Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership, Research and Counseling

Document Type



The purpose of this study was to seek a greater understanding of the female doctoral student experience. In particular, the emphasis of this study is on exploring the dynamics and consequences of the advisor/advisee relationships that female doctoral students experience. This study was designed to address the role of ethnicity and gender in: (a) the selection of an advisor; (b) the quality and characteristics of the advisor/advisee relationship; (c) the impact of the advisor/advisee relationships on program satisfaction; and (d) the impact of external factors on the advisor/advisee relationship and academic experience of female doctoral students. To accomplish this goal, qualitative methods were utilized to study the advisor/advisee relationship experiences of six doctoral students. Results of this study suggest female doctoral students may become disillusioned with their progress or feel the weight of external factors bearing down on their progress. Students managing effective relationships with theirs advisors shared these feelings with their advisors. It appears open communication can make a tremendous difference in the type of advisement experience a female doctoral student shares with her advisor The participants of this study suggest graduate advisors should expect the most from female doctoral students, but refrain from exerting their values and beliefs academically, professionally, or personally upon them. These female doctoral student participants hold their advisors in high esteem and regard. All study participants seem to subscribe to the belief that advisors can make or break them. This study suggests the ultimate advisement goal these female doctoral student participants have with regard to their advisee/advisee relationship is that their advisors not break them, while they are making them or help to put them back together if they do break their spirits during the doctoral process. This study also suggests that graduate school and academic departmental administrators have a unique responsibility with regard to doctoral student advisement. Participants suggest it would be beneficial to have a systematic opportunity for doctoral students to acquire an appropriate advisor. These experiences though singularly unique are collectively powerful in providing an increased understanding of the shared essence of female doctoral students existing within academia today.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Eugene Kennedy



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Education Commons