences that future employers and/or educational institutions will be seeking. Specifically, graduate training should aim to build competence in:

  • Communication (Writing, Speaking, Grant writing, Communication in English)
  • Teaching
  • Leadership, management and mentoring
  • Career exploration and job search skills

What resources can I use?

An excellent free online tool for developing an IDP is myIDP.

This tool is written specifically for scientists to help them understand their skills, values and interests and how those align with potential career choices.