Examining Doctoral Attrition: A Self-Determination Theory Approach

Mark Beck
2017 The Nebraska Educator  
Doctoral student attrition is a troubling and costly phenomenon. Alarmingly, 40-60% of doctoral students will not complete their Ph.D. Several explanations for this high and persistent attrition rate have been discussed in the extant literature, including questioning the quality, mental health, and motivation of doctoral students. However, stricter admission standards and empirical evidence provide little support that any one of these current explanations is adequate on its own. Empirical clues
more » ... wn. Empirical clues suggest that Self-Determination Theory may be useful in trying to understand the doctoral attrition phenomenon. Self-Determination Theory is presented and used as a framework to identify potential causes and barriers in the doctoral student experience that may lead to drop out. These issues are discussed and preliminary suggestions for potential strategies to rectify these issues are given.
doi:10.13014/k2jw8bsg fatcat:ijqukbe6rvgbxcajmy4udlbsxq