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The Bachelor’s to PhD Transition: Factors Influencing PhD Completion Among Women in Chemistry and Physics
Dabney, K. P., Chakraverty, D., Hutton, A. C., Warner, K. A., Tai, R. H.

The Bachelor’s to PhD Transition: Factors Influencing PhD Completion Among Women in Chemistry and Physics

Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society. DOI: 10.1177/0270467617710852

Existing research has examined if undergraduate factors influence chemistry and physics, or physical science, doctoral degree entry and whether variables during PhD programs associate with graduation. Yet research on the transition from bachelor’s degree to doctoral degree entry (i.e., PhD entry in less than 6 months, attainment of a master’s degree prior to doctoral degree entry, or working in a science-related job for more than a year prior to doctoral degree entry) on PhD degree graduation remains scarce. Our study examines the transition from bachelor’s to doctoral degrees to see if experiences therein associate with female PhD graduation, after doctoral degree enrollment. Our logistic regression analysis, of female chemistry and physics doctorates (n = 867), indicated that attainment of a master’s degree did not change the likelihood of graduation, when compared to direct entry into physical science doctoral programs. Meanwhile working in a science-related job for a year or more is associated with a significantly lower likelihood of physical science doctoral graduation when compared to women who entered directly into PhD programs or received a master’s degree prior to enrollment.