Individual Development Plans

An Individual Development Plan (IDP) is a resource generated by graduate students and post docs to help guide their career development.

When creating your IDP, take into account your interests and strengths, while considering what skills and qualifications are necessary for your chosen career.

An IDP provides a shared point of reference for conversations with your UO advisor (and other mentors) about how to achieve your goals and/or evolve them.

A dynamic document, your IDP reflects ongoing consideration of short- and long-term goals. Ideally, it should provide you with a guideline that can measure progress towards your goals and be revised as your plans evolve. 

The Office of the Provost requires that postdocs develop an individual development plan as a term of contract renewal.

Why Use an IDP?

Graduate students who develop a defined career plan report greater career satisfaction, improved productivity and effectiveness, and enhanced interactions with their mentors.

Other reasons to write an IDP are that an IDP:

  • Is not generic, as it focuses on personalized needs and goals
  • Facilitates discussion between mentor and mentee, clarifying expectations
  • Clarifies short- and long-term goals and the activities required to meet them
  • Is required, or strongly encouraged, by funding agencies like the NIH

IDP Resources

Background Resources

University of Wisconsin-Madison Individual Development Plans (IDPs), Overview for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Researchers

IDP Models

There are several models to choose from, so you should select the one that best suits your program and goals. 

IDP at the University of Minnesota (Open-ended format)