Setting Academic Goals

Created by Giselle Burns, Kian Ravaei, Xinyi(Alex) Yan

This tutorial is excerpted from the Your Research Plan workshop. Check out the Entering Research Workshops for more tips on getting started with research!


SMART is an acronym to help you remember how to set achievable goals, whether they’re academic or non-academic. Watch this short interactive video and answer the questions for an overview of SMART goals!

Breaking Down Your Goals

Breaking down your goals into concrete steps can help make them seem less overwhelming.

Try using our Google Doc template to help break down your goals into manageable tasks. Then, set realistic deadlines for each step.

Want some inspiration? Take a look at our Goal Organizer example.

WI+RE goal organizer example

Need to break down a research paper project into manageable tasks? Try using our Research Paper Planner! Just enter your paper deadline, and the planner will take care of the rest.


Related Resources

About this tutorial


Giselle Burns, Kian Ravaei, Xinyi(Alex) Yan


Janet Goins, Kelly Kistner, Doug Worsham, CIMER (Center for the Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research)

Learning Outcomes

  • List the parts of a SMART goal
  • Identify at least three personal long-term academic SMART goals
  • Recognize the benefit of breaking down large goals into manageable tasks

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