About DiscoverPD, ImaginePhD, myIDP, Aurora, and the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity

This document provides an overview of five career planning and professional development resources for graduate students.

Jump to section: DiscoverPD, ImaginePhD, MyIDP, Aurora, NCFDD

DiscoverPD icon


For:  UW-Madison master’s and doctoral students, all disciplines and degree levels, all career paths

DiscoverPD is a competencies framework and planning tool for University of Wisconsin-Madison master’s and doctoral students.  Features include:
  • a skills self-assessment and activity tracker,
  • customized reports and professional development recommendations, and 
  • a database of 400+ in-person and online opportunities.
The framework outlines skills, competencies, and attributes developed through graduate study.  It helps student identify and articulate their transferable skills, and provides scaffolding to plan professional development activities and write an Individual Development Plan (IDP). It is informed by national and disciplinary reports about graduate student professional development and career outcomes, and was developed with input from UW-Madison faculty, students, and staff.

Watch the 3-minute video for a brief intro to DiscoverPD.



For:  Doctoral students, humanities and social sciences, all career paths

ImaginePhD is a career exploration and Individual Development Plan tool for the humanities and social sciences.  It is a free online resource that facilitates career exploration by inviting users to evaluate and reflect on their own skills, values and interests and to investigate related career opportunities.  An equally important component of the tool is its goal setting application – My Plan – which enables the user to map out next steps in their PhD programs and for their career and professional development.

Watch the following 3-minute video for a brief intro to ImaginePhD. (Opens in new tab.)




For: Doctoral students, STEM, all career paths

myIDP is a web-based career-planning tool tailored to meet the needs of PhD students and postdocs in the sciences.  Features include:

•exercises to examine skills, interests, and values;
•twenty scientific career paths matched to users skills and interests;
•a tool for setting strategic goals, with optional reminders; and 
•career exploration articles and resources.

Aurora by Beyond the Professoriate

Aurora e-Learning by Beyond the Professoriate

For:  UW-Madison master’s and doctoral students, all disciplines and degree levels, all career paths

With Aurora, students access on-demand videos to explore career options and learn strategies for career success. With over 70 hours of on-demand videos and featuring over 150 PhDs, Aurora is a one-of-a-kind resource.

PhD students and postdocs access resources to help them navigate the faculty job market, and explore professional careers beyond the professoriate.

Aurora’s curated content includes videos testimonials, and reflective activities, and it provides information for students across disciplines in the Arts & Sciences. It was designed and built by PhDs. The Beyond the Professoriate team, as well as all of the contributors who deliver workshops and participate in career panels and interviews, are experts in their fields who also successfully completed a PhD and launched successful and diverse careers.

Watch the 8-minute orientation video “Getting Started: Get the most out of Aurora” and consult the guide. (Login required; opens in new tab.)



National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity
Sign up through UW–Madison's institutional membership

For:  UW-Madison master’s and doctoral students who are interested in faculty careers

The National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD) is an independent professional development, training, and mentoring community for faculty members, postdocs, and graduate students. Starting with a core curriculum, NCFDD offers insight into foundational skills such as planning each semester, developing a daily writing practice, cultivating a network of mentors and collaborators, and managing stress and rejection. Members can sign up to participate in online events including webinars, bootcamps, multi-week courses, and structured writing challenges. Plus, the NCFDD Discussion Forums offer a place to connect with others to seek or share advice. Once you sign up through UW–Madison's institutional membership, you will have access to the full range of resources, trainings, and courses available through NCFDD.

Read an overview of all NCFDD resources for graduate students, or watch the video, “Making the Most of Your NCFDD Membership: Exploring Classic and Creative New Ways to Advance Your Professional Development.” (Login required; opens in new tab.)


Keywords:DiscoverPD, Discover PD, ImaginePhD, Imagine PhD, my IDP, myIDP, IDP, Individual Development Plan, goal setting, career development, professional development, National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity   Doc ID:87590
Owner:Alissa E.Group:Graduate School
Created:2018-11-06 16:36 CDTUpdated:2021-05-25 15:50 CDT
Sites:Graduate School
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