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Annual Reports and Individual Development Plans

Annual Reports and Individual Development Plans (IDPs) should be completed and submitted to the Main Office by the final day of the summer semester. The steps of the process are outlined below. This may take significant time, especially for students who intend to take their preliminary exams in the next fall or spring semester, so we encourage you to work on your plan throughout the summer.

The graduate student Annual Report process has several steps, which are outlined in the general guidelines document. Students taking their preliminary exams in the next fall or spring should follow the 2nd Year Annual Report Guidelines.

All students will create the following documents for their Annual Report:

  1. CV: For all years, the CV should be should be written in a style consistent with the type of position that the student plans to seek following completion of the degree.

  2. Research report (in the appropriate style for the year): All research reports should summarize research questions and accomplishments, and should set goals for research in the following year. Year-specific requirements include:

    • First year: Two pages maximum
    • Second year: See "Second Year Documents and Prelim Prep" section below
    • Third year: Five pages maximum
    • Fourth year and beyond: Five pages maximum. The report should include a timeline for completion of the degree, and an outline of the planned dissertation.
  3. Individual Development Plan (IDP)(for the appropriate year): Templates for Individual Development Plans are available on the College website at Please read through the information and instructions provided and then click on “Chemistry” in the left-hand column. There are three different forms, one for first-year, one for second-year, and one for third-year and beyond. Choose the template for your year and complete your IDP.

    As an additional professionalization resource, we recommend you visit Science Careers: myIDP. Using myIDP is not required but it does provide: Exercises to help you examine your skills, interests, and values; a list of 20 scientific career paths with a prediction of which ones best fit your skills and interests; a tool for setting strategic goals for the coming year, with optional reminders to keep you on track; and articles and resources to guide you through the process. It is free to use.

  4. For 2nd years PhD students and students taking their preliminary exams before or after the 5th/6th semester: One Pager/Specific Aims document. See the "Second Year Documents and Prelim Prep" section below for additional information.

You will also receive feedback from your advisor and/or committee members through online evaluation form/s that will completed by the faculty through the new Annual Reportal3000 system. You do not need to upload copies of the evaluation form—the system will automatically create and distribute those documents.

Please note, any student planning to take their preliminary exams during the next fall or spring semester will submit a 2nd year report, regardless of their year in the program.

Additional Documents for Those Taking Completing the 2nd Year Report

The 2nd year annual report is intended to help prepare students for their preliminary exams. After spring 2024, all students are required to complete the documents related to the 2nd year report, including students who are taking their exam before or after the 5th/6th semester.

In addition to the CV and IDP, here are several unique requirements related to the second year report:

  • One Page Specific Aims Document: 

    The purpose of Specific Aims document is to help students work towards preparing their original proposal idea early, and to get committee feedback before the formal report is written. This document will also serve as a model/tool for introducing students to the level of academic writing and ideas that the faculty will expect to see in their original proposals.

    As with the Original Proposal, you should write on a topic that 1) has not been previously investigated, 2) does not directly relate to your current research, and 3) does not rely solely on techniques you are currently learning/implementing. The idea must originate from you, rather than your advisor or a member of your committee. You should ask your advisor how unrelated the topic should be from your research, as divisions might have different expectations on that point. 

    Unlike the Original Proposal, your idea for the Specific Aims document does not need to be completely thought out, a full program does not need to be outlined and you do not need to have answers to all of the questions related to your topic.

    Committee members will read the Specific Aims document and may provide some feedback to  students prior to receiving the final Original Proposal document. There is a check box on the committee members' 2nd year annual report evaluation where the committee members will acknowledge that they have received and read this plan. It is their option to provide feedback to the student if the topic does not look suitable either due to being overly similar to the thesis research described in their 2nd year report or low significance. Providing feedback to the student is encouraged as identifying issues with topic selection after the full proposal is written is disruptive for students and committee members alike.

    The topic of this one-page document is flexible; this document does not bind a student to this topic if they deem it no longer appropriate after additional research and consultation with committee members.  

    Please review the Preliminary Exam section of the 2024 Chemistry Graduate Student Handbook for additional information about the original proposal and preliminary exam.


  • 2nd Year Research Report

    The second year research report provides the foundation for the Dissertation Research Summary, which is one of the documents required for the preliminary exam. For that reason, students should spend extra time developing their report over the summer. As with the research report for other years, the second research report should summarize research questions and accomplishments, and should set goals for research in the future.

    The second-year report should be modeled on the format of a three-page JACS Communication with the appropriate listing of citations using ACS style. The report should conclude with a brief section on future research plans.
  Please review the Dissertation Research Summary section for information about updates that will later be        made to the second year research report as part of the preliminary exam.