Professional Development Requirement

As part of your graduate degree, you’re required to participate in professional development (PD). 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 PD requirement (following some of the Ivy League colleges in the United States).

This exciting new program helps you apply 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 already have PD incorporated into their programs. Check with your department to confirm how this requirement is fulfilled in your program.

The U of A PD Requirement includes an individualized career plan document called an Individual Development Plan (IDP) (see below) and the completion of eight hours of PD activities inspired by your career plan.

PD Requirement Training Series

Our PD Requirement Training Series will teach you about the PD Requirement and will help you start your Individual Development Plan (IDP).

Find out about your next steps to complete your requirement, explore resources and training that will help you and engage in guided reflection about the opportunities you’re seeking beyond your degree.

Part 1: Professional Development Requirement — Orientation Session

Part 2: Getting Your IDP Started — Exploring Career Values and Success

Note: Part 2: Getting Your IDP Started — Exploring Career Values and Success may be used toward the PD requirement as PD activity hours.

Individual Development Plan (IDP)

An Individual Development Plan (IDP) is a professional development (PD) tool that helps you to identify strengths, determine areas for growth and set attainable goals. This plan is a PD requirement for all graduate students.

Your IDP makes up one part of your PD requirement. Completion of your IDP does not count toward your eight hours of PD activities. Instead, your IDP is meant to complement and guide your PD and prepare you for work in academic and non-academic careers.

To help you take advantage of internships and other great professional opportunities available on campus, all graduate students are required to submit an IDP to their department, as well as their program of study, for review and approval.

Comprehensive IDP Workbook IDP Pro Workbook

After your program begins, your IDP must be submitted within the following timeline:

Master's Students

  • Full-time: 12 months
  • Part-time: 24 months

Doctoral Students

  • Full-time: 18 months
  • Part-time: 36 months

Eight hours of PD activities

Your eight hours of PD activities must be inspired by your IDP and approved by your supervisor and department. All eight hours must be completed:

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

Additional Information

Contact Us

Send questions about the PD Requirement for graduate students to:

Professional Development Team
Faculty of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies