Extended candidature and non-completion of a Ph.D. at Makerere University, Uganda
Oonyu, Joseph C.
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Although student persistence in graduate programs is widely regarded as an important topic in the literature of higher education, many such works focus on the completion of studies. This paper examines the dynamics of attrition resulting in either delayed or non-completion of doctoral studies. Administrative data of 294 Ph.D. students at Makerere University in the 2000 to 2005 enrollment cohorts were analyzed. The total elapsed time from first enrollment to submission of a final dissertation or thesis copy was taken as a measure of completion time. A multinomial logistic was applied for assessing the likelihood of completion and extended candidature, rather than withdrawal, five years after initial enrollment in doctoral studies. In the results, the estimates rates of extended candidature (48.6%) and withdrawal (36.4%) indicate a low timely completion rate of doctoral students at Makerere. The observed associations, modeled by a range of candidate, candidature, and institutional variables, including discipline area, suggest the need for establishing measures to promote progress in doctoral studies at early stages of commencement as well as throughout the course of candidature.