Achieving PhD completion rates of over 80% in under 4 years, but what about graduate outcomes?

Seminar | April 12 | 12-1 p.m. | Evans Hall, CSHE Conference Room (766/768)

 Professor Rachel Spronken-Smith, Dean of the Graduate Research School, University of Otago, NZ

 Center for Studies in Higher Education

In this presentation, which should appeal to both faculty and graduate students, I discuss recent research on both PhD completion rates and graduate outcomes for cohorts at the University of Otago – a research-intensive university in New Zealand. Regarding PhD completion rates, we calculated these for cohorts from 2000-2012 (n=2770) and survival models determined whether gender, enrollment status, age at admission, citizenship, scholarship status, and academic field, influenced completion. The study revealed very high completion rates – among the best globally, and in the presentation the reasons for these high rates will be explained. For the project involving graduate outcomes, a survey was sent to 247 doctoral graduates about 18 months after their graduation to determine their employment situation and their perceptions of attributes acquired during study, and application of these in the workplace. Of the 136 graduates who responded (55% response rate), most were in full-time employment, with about 70% in positions in higher education. The survey revealed high ratings for the development of some graduate attributes (e.g., research and written communication skills, problem-solving, independent judgement, academic rigour, and analytical skills), but there were several attributes that had not been well developed during doctoral study (e.g., teamwork skills, self-confidence, and the skills to implement change). The findings from both studies can help enhance PhD programs to improve completion rates and better foster the development of graduate attributes to best equip doctoral candidates for employment.

 All Audiences

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