Graduate Program: Individual Development Plans

Purpose of an Individual Development Plans (IDP)

Individual Development Plans (IDP) act as a personalized planning tool to identify professional development and career goals. The purpose of the IDP is to reflect and build upon your current strengths, identify areas for development, and turn those into specific actions toward achieving new skills and professional goals. Your goals and skills will change over the course of your graduate study and your IDP should be an evolving document that grows and changes with you. You should review and update your IDP annually.

This IDP outline contains sections for Career Development, Research Skill Development, Discipline-Specific Development, and also sections for you to continue to build and develop in your Complete Engineer™ non-technical competencies, which include Professionalism and Ethics, Communication, Self-Management & Leadership, Teamwork, Inclusive Excellence, and Civic Responsibility. The Complete Engineer™ initiative is a conceptual framework designed for students to pair their technical skills with essential non-technical competencies to provide comprehensive and sustainable engineering solutions.

There are multiple pathways to graduate success. Engineering graduates are pursuing a wide range of careers in both academic and non-academic environments. You should consider broadening your skills to prepare for different career option and your future after earning an advanced degree.


  1. Reflect on current strengths, values, and skills.
  2. Identify your goals and specific skills you’d like to develop and turn into SMART goals.
    • Goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and have a timeframeattached. Clearly define what you want to accomplish. How will you chart yourprogress? What resources will you need to achieve this goal? How will individual stepshelp you achieve your goal? When do you plan to achieve the objective by or when willyou re-evaluate progress? Who will keep you accountable to this objective/Goal?
    • Example Goal: Identify career options in my field.
    • Example SMART Goal: identify three positions, labs or companies I would be interestedin applying to if I were graduating this semester. I will chart my search progress by usingan excel document. I will need to meet with my advisor, do some informationalinterviews with program alumni, and visit with career services in the office of graduatestudies. I plan to achieve this goal by the end of fall semester. My advisor will keep meaccountable through our weekly meetings.
  3. Evaluate your progress toward your goals annually with your faculty advisor or mentor.