Higher Education

, Volume 54, Issue 5, pp 723–740

“I Heard it through the Grapevine”: Doctoral Student Socialization in Chemistry and History

Original Paper


Twenty doctoral students in the disciplines of chemistry and history were interviewed to better understand the socialization processes that influence their success and how these processes differ by year in the degree program and disciplinary culture. Five major themes emerged describing these socialization processes and how they facilitate or impede degree success, including Ambiguity, describing the programmatic guidelines and expectations that surrounded much of the students’ experience; Balance, pointing to the students’ need to balance graduate school responsibilities along with external relationships and demands; Independence, describing the students’ desire to find equilibrium as they transitioned to the role of independent scholar; Development, highlighting the significant cognitive, personal, and professional development that occurs in these students’ graduate experience; and Support, describing the faculty, peer, and financial support needed for the students’ success in their degree programs. Suggestions for policy, practice, and further research are discussed.


Doctoral education Graduate education Qualitative Socialization Socialization processes 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Higher EducationLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA

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