Independent Development Plan


A Graduate Student Independent Development Plan (IDP) is a tool for helping students and advisors outline and discuss short-term and long-term objectives to guide the student's professional development.

Graduate School of Public Health doctoral students and advisors are required to complete an IDP at least annually, typically timed to coincide with the required annual doctoral committee meeting. The school has an IDP template, (link available below), or students and advisors may substitute any other form that meets the same purpose (e.g. department-specific templates or templates provided by professional societies).

Completed IDP forms should be kept in student files at the department level. They should be treated as confidential student records. The Report on Requirements form for the doctoral preliminary exam and dissertation overview includes a checkbox that the committee should use to certify that an IDP has been completed within the six months prior to the exam.

IDPs are intended as a career development tool, and are not a substitute for a GSR evaluation that assesses job performance. For students whose GSR is closely tied to their dissertation research, it may be possible to combine the two, but it is still necessary to assess academic development and job performance separately. 

IDPs are not required for master's students but they are highly recommended. This policy was voted and approved by the Educational Policies and Curriculum Committee and the Pitt Public Health Council on February 2015.

IDP Template

The Pitt Public Health Graduate Student Independent Development Plan template can be used as-is, or students, advisors, or departments can customize it for their own needs.

Department-specific forms may be required.