Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Individual Development Plan for Graduate Students


Students drive the development of the IDP and follow-through of the action plan towards their goals. Students are encouraged to engage their mentors, advisors, the Career Development Center, and other campus services to provide feedback on goals, help identify resources, implement strategies, and support progress on their action plan.  

Benefits of the IDP include: 

  • Clarifying career goals earlier in training.
  • Focusing efforts by identifying impactful training and career goals.  
  • Allowing the student and mentor to align and adjust expectations around training and career goals proactively.  
  • Increasing the chances of follow-through on projects and completing objectives.  

Overview of the IDP Process


Assessment & Reflection  
Through reflection and the use of instruments, the student engages in self-assessment of their values, skills, and interests to define training and career goals and uses the IDP to assess progress toward their goals.

Discernment and Decisions 
The student identifies knowledge, skills, abilities, and support most important for continued progress toward training and career objectives.

Goal Development  
The student develops goals around two-five significant knowledge, skills, abilities, and experiences to support their training and career objectives.

Reviewing the Goals and Getting Feedback
The student engages their advisor, thesis committee members, campus services and resources, and support network to get feedback and perspective on accessing skills, identifying and prioritizing goals, and aligning support around the student’s goals.   

Focus for Achievement 
The IDP is revisited at least every six months to support the student’s motivation and achievement of goals. The IDP starts with students’ status reports in Year 2 and transitions to Thesis Advisory Committee meeting updates once their thesis committee has formed. 


GSBS IDP Guidelines and Forms


IDP Guidelines: Contains guidance, instructions, and assessment and reflection tools for completing the IDP. It will be helpful to review the document as you begin your IDP and utilize the tools as you revisit your IDP.

IDP Form: Students are encouraged to use the IDP form to develop their goal plan. The form has two parts. The first part contains questions for student reflection on and assessment of their progress to help identify development and goal-setting areas. The second part is where the student develops their action plan to be discussed with their thesis mentor.


BCM Training and Career Development Resources


Student and Trainee Resources
Student and Trainee Resources promotes student excellence through career advising, academic advising, skill-building resources and opportunities, and student organizations. Students may find information on all services in addition to the Academic Success Center and Career Development Center below on the office’s website. 

Academic Success Center 
The Academic Success Center supports learners seeking to enhance transferable learning skills such as reading, note-taking, test-taking strategies, writing consultations, and time management. 

Career Development Center  
The Career Development Center offers students and trainees resources and services supporting long-term career planning. Students are encouraged to engage with advising and services provided through the Career Services office early in their graduate education. An excellent resource, to begin with, is the Career Development Center’s Career Planning Guide for a brief introduction to the career decision-making process and tools and information to explore for each step of the process.

MyIDP is a free career exploration tool provided by AAAS Science Careers. Developed in an IDP format, this tool supports scientists in understanding how their skills, values, and interests align with potential career choices. More than 20 scientific careers are covered. Additional resources for career exploration are available through the Career Development Center