Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 29 Issue 01

View Issue TOC
Volume 29, No. 1
Pages 31 - 31


SIDEBAR. The Individual Development Plan: A Tool to Help Graduate Students Assume Control of Their Futures

By Nancy H. Marcus  
Jump to
Citation Copyright & Usage
First Paragraph

An Individual Development Plan (IDP) is a personalized strategic plan. IDPs have been used extensively in government and business to help employees improve their skills and leadership potential, and to progress in their careers. The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) first introduced the approach to help provide postdocs with guidance about career preparation. Those materials were subsequently incorporated into a Web-based online career-planning tool, MyIDP, managed by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The first step in the development of a personal graduate-student IDP is to identify long-term career goals, which can then be used to shape the graduate experience. Next, a graduate student would need to undergo a realistic self-assessment of her/his knowledge and skills to identify strengths and weaknesses. With this information in hand, the student would be well prepared for a discussion with a mentor/major professor to flesh out how the strengths and weaknesses relate to the ultimate career goal. The plan would then lay out a deliberate and specific approach to address the weaknesses and to further enhance the strengths, for example, courses to enhance content knowledge, workshops to enhance communication skills, teaching to gain instructional skills, presenting at a meeting and publishing a paper to disseminate one’s research, and internships to gain practical experience.


Marcus, N.H. 2016. The Individual Development Plan: A tool to help graduate students assume control of their futures. Oceanography 29(1):31, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2016.06.

Copyright & Usage

This is an open access article made available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution, and reproduction in any medium or format as long as users cite the materials appropriately, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate the changes that were made to the original content. Images, animations, videos, or other third-party material used in articles are included in the Creative Commons license unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If the material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission directly from the license holder to reproduce the material.