Doctoral student attrition occurs across academic disciplines and presents problems for noncompleting students and the programs from which they withdraw. The following research question guided the present study, "What is the experience of doctoral attrition in counselor education?" Six late-stage doctoral noncompleters from counselor education programs participated in research interviews that were analyzed using a grounded theory approach. Results showed two distinct types of attrition. Five participants reported a negative experience of encountering barriers that acted against the internal desire of the participants to obtain the doctorate. One participant reported a positive experience of an internal change that altered the priority of continuing in doctoral study. Results of the present study have implications for prospective and current doctoral students.


Counselor Education, Doctoral Student Attrition, and Grounded Theory

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