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Doctoral student funding portfolios across and within engineering, life sciences and physical sciences

David Knight (Department of Engineering Education, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA)
Timothy Kinoshita (Department of Engineering Education, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA)
Nathan Choe (STEM Education, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA)
Maura Borrego (Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA)

Studies in Graduate and Postdoctoral Education

ISSN: 2398-4686

Article publication date: 14 May 2018

302

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to determine the extent to which graduate student funding portfolios vary across and within engineering, life sciences and physical sciences academic fields for degree recipients. “Graduate student funding portfolios” refers to the percentages of students funded by fellowships, research assistantships, teaching assistantships, personal means and other sources within an organizational unit.

Design/methodology/approach

Using data from the Survey of Earned Doctorates data set, the authors analyze doctoral students’ self-reported primary mechanisms of funding across and within academic fields varying along the Biglan taxonomy. The authors used cluster analyses and logistic regression to investigate within-field variation in funding portfolios.

Findings

The authors show significant differences in doctoral student funding portfolios across dimensions of the Biglan taxonomy characterizing academic fields. Within those fields, the authors demonstrate considerable variation in funding; institutions cluster into different “modes” of funding portfolios that do not necessarily map onto institutional type or control variables.

Originality/value

Despite tremendous investment in graduate students, there has been little research that can help characterize at the program-level how graduate students are funded, either by internal or external mechanisms. As programs continue to feel the pressures of more limited resources coupled with increasing graduate enrollment demands, investigating graduate student funding at a macro level is becoming increasingly important so programs may better understand constraints and predict shifts in resource availability.

Keywords

Citation

Knight, D., Kinoshita, T., Choe, N. and Borrego, M. (2018), "Doctoral student funding portfolios across and within engineering, life sciences and physical sciences", Studies in Graduate and Postdoctoral Education, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 75-90. https://doi.org/10.1108/SGPE-D-17-00044

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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