Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

M.A. in Higher Education and Student Personnel

First Advisor

David J. Mccaffrey

Second Advisor

Amit S. Patel

Third Advisor

Erin Holmes

Abstract

Objectives: The objectives of study were to: 1) identify factors considered important by pharmaceutical sciences graduate students during the application and acceptance phases of the admission process; 2) identify differences in the evaluative criteria for the two admission phases and for international and domestic students and 3) identify differences in the evaluative criteria for the two admission phases based on prior graduate school experience. Methods: Focus groups and depth interviews were conducted exploring issues surrounding the application and selection decisions of pharmaceutical sciences graduate students. Based on the results of this qualitative work and a review of the literature, an Internet-based survey was created. An email message requesting distribution of the invitation letter and survey link was sent to graduate program coordinators, department chairs, associate deans, or school of pharmacy deans at colleges/schools of pharmacy that were reported to have a graduate program in any of the pharmaceutical science disciplines. Results: A total of 277 complete and usable responses were received. 122 (44%) were domestic students and 155 (56%) were international students. Twenty-two evaluative criteria were considered important in both the application phase and acceptance phase of the admission process. Some of the notable important evaluative criteria included “interest in program being offered”, “interest in research being conducted”, “availability of scholarship”, “amount of stipend”, “cost of living”, and “job prospects after graduation”. Overall, significant differences were found in the importance of evaluative criteria for the application phase and the acceptance phase. However, this was not the case with US graduate students; a within subject multivariate analysis of domestic students responses showed no significant differences in the evaluative criteria between application and acceptance phase. A multivariate test of significance (p=0.001) revealed that domestic and international students differed in their important evaluative criteria for both phases of the admission process. Likewise, students with prior graduate education differed in their evaluative criteria (p=0.002) from students without prior graduate education at the application phase. In addition, students with prior graduate school experience had no differences in importance of evaluative criteria between application and acceptance phase. Implications: The results suggest that graduate programs in the pharmaceutical sciences should have different strategies for the recruitment and acquisition of graduate student talent from the United States and abroad. Overall, the results of this study will assist graduate program coordinators, department chairs, and international program coordinators in the planning and execution of recruitment and acquisition programs that will cater to the needs of aspiring graduate students, regardless of background.

Concentration/Emphasis

Emphasis: Higher Education

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