Understanding race in doctoral student socialization

Pamela Petrease Felder, Howard C. Stevenson, Marybeth Gasman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Qualitative data from 11 African American doctoral degree completers in the field of education are analyzed to identify how race intersects with faculty advising and mentoring, faculty behavior, and faculty diversity and the ways in which they support or hinder doctoral student socialization. Race is considered as an influence on the academic processes associated with socialization during doctoral study. Previous research highlights that racial experiences are a significant aspect of academic success and persistence for specific racial and ethnic groups. However, very little is known about race as it relates to doctoral student socialization, specifically. A racial socialization framework serves as a guide for examining the confluence of race and doctoral student socialization. This study is guided by the following questions: In what ways are racial experience engaged during the doctoral process? How does the racial experience support or hinder doctoral student socialization? In what ways does the racial experience influence doctoral student degree completion and success? The faculty-student relationship is highlighted as a key feature of understanding racial experience as it relates to the doctoral student socialization. Findings present several situations where race is considered as intellectual and identity priorities as students experience doctoral student socialization. Several strategies are presented to support students who consider race during the doctoral process in an effort to promote their academic success and degree completion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-42
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Doctoral Studies
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


  • African American doctoral students
  • Doctoral faculty and race
  • Doctoral student socialization
  • Race and doctoral process

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