Institutional Factors Affecting Doctoral Degree Completion at Selected Texas Public Universities

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D)


Curriculum and Instruction

Date of Award

Summer 2015


Doctoral degree completion at American universities averages about 50% within the typically prescribed 7-10 year period. Consequently, this non-experimental descriptive study was designed to identify institutional factors that may affect doctoral degree completion positively or negatively at 10 Texas public universities. The 10 universities were the primary population sample for the study and were subdivided based on the Carnegie university classifications as very high research, high research, and doctoral tier. The study focused on the following three themes: (1) identifying high- and low-producing doctoral completion universities, (2) comparing completion rates of the doctorate in education and other fields of study, and (3) identifying prominent institutional factors that exist at high-producing doctoral universities and identifying institutional factors not present at low-producing doctoral universities.To identify positive or negative institutional factors that affect doctoral degree completion, archival data from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Accountability System were retrieved. The purpose of retrieving completion rate data was to identify high- and low-producing universities among the 10 selected universities covering 13 years. The Offices of Graduate Studies of the selected universities were invited to participate by completing the Council of Graduate School Institutional Factors Template. Responses from each university were statistically analyzed using SPSS version 22 (IBM, 2013) to identify institutional policies, practices, and procedures routinely available to students in the areas of admissions and selections, administrative processes, advising and mentoring, funding sources and funding support, and program environment. Prominent institutional factors were compared to high doctoral producing universities to describe positive institutional factors. Undistinguished factors were compared to low doctoral producing universities. The findings pinpointed several factors that may affect doctoral completion positively and identified institutional factors that were not present that may have a negative influence if not implemented as services routinely available to students.


Joyce A. Scott

Subject Categories

Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Higher Education