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Individual Development Plan

Dear Science Success Center Students

The Individual Development Plan (IDP) supports undergraduate researchers to set goals and identify strategies that will help you to reach those goals. It is a self-tracking tool that can also be used to facilitate mentor-mentee communication and alignment of expectations. An IDP is not a performance evaluation tool or a one-time activity.

Steps to building your Individual Development Plan (IDP):

  • Step 1: At your next advising appointment, discuss building an IDP with your assigned SSC Advisors. Then review the following PowerPoint Slides in Step 1.
  • Step 2: Using Worksheet 2, complete a first draft of your Mission, Vision, and Values Worksheet.
  • Step 3: Complete the PRISM IDP worksheet. It is best to complete worksheets 1 and 2 together, then worksheets 3 and 4. Allow some time to think about what you have identified, then begin to develop SMART goals.
    • This process is most productive when you work with your advisor as they will be able to identify resources to help you reach your goals.
  • Step 4: Share your IDP with your mentors. An example of an IDP is shown in the STEP 4 Document.

Use the following five questions to guide development of the IDP. Annual (or more frequent) review of the plan provides opportunities to celebrate achievements, incorporate revisions and
ensure progress toward goals.

  1. What is your Mission Statement?
  2. What competencies and skills will you need to successfully reach your goals?
  3. What activities and experiences will you engage in to gain the competencies and skills?
  4. How will you assess your progress in mastering these competencies and skills?
  5. Who will help you reach your goals and how?


  1. Building Your Individual Development Plan (IDP): A Guide for Undergraduate Students,” Gita
    Bosch (2013), SACNAS News Vol. 16, No. 1.
  2. The Individual Development Plan (IDP): Chart Your Course, Office of Graduate Studies.
  3. What is an Individual Development Plan (IDP) and how does it relate to competencies, performance, and promotions?, National Institutes of Health.
  4. Individual Development Plans, U.S. Office of Human Resources Management, Department of Commerce.