Skip to Content

Graduate School

Individual Development Plans

Your individual development plan (IDP) outlines past accomplishments, identifies areas in need of development and creates feasible professional goals to work towards your desired career.

Create Your Individual Development Plan

For Graduate Students

For Postdoctoral Researchers

For Mentors


Required for Students and Postdocs Funded by NIH

Graduate students and postdoctoral researchers funded by NIH are required to complete an IDP each year. 

NIH Policy on IDPs

According to NOT-OD-14-113, “NIH encourages grantees to develop institutional policies that employ an IDP for every graduate student and postdoctoral researcher supported by NIH awards. Beginning on October 1, 2014, annual progress reports are required to include a description of whether the institution uses IDPs or not and how they are employed to help manage the training and career development of those individuals.”

Who is responsible for ensuring USC NIH-funded researchers comply with this policy?

It is the responsibility of the NIH awardee (Principal Investigator) to include a report on the use of IDPs in the Research Progress Performance Report (RPPR).


Why Create an Individual Development Plan?

The Office of Research and The Graduate School strongly encourage the use of IDPs for all graduate students and postdoctoral researchers for identifying professional development opportunities and to aid in career planning.

Help Setting and Reaching Career Goals

Documenting accomplishments, areas to develop further and attainable professional goals in a comprehensive document can lead to greater professional success as you prepare to start your desired career. 

Graduate Students/Postdoctoral Researchers Work Together

Creating an IDP is an opportunity for graduate students and/or postdoctoral researchers and faculty mentors to openly discuss career goals and work together to create a plan to reach those goals.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.