Individual Development Plan

Planning process that identifies both professional development needs and career objectives.

Plan ahead for your professional career path

School of Medicine IDP Policy 

The School of Medicine (SOM) recognizes the benefits that graduate students and postdoctoral scholars experience by using Individual Development Plans (IDPs) to highlight research goals, presentations, technical and professional skills training, and career goals and in ensuring that conversations between the student/postdoc and mentor(s) about these goals occur on an annual basis. The significance of IDPs in training of the biomedical workforce has been emphasized at the national level by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Thus, the SOM has adopted the following policy to ensure that all NIH-supported students and postdocs utilize IDPs to aid in setting professional development goals and planning their future careers.

All doctoral students (optional for master’s programs) at the SOM will complete an IDP annually (due by April 30th) starting during a student's second year. Postdoctoral fellows/scholars are strongly encouraged to complete an IDP within three months of their initial appointment (please see the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs for more information). Completing an IDP is an interactive process that involves face-to-face meetings and frank discussions between the mentee and mentor. The IDP will evolve through annual meetings between mentee and mentor during the mentee’s tenure at the SOM.

Recommended Format

The SOM strongly encourages trainees to develop content for their IDPs by exploring resources like the myIDP web tool package (for PhDs and postdocs).

For doctoral students who entered in 2021 or earlier: 

The CWRU SOM recommended format is available on the CWRU SOM Graduate Education Office (GEO) IDP Portal ( The final submission process requires that both the mentee and mentor have viewed the document and have met to discuss its contents. Departments and programs may develop their own IDP formats, however, all IDPs must be submitted through the IDP Portal and they must include a career planning component.

For doctoral students who entered in 2022 or later: 

The format for IDPs has advanced at the SOM to the Mastery Learning Record (MLR) in the Mastery Transcript Consortium (MTC) platform. 

The MLR will provide an overview of progress and achievements that are not accurately captured in a transcript or CV/resume, and will help guide students through the creation of an IDP. The MLR will demonstrate professional growth highlighted by the evolution of their evidence. Once students begin to pursue prospective employment opportunities, the MLR will provide an in-depth record of experiences and skills that will aid in the creation of a CV/resume. The competencies outlined in the MLR are derived from the CWRU School of Medicine Graduate Education Office. 

To learn more about the MLR, check out our Canvas - Graduate Education Office Student Hub, module name: Mastery Learning Record (MLR) Professional Portfolio. If additional assistance is needed, please reach out to the GEO. 

For postdocs:

Other resources and example IDP templates are available through the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs.

Training and Implementation

A workshop developed by the SOM GEO is offered every year in May to onboard and familiarize first year students with the MLR. Students will be contacted early in the spring of their first year with more details about the workshop and how to register.

To meet IDP compliance requirements every year, students are required to update and revise their MLR and discuss this with one of their professional mentors during each spring semester. Fill out this form to confirm completion of this process for the GEO records.