Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

PhD Higher Education Leadership, Management, Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Eunyoung Kim, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Martin Finkelstein, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Carolyn Sattin-Bajaj, Ph.D.


Foreign-born Doctoral Recipients, Doctoral Persistence, Socialization, Expectancy-value, Values, Motivation, Expectancies


Although there has been growing enrollment and doctoral degree production of foreign-born doctoral students in U.S. higher education, persistence/degree completion and time-to-degree remain a continuing problem in doctoral education in general. Despite the substantial number of studies conducted on various aspects of doctoral education, there is still a scarcity of research on exploring the doctoral process of foreign-born students. When foreign-born students are included in the samples, researchers use a theoretical framework that does not give a comprehensive understanding of doctoral experiences of foreign-born students thereby ignoring the salient differences between them and their native-born counterparts, which makes it difficult for U.S. graduate schools to respond to and identify the distinctive needs of this growing group of doctoral students. Also, the field of education has continued to experience the longest time-to-degree in American higher education, with the median duration between starting and completing graduate school from 10.7 to 12.7 years compared to 7.7 to 7.9 years in all fields including education. This study explored the factors that motivate foreign-born doctoral recipients to pursue and persist toward the completion of their doctorate in the field of education. Using expectancy-value theory and socialization theory as theoretical perspectives, particular attention was paid to how expectancies and values placed on earning a doctorate motivated foreign-born doctoral recipients to pursue their doctoral degree and the strategies they used to mitigate the costs they experienced while in the program, as well as how socialization elements may have contributed to participants’ persistence toward degree completion.