Higher Education

, Volume 54, Issue 5, pp 741–757 | Cite as

The attainment of doctoral degrees at Flemish Universities: a survival analysis

Original Paper

Abstract

This paper examines the propensity to attain a Ph.D. degree at the five largest universities in Flanders, the Dutch speaking part of Belgium. It provides insight into the rate at which junior scholars appointed at the universities involved attained their Ph.D.-degree, and the duration of the doctoral training period. Cox’s regression model was applied to statistically analyse the influence of a number of ‘demographic’ and ‘merit’ variables, and variables related to funding source and type of appointment of the junior scholarly staff. Large differences in Ph.D. durations and attainment rates were found across funding sources, research disciplines and types of appointments. The policy background and implications are discussed briefly.

Keywords

Doctoral degree Flanders Belgium Attainment rate Survival analysis Time to degree Research funding 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

Acknowledgements

The study presented in this paper was commissioned and funded by the Flemish Council for Research Policy (VRWB). The authors are grateful to K. Vercoutere and E.␣Monard (VRWB); R. Bouillon, J.H. Houben, A. Verlinden and J. Billiet (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven); M.C. van de Velde, H. Pyck, H. Page and H. Waege (Universiteit Gent); E. Spruyt (Universiteit Antwerpen); N. Rons and M. Gijsemans (Vrije Universiteit Brussel); A. De Backer (Universiteit Hasselt). The authors thank two anonymous referees for their comments on the manuscript.

References

  1. Ad Hoc Panel on Graduate Attrition Advisory Committee (1997). The path to the Ph.D.: Measuring graduate attrition in the sciences and humanities. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  2. Allison, P. D. (1995). Survival analysis using the SAS system, a practical guide. Cary, NC: SAS Institute Inc.Google Scholar
  3. Baird, L. L. (1990). Disciplines and doctorates: The relationships between program characteristics and the duration of doctoral study. Research in Higher Education, 31(4), 369–385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Booth, A. L., & Satchell, S. E. (1995). The hazards of doing a Ph.D.: an analysis of completion and withdrawal rates of British PhD students in the 1980s. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. Series A (Statistics in Society), 158(2), 297–318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bowen, W. G., Turner, S. E., & Witte, M. L. (1992). The B.A.-Ph.D. Nexus. Journal of Higher Education, 63(1), 65–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Braun, H. I., & Zwick, R. (1993). Empirical bayes analysis of families of survival curves: Applications to the analysis of degree attainment. Journal of Educational Statistics, 18(4), 285–303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Crawford, Seagram, B., Gould, J., & Pyke, S. W. (1998). An investigation of gender and other variables on time to completion of doctoral degrees. Research in Higher Education, 39(3), 319–335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Deschrijver, H., Van de Velde, M. C., Van der Beken, H., Page, H., Waege, H., De Leenheer, A., Verlinden, A., Houben, J., Billiet, J., Smedts, D., Van Den Berghe, H., & Bouillon, R. (2001). Kernelementen Doctoreren in Vlaanderen. Onderzoeksrapport. Brussel: Kabinet van de Vlaamse Minister van Onderwijs en Vorming. Depotnummer: D/2001/3241/266.Google Scholar
  9. Ehrenberg, R. G. (1992). The flow of doctorates. Journal of Economic Literature, 30(2), 830–875.Google Scholar
  10. Ehrenberg, R. G., & Mavros, P. G. (1995). Do doctoral students’ financial support patterns affect their times-to-degree and completion probabilities? The Journal of Human Resources, 30(3), 581–609.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Espenshade, Th. J., & Rodríguez, G. (1997). Completing the Ph.D.: comparative performances of U.S. and foreign students. Social Science Quarterly, 78(2), 593–605.Google Scholar
  12. European Commission (2003). Investing in Research: An action plan for Europe.Google Scholar
  13. Gillingham, L., Seneca, J. J., & Taussig, M. K. (1991). The determinants of progress to the doctoral degree. Research in Higher Education, 32(4), 449–468.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Girves, J. E., & Wemmerus, V. (1988). Developing models of graduate student degree progress. Journal of Higher Education, 59(2), 163–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hosmer, D. W., Jr., & Lemeshow, S. (1998). Applied survival analysis. Regression modeling of time to event data. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  16. Kleinbaum, D. G. (1996). Survival analysis. A self-learning text. New York: Springer Verlag Inc.Google Scholar
  17. Luwel, M. (2000). A bibliometric profile of Flemish research in natural, life and technical sciences. Scientometrics, 47(2), 281–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Moed, H. F., Visser, M. S., & en Luwel, M. (2000). Kwantitatieve analyse van het doctoreren aan de Katholieke Universiteit Leuven en de Universiteit Gent. Onderzoeksrapport. Brussel: Kabinet van de Vlaamse Minister van Onderwijs en Vorming. Depotnummer: D/2000/3241/317.Google Scholar
  19. Naldi, F., Luzi, D., Valente, A., & Vannini Parenti, I. (2004). Scientific and technological performance by gender. In H. F. Moed, W. Glänzel, & U. Schmoch (Eds.), Handbook of quantitative science and technology research. The use of publication and patent statistics in studies of S&T systems (pp. 299–314). Dordrecht (The Netherlands): Kluwer Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  20. Rent, G. S., & Anderson, B. J. (1996). Time to degree: Factors related to years in earning a doctorate. Sociological Spectrum, 16(1), 61–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Scott, F., & Anstine, J. (2002). Critical mass in the production of Ph.D.s: A multidisciplinary study. Economics of Education Review, 21, 29–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Siegfried, J. J., & Stock, W. A. (2001). So you want to earn a Ph.D. in economics? How long do you think it will take? The Journal of Human Resources, 36(2), 364–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Stricker, L. J. (1994). Institutional factors in time to the doctorate. Research in Higher Education, 35(1), 569–587.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Tuckman, H. P., Coyle, S., & Bae, Y. (1989). The lengthening of time to completion of the doctorate degree. Research in Higher Education, 30(5), 503–516.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Tuckman, H., Coyle, S., & Bae, Y. (1990). On time to the doctorate: A study of the increased time to complete doctorates in science and engineering. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  26. Van Ours, J. C., & Ridder, G. (2003). Fast track or failure: a study of the graduation and dropout rates of Ph.D. students in economics. Economics of Education Review, 22, 157–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Verlinden, A, Billiet, J., Smedts, D, Pyck, H., Page, H., & Van de Velde, M. C. (2005). Doctoreren in Vlaanderen. Research Report. Leuven/Gent (Belgium): Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and Universiteit Gent.Google Scholar
  28. Visser, M. S., & Moed, H. F. (2005). Kwantitatieve analyse van het doctoreren aan Vlaamse Universiteiten (1991–2002). Brussel, België: Onderzoeksrapport in opdracht van de Vlaamse Raad voor het Wetenschapsbeleid (VRWB).Google Scholar
  29. VRWB (Vlaamse Raad voor Wetenschapsbeleid) (2002). Perspectieven uitgestroomde wetenschappers op de arbeidsmarkt. Studiereeks 6. Brussel: Vlaamse Raad voor Wetenschapsbeleid.Google Scholar
  30. VSNU (Vereniging van Nederlandse Universiteiten) (2002). Kengetallen Universitair Onderzoek (KUOZ). Utrecht: VSNU.Google Scholar
  31. Weert de, E. (1999). Contours of the emergent knowledge society: Theoretical debate and implications for higher education research. Higher Education, 38, 49–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS)Leiden UniversityLeidenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Dutch-Flemish Accreditation Organisation (NVAO)The HagueThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations