Professional Development Planning

A Professional Development Plan (PDP) helps you think about the skills, behaviours and attitudes you want to develop as a researcher at York. It allows constructive and reflective conversations about your professional development with both your supervisor and Thesis Advisory Panel (TAP).

Setting your goals

Start by completing a Training Needs Analysis (TNA) template. There is a link to one in the 'Templates, Examples and Resources' box below. A TNA will allow you to assess your current level of performance and identify where you have development needs.

When developing your PDP also consider what you are currently working on in your research and what you need to get done in the future.

For example, if you are delivering a paper at an international conference next year then you might consider goals that involve communication and presentation for the initial 12 months.

Writing goals which are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Bound (SMART) will help you to be clearer about what you want to achieve. It provides discussion points at your Thesis Advisory Panel meetings and allows you to more closely monitor your progress through your PDP.

Templates, Examples and Resources


TNA template (MS Word , 1,940kb)

PDP template (MS Word , 41kb)


1st year example of PDP with comments (MS Word , 39kb)

1st year example of PDP without comments (MS Word , 25kb)

2nd year example of PDP (MS Word , 37kb)

4th year example of PDP (MS Word , 33kb)


SMART information sheet (MS Word , 20kb)

RDF briefing for PGRs (PDF , 1,027kb)

Vitae routemap for new researchers (PDF , 724kb)