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Institutional Factors in Time to the Doctorate

Stricker, Lawrence J.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Chemistry, Doctoral Programs, English, Graduate Study, Institutional Characteristics, Psychology, Student Characteristics, Time


(106pp.) The aim of this study was to delineate departmental differences in the length of time that doctoral students take to receive their degrees and the institutional characteristics linked with it, being as comprehensive as possible in the institutional characteristics examined and disentangling the confounding effects of student characteristics. Variables describing graduate departments in three disciplines (Chemistry, English, and Psychology) and their parent universities were obtained from available records. In analyses of departments in each discipline, a relatively small set of institutional variables correlated with average time to the doctorate for the department, after controlling for characteristics of students in the department, and these relationships differed from discipline to discipline. The clearest and most extensive findings emerged for Psychology: the institutional variables identified primarily concerned faculty accessibility (student/faculty ratio and department size)--longer time for departments with many students per faculty member or many students. Student characteristics accounted for about half of the departmental variation in time in each discipline.

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