Innovative Higher Education

, Volume 43, Issue 4, pp 237–255 | Cite as

STEM Doctoral Completion of Underrepresented Minority Students: Challenges and Opportunities for Improving Participation in the Doctoral Workforce

  • Hironao Okahana
  • Carrie Klein
  • Jeff Allum
  • Robert Sowell


This article is a result of the analysis of student-level enrollment records from twenty-one research universities in the United States, and it contributes to a more robust understanding of timely completion of STEM doctorates by underrepresented minority students. Using multivariate logit regression models, findings indicated that Hispanic/Latino and students from other underrepresented groups complete at higher rates than do their Black/African American counterparts. Findings also indicated that prior master’s degrees and institutional participation in doctoral completion programs positively correlate with STEM doctoral completion. We conclude by offering insights and recommendations for graduate schools about how to increase the STEM doctoral attainment rate of students from underrepresented groups.


Doctoral completion Attrition Persistence Diversity Inclusion STEM 



This article is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1138814. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation or the Council of Graduate Schools.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hironao Okahana
    • 1
  • Carrie Klein
    • 2
  • Jeff Allum
    • 3
  • Robert Sowell
    • 4
  1. 1.Council of Graduate SchoolsWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Higher Education ProgramFairfaxUSA
  3. 3.Jeff Allum & Associates, LLCKensingtonUSA
  4. 4.North Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA

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