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Annual Reviews & Individual Development Plans

Annual mentoring meetings or reviews can help you, with your faculty advisor, assess your skills and progress, reflect on where you would like to be, and define specific actions toward achieving your goals. 

In Stanford's Biosciences program, doctoral students complete an Individual Development Plan (IDP) customized for each year of the program, which they discuss with their advisor(s). The IDP objectives can apply to all student:

  • Take ownership of your training and professional development.
  • Pause and reflect! Amidst daily research activities, it is easy to lose sight of longer-term goals.
  • Think intentionally about your short-, mid- and long-term training and development goals.
  • Identify and use resources to help you achieve your goals.
  • Have open and direct dialogue with your mentor(s).
  • Establish clear expectations/steps.

These resources can help students, faculty, and departments develop an annual mentoring and planning process themselves.

Annual Doctoral Student Degree and Career Progress Meeting Worksheet

Students are encouraged to meet annually with their advisors to take stock, set goals, and develop an action plan for the coming year. This customizable worksheet, endorsed by the Committee on Graduate Studies, can help facilitate such conversations.

Biosciences Individual Development Plans

Doctoral students in the Biosciences use the appropriate IDP form,  tailored for students in Year 1, Year 2, and Years 3-5. Other students may find these forms useful to guide their own planning and discussions with their faculty advisor.


This IDP, developed by Science Careers at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in collaboration with several universities, is used by many science students and postdoctoral scholars. All Stanford affiliates have free access to this resource by virtue of Stanford's institutional Science journal subsciption.

Imagine PhD

Based on myIDP,  this tool was developed for students in the humanities and sciences by the Graduate Career Consortium in collaboration with many universities.

Cornell University's Student Progress Review

The Student Progress Review (SPR) requirememt was implemented in 2017 at the request of students and faculty to support the regular exchange of constructive, written feedback between advisees and advisors.

Postdoctoral Scholar Individual Development Plan

Postdocs are encouraged to initiate a discussion with their faculty mentors around their career and progress using the tools developed by the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs.