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The Pathway to a PhD: Influences, Outcomes, and the Role of Social Interactions

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Title: The Pathway to a PhD: Influences, Outcomes, and the Role of Social Interactions
Author: Nelson, Jessica
Department: Department of Integrative Biology
Program: Integrative Biology
Advisor: Jacobs, Shoshanah
Abstract: Increases in the number of doctorates entering the labour market is an indicator of personal and economic success. However, attrition and systemic inequities in who enrolls in and completes a doctorate degree are concerning. Success in doctorate studies requires social integration to improve experiences and completion rates. Doctorate programs are accessed from different pathways depending which degrees an individual completes prior to their program. No research has explored the benefits and costs of degree pathway. This thesis presents analyses of the influences and outcomes of degree pathway using the 2018 National Graduate Survey, and analyses Likert-scale survey data to learn about social influences that support doctorates in making pathway decisions. The findings from this thesis revealed inequity in degree pathway prevalence by discipline and sociodemographics, identified differences in academic and labour market outcomes by pathway, and identified social systems, such as social supports and personal circumstances that contributed to pathway.
Date: 2023-01
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