Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ed.D. in Education

First Advisor

Amy Wells Dolan

Second Advisor

Macey Edmondson

Third Advisor

Mandy Perryman


University of Mississippi

Relational Format



The purpose of planning this evaluation is to explore perspectives of graduate student socialization to practitioner careers in students’ fields of study. Socialization in graduate programs refers to the process by which students learn and adapt to the norms and expectations of their anticipated career fields, and the activities within programs that provide related information and practice. Higher education in the United States has been undergoing a long-term change in which full-time, tenured faculty positions are becoming increasingly rare, with many new doctoral graduates relegated to non-tenure track adjunct positions. Also of note is the growing number of doctoral students who begin their programs with no intention of pursuing academic employment, but instead choose to begin or continue practitioner careers. More doctoral graduates than ever are therefore seeking employment outside academe, which raises questions about how doctoral programs are providing adequate socialization for non-academic, practitioner careers. Using socialization as a lens through which to evaluate graduates’ preparedness for practitioner careers allows for distinctions to be made between traditional Ph.D. programs and Ed.D. programs in terms of socialization practices and graduate outcomes. Undertaking a qualitative study including faculty, students, and recent graduates of Ph.D. and Ed.D. programs will explore their perspectives on graduate student socialization and the extent to which students are being socialized as practitioners in their fields of study.



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