ERIC Number: EJ1072498
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Oct
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 37
Understanding the Graduate College Experience: Perceptual Differences by Degree Type, Point-in-Program and Disciplinary Subgroups
Hardré, Patricia L.; Hackett, Shannon M.
Learning Environments Research, v18 n3 p453-468 Oct 2015
This study investigated graduate students' perceptions of their graduate college experiences. Participants were 1704 masters and doctoral students across colleges and disciplines at a research university. They completed questionnaires reporting their perceptions of their teaching and advising faculty, academic programs, centralised services, social experiences, career preparation, self-efficacy and identity development. Results are reported for the whole group as well as for subgroups by degree type (masters, doctoral), by point-in-program towards degree (entrance, mid-point, exit) and by disciplinary clusters (hard sciences, social sciences, arts, interdisciplinary). An overall pattern in trajectory of perceptions was highest at entrance, a drop at mid-point, and some recovery at end-of-program. Three characteristics were significantly different by degree type, all higher for doctoral than masters students: satisfaction with program of study, satisfaction with academic advisor; and perceptions of professional competence and identity development. Additionally, three characteristics were significantly different by point-in-program, all lowest at midpoint: satisfaction with overall graduate experience; satisfaction with program of study; and perception of career preparation. Significant interactions were demonstrated between degree type and point-in-program for: satisfaction with academic advisor and interaction in the academic community. Significant disciplinary differences were demonstrated for all perceptual characteristics "except" satisfaction with program faculty and satisfaction with career preparation. All students reported lower levels of interaction and involvement in the academic community than for any other variable.
Descriptors: Graduate Students, Student Experience, Academic Degrees, Student Attitudes, Research Universities, Intellectual Disciplines, Satisfaction, Academic Advising, Competence, Career Development, Questionnaires
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A