Professional Development Requirement

Background from the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research (FGSR)

After consultation with the Graduate Students’ Association and consideration of economic job trends, the University of Alberta is the first Canadian university to implement the Professional Development (PD) Requirement (following some of the Ivy League colleges in the United States).

It’s an exciting new initiative to help you recognize your talents, pursue your interests, learn professional skills and make the connections that will help you excel in your chosen field. Although it is mandatory for all incoming graduate students, some departments have professional development already incorporated into their programs. Please check with your department to confirm how this requirement is fulfilled in your program.

The University of Alberta Professional Development Requirement includes an individualized career plan document called an Individual Development Plan (IDP) and the completion of eight hours of professional development activities inspired by your career plan.

Although programs in Educational Policy Studies encourages all doctoral students to seek professional development opportunities, the FGSR Professional Development Requirement only applies to doctoral students who started their program in September 2020 and after.

For more information see FGSR Professional Development Requirement.

Individual Development Plan (IDP)

To help you take advantage of internships and other great professional opportunities available on campus, your IDP must be finalized and reviewed by your supervisor or career mentor:

  • Within 18 months of your program's commencement for full-time doctoral students,
  • Within 36 months of your program's commencement for part-time doctoral students.

Eight hours of Professional Development Activities

Find, participate, and log the eight hours of PD activities that interest you, proposed, or inspired by your IDP and approved by your supervisor and department. The eight hours of PD activities must be completed within the first three years for almost all Doctoral students.

Possible Professional Development Activities

Department Process

The supervisor would meet with the doctoral student to develop an Individual Development Plan (IDP). Resources are available for what could be considered as part of the Individual Development Plan on the FGSR website. The student is then responsible to attend to the agreed upon activities or undertake the agreed upon tasks within three years. A suggested list of activities approved by the department is available on the department website. Note that only doctoral students are required to complete the Professional Development Requirement.

Once the agreed upon tasks have been completed, the student and supervisor must complete the Professional Development Completion Form.

If you have any questions or require further information please contact the graduate administrator or the graduate coordinator.

Completion of the Individual Development Plan and Professional Development

Although only students beginning the doctoral program in September 2020 are required to complete the required 8 hours, there must be a signed form for all doctoral students. For doctoral students who started their program prior to September 2020, please indicate on the form that they were not required to complete the 8 hours.

For those students who are required to meet the PD requirement, please check the appropriate boxes on the form. In the Description of Professional Development Activities, there are two options:

  1. Participated in the activity outlined in the list of activities; or
  2. List the activity or activities that the student participated in if it is outside the list of activities.

The student and supervisor should sign the form. The completed form is then submitted (in electronic or paper format) to the Graduate Administrator to be signed by the graduate coordinator and included in the student’s file.

While the requirement is only 8 hours, the student is certainly encouraged to participate in as many activities that will contribute to their career development.