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Individual Development Plan (IDP)

Creating an Individual Development Plan (IDP)

Creating an Individual Development Plan or IDP allows graduate students and postdoctoral scholars to set professional development and career planning goals and take the steps necessary to complete them.  In addition, some funding agencies require trainees to complete an IDP and to discuss it with their mentor.  ​

This page contains a number of the more commonly used IDP resources.  Keep in mind that it is important to revisit your IDP on a regular basis and update and revise your goals.  Your mentor(s) can assist you in formulating goals and timelines that best meet your professional and career development needs. 

Online IDP Resources (Free)

For Humanities and Social Sciences:

ImaginePhD banner

ImaginePhD is a free online career exploration and planning tool for PhD students and postdoctoral scholars in the humanities and social sciences.  Humanities and social sciences PhD students and their mentors have long recognized the need for more resources to help bridge the knowledge gap between doctoral education and the realm of career possibilities. ImaginePhD is designed to meet this need by allowing users to: assess their career-related skills, interests, and values; explore careers paths appropriate to their disciplines; create self-defined goals and map out next steps for career and professional development success.

For STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math):


With over, 100,000 PhD scientist users, myIDP is the most widely used IDP online tool.  Suitable for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields, the myIDP provides both a career exploration and goal setting tool.  Also featured, is a certificate of completion to provide verification to funding agencies.


ChemIDP is an Individual Development Plan tool designed specifically for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars in the chemical sciences. Through immersive, self-paced activities, users identify career goals, determine specific skills needed for success, and develop a plan to achieve their professional goals. ChemIDP helps graduate students and postdocs track their progress and provides tips and strategies for achieving goals.

Stanford Biosciences IDP forms 

Separate forms are available for years 1, 2, and 3-5 in a graduate program which may be useful for those in the biomedical sciences who prefer web-based forms.