Course Syllabus

The WPI Individual Development Plan (IDP) series

WPI IDP series is an annual workshop series for WPI graduate students to learn how to effectively manage their careers through the development of an IDP. The program is intended for PhD students and postdocs, however masters students are welcome to participate as well. The program will focus on self-assessment, career exploration, networking, and goal setting. Registration information for the program can be found below following the workshop schedule.  Participants will develop an IDP over the course of the series and will receive guidance on how to constructively discuss their IDPs with their mentors. The IDP process entails conducting a self-assessment of skills, interests, and values, conducting career exploration and selecting career paths of interest, identifying a mentors, and setting and completing SMART goals. Learning objectives for the IDP series are for students by the end of the program to be able to:  

  • comprehend the importance and value of developing an IDP to manage and advance one’s career
  • identify passion areas that can inform career options and decision making
  • utilize self-assessment tools in order to develop a frame-work for identifying professional development needs and determining a sound career fit
  • execute effective networking and informational interviewing practices to expand one’s professional network and gain insights into career paths and opportunities
  • formulate project completion, skill development, and career advancement SMART goals as part of an IDP
  • identify mentoring needs and create a mentoring team
  • conduct a productive meeting with a mentor to discuss elements of an IDP


There are a number of reasons why PhD students and postdocs should develop an IDP:

  • Developing an IDP offers a unique opportunity to assess one's self and use the assessment data as a framework to explore career options and/or confirm existing career choice preferences.   
  • IDPs are a great tool for managing one's career and can be a useful means of discussing career goals and timelines with mentors.
  • A statistically relevant correlation has been found between trainees that develop an IDP and increased research productivity as well as increased satisfaction with mentoring received.
  • Funding agencies, such as the NIH and NSF, as well as foundations such as the American Heart Association, highly value IDPs and have established requirements around developing IDPs for grant and fellowship funding. Additional funding agencies are also likely to adopt IDP requirements in the future. 


Dates and times for the 2023 Fall IDP program are posted below. 

10/10/2023 Workshop 1: Career management, self-assessment, and IDPs 

10/17/2023 Workshop 2: Career exploration, informational interviewing, and networking

10/24/2023 Workshop 3: Goal setting, self-advocacy/promotion, and obtaining mentoring needed 

 Attendance at 2 out of 3 of the workshops is required to obtain a certificate of completion for the IDP series. The certificate of completion may be needed by a graduate student's or postdoc's faculty adviser for grant reporting purposes. Registration for the 2023 IDP program is required. Registered participants will be added to the IDP series Canvas site and will have access to workshop materials, including presentation slides.  

Participants will be asked to develop an IDP using myIDP throughout the series and provide some of their IDP information through a WPI specific IDP form following the series, which will be individually emailed to them. The information collected is confidential and will be used to help inform decisions on future professional development programming topics for graduate students as well as to aide in making improvements in graduate training at WPI. All data collected will be aggregated and anonymized. Completion of the WPI IDP form is also required to receive a certificate of completion. Participants will also be asked to complete an evaluation survey after the series is finished to provide feedback and gauge quality of the workshop as well as achievement of learning objectives. 




Course Summary:

Date Details Due