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Doctoral programs have faced attrition rates of approximately 50% for the past 50 years, coming at a cost to both universities and the students who walk away emptyhanded. Universities have tried to address the problem several ways, yet high attrition rates persist and in some areas are worsening.


At the same time, research is showing over the last 10-15 years that fathers are experiencing unprecedented levels of poor work-life balance as they redefine what it means to be a father today. With most fathers now considering it their responsibility to both care for their children and provide for them, the merging of traditional breadwinning responsibilities with caregiving responsibilities is leaving fathers with increased stress levels, emotional exhaustion, a sense of role-overload, and worsening health.


Becoming Dr. Dad examines how these two phenomena intersect and examines the influences affecting working fathers’ ability to earn their doctorates. Based on evidence from surveys and interviews of working fathers pursuing their doctorates, this book begins to bridge a gap between the two bodies of research regarding doctoral attrition and the evolving role of fathers and contributes to a new line of work examining steps to be taken to improve doctoral completion rates of an at-risk population.

The worst kept secret in the world must be that earning a doctorate is tough. Coursework at the highest level is hard. Research and dissertating feel isolating and impossible. Students are tasked with creating original research almost completely on their own while balancing all sorts of other academic and non-academic commitments.


But if you’ve gotten this far – getting accepted into a doctoral program and finishing some (or all) of your coursework – it’s not really a question of whether you can finish… just a question of how to make it happen as painlessly as possible.


Strategically attacking the task of finishing your coursework and/or capstone project should allow you to lower your stress level, have a greater sense of mastery of the content, and give you a better sense of balance across all aspects of life. The hope is that this eBook can serve as a small start to navigating your way through some of the most common issues that all grad students face.

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