Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Agricultural and Extension Education and Extension

Document Type



The primary purpose of this study was to determine the influence of selected personal, academic, and employment characteristics on the perceived work readiness of undergraduate program completers at a research university located in the Southern Region of the United States. The target population was undergraduate program completers at research universities in the United States. The accessible population was undergraduate program completers at one selected research university (RU/VH) located in the Southern Region of the United States. The sample comprised 100% of the defined accessible population who completed a graduating student survey administered by the Office of Career Services (OCS) at the selected university.

With IRB approval, the researcher requested data be downloaded from the archived files in the OCS and transferred to a computerized recording form. Descriptive analysis, correlations, and multiple regression were conducted to meet the objectives of the study.

The findings indicated that a higher percentage of program completers were identified as Caucasian and female. Also, females tended to have a higher score of perceived WR when compared to males. The program completers perceived WR was measured by responses to six items selected from the graduating student survey. The item that was scored highest was “Working with people different from yourself.” The factor analysis showed all six variables loading into a single factor, with loadings that ranged from .876 to .776. This single factor explained 70.5% of the total variance. Students completing an internship for course credit tended to have a higher score on perceived WR than the students who did not complete an internship for course credit. Overall, program completers perceived themselves to have a moderate level of WR. The mean overall WR scale score was 3.85 on the five-point response scale.

The researcher concluded, participants had a moderate level of WR. Recommendations by the researcher included a follow up study to ascertain if WR after 3 months on the job differs from WR at the time of degree completion.

The researcher also recommends that a longitudinal study of students entering an undergraduate program be conducted each year through their program and into their first job experience.



Committee Chair

Burnett, Michael