Interdisciplinary Doctoral Student Socialization

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International Journal of Doctoral Studies


Interdisciplinary research and education are a growing emphasis in United States institutions of higher education but relatively little is known about the doctoral students engaged in these atypical programs. The purpose of this study was to understand the socialization process of 18 students involved in a large-scale, federally funded, interdisciplinary research project focused on sustainability at one university. Using Weidman, Twale, and Stein’s framework of graduate student socialization, themes emerged related to (a) their distinctive characteristics and cultures,(b) the learning process,(c) balance,(d) uncertainty, and (d) support. Recommendations for policy and practice are included.


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Supported by National Science Foundation award EPS-0904155