Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Theory, Policy, and Practice

Document Type



The purpose of this qualitative study is to explore the attitudes of current female doctoral candidates who express an interest in pursuing a career in the professoriate, as well as express a desire to have children. The participants will explain how they conceptualize the intersection of academia and motherhood, by detailing how they negotiate and navigate their current status in as a graduate student and their future career and family goals. A limited amount of literature has been published that specifically explores the intersection of academia and motherhood as conceptualized specifically by female graduate students. Therefore, the intent of the literature review in this project was to explore the relevant topics that would best provide the background on the impetus of the study. The review of literature concludes by introducing Feminist Critical Policy Analysis (FCPA) as the theoretical framework for this study followed by an explanation of the tenets of FPCA and the impetus for employing it as an analysis tool in this study. The six participants in the project expressed interest in pursuing a career in the professoriate as well as a desire to start a family, among other specific criterion detailed in chapter three. The participants represented three academic clusters: (1) science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), (2) humanities and social sciences (H&SS), and (3) professional and applied sciences (Professions). Data was collected by means of one-on-one individual unstructured interviews. The participants provided rich detail about how they navigate the notion of starting a family while beginning a tenure-track position. They also detailed their feelings on the policies and structures of the academy as it relates to supporting dual-career faculty. This study has a three-stage data reduction plan described by Madison (2005) for analyzing the data: identifying codes using a coding strategy, reducing codes into themes, and creating a point of view by incorporating the theoretical perspective. Concluding the project are suggestions for applying this research to the greater higher education community.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Bourke, Brian



Included in

Education Commons