Professional Development Requirement

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. The steps are as follows:



Access the IDP workbook



 Be specific

This is about your career so it will be as individual as you are and your field of study. Please talk to your supervisor about your department’s professional development specifics.



Complete your IDP

For guidance attend an IDP workshop (Parts 2 & 3) or an IDP Online Workshop (Part 2).




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 12 months of your program’s commencement for full-time master’s students
  • Within 24 months of your program’s commencement for part-time master’s students
  • 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 PD 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.  To help you navigate the many professional development opportunities available to you, we have compiled a PD Opportunities guide.




There are a few different ways to log your PD hours.  When both your IDP and eight hours of PD activity are finished, complete and submit the Professional Development Requirement form

  • At time of degree completion for master's students
  • Within the first three years for almost all doctoral students

Goal setting - use your IDP

IDPs are used by professionals to help them achieve their life goals. Your IDP is your career plan, and we recommend reviewing it with your supervisor or career mentor annually. It can be used as a "living" document for you to update regularly as you grow and develop your skills and academic and non-academic career goals.