Ph.D. Completion Gaps

Inside Higher Ed reports on new data from the Council of Graduate Schools’s Ph.D. Completion Project. It finds “significant gaps” in Ph.D. completion rates among different demographic groups. IHE’s summary:

Generally, foreign, male, and white students are more likely to earn their doctorates after 10 years than are their counterparts who are American, female or minority.

The gaps vary greatly across disciplines. For example, in engineering, life sciences, and physical sciences, men are more likely to finish their Ph.D.s within 10 years than women, but in the humanities and social sciences, women are more likely to finish.

International students are also more likely to finish than domestic students. One theory is that international students feel real pressure to finish because of their visas’ expiration dates, though one commenter notes that domestic students typically have greater access to financial resources.

The article is worth reading. Any thoughts about why these gaps exist?

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Micheal Hickerson

The former Associate Director for the Emerging Scholars Network, Micheal lives in Cincinnati with his wife and three children and works as a web manager for a national storage and organization company. He writes about work, vocation, and finding meaning in what you do at No Small Actors.

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    Stuart Heiser commented on September 9, 2008 Reply

    Thank you for your post on our new publication, but please correct the name of the initiative. It is the Ph.D. Completion Project.

    – Stuart Heiser
    Council of Graduate Schools

    Micheal Hickerson commented on September 10, 2008 Reply

    Corrected. Thank you for catching that!

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