The purpose of this study was to describe the lived experiences of doctoral engineering students' socialization with their advisors and colleagues. Using snowballing sampling methods, eleven students with research or teaching assistantship from three engineering programs from a large University in the Southeastern US agreed to participate. Face-to-face interviews were audio-recorded, descriptively transcribed, and analyzed using a variation of Colaizzi's method. Participants experienced difficulty adjusting to the workplace norms of the PhD program, which some did not start with clear expectations. Some participants lacked work experience before starting, but were thankful for support from more experienced doctoral students. Most participants were also frustrated by unreasonable time demands and heavy workload around deadlines. Participants were hesitant to share concerns with their advisors, fearing repercussions. Through trial and error and assistance from labmates, participants learned to work independently and become problem solvers. Participants from one rapidly changing and competitive field of engineering experienced additional stressed as they tried to keep pace with scholarly advances and publish more research. Participants' experiences corroborate some prior research about doctoral student socialization, but suggest that engineering their socialization was guided by a constellation of role models and not primarily by their advisors. Also contrary to prior research, even though most participants were international students, they did not experience significant difficulties with cultural adjustment to the US. Their cultural adjustment was aided by large number of other doctoral students from their region of the world and the fact that they had little time to venture out of their labs. Suggestions for future research are discussed.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Education and Human Performance
Education; Science Education
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Gholizadeh, Sona, "Socialization of Engineering Doctoral Students in the U.S: A Phenomenological Study" (2017). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 5659.