Theoretical Framework

The research and program improvement activities in this project are based on a theoretical framework developed from the higher education literature. The four conditions that are necessary for optimal doctoral completion are proposed below.

Four Conditions Necessary for Optimal Doctoral Completion

  1. The right people apply for doctoral study.
    Applicants must be realistic about the demands of doctoral study.
  2. The right applicants are admitted as doctoral students.
    Admissions committees must properly screen applicants and, upon enrollment, orient them to the program.
  3. Students and faculty form productive working relationships.
    Faculty members and students must interact in a mutually respectful and task oriented manner.
  4. Students experience social support from fellow students.
    Students must recognize themselves as members of a community of learners facing common challenges and opportunities.

This project was made possible by a grant from the Council of Graduate Schools, with generous support from Pfizer Inc., and the Ford Foundation.