Perceived Challenges Facing Doctoral Students and Perceptions of the Professoriate

Mohammed S Alkathiri, Myrna R Olson


Ten doctoral students in two doctoral programs at a midwestern university took part in this qualitative study.  The study was conducted using an ethnographic case study approach with multiple data collection methods that included observation, semi-structured interviews, and member checking.  Findings fell into two major categories, including: (1) perceived challenges facing doctoral students in their studies; and (2) perceptions of the professoriate (i.e., perceptions of professors’ work and roles, nature of work, and attributes for success).  The study highlighted the opportunities and issues that doctoral students perceived with respect to success in the professoriate.  The current study suggests that doctoral programs should provide students with planned opportunities to equip them with the knowledge and skills necessary for their success in the professoriate.  Recommendations for future research are offered.


Doctoral student preparation; the professoriate; success in higher education

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