Why do 40% to 50% of students not finish their doctoral degree?

A study conducted by the University of Delaware found that proposal approval rates average only
20–33%. And the longer your proposal is not approved, the higher the chance that you will not finish.

Welcome to Dissertation Prep

  • Dear Doctoral Candidates,

    According to David Litalien, an education researcher who conducted a study on doctoral dropout rates, “doctoral dropout rates are high in North America: an estimated 40% to 50% of candidates never finish. Though these rates have been relatively stable over time.” We want to move you from candidate to completion - from ABD to Doctor!

    Tell Me Why

What People Are Saying About Dissertation Prep



    A study conducted by the University of Delaware found that proposal approval rates average at maximum, 33%. The longer your study is not approved, the higher the chance that you will not finish. The top reasons doctoral students report dropping out are:

    • Lacking of mentoring and support
    • Feelings of aimlessness and exhaustion

    • Lack of community

    • Poor relationships with supervisors

    • The professional and psychological consequences of remaining in ABD status

    From our experience, most students who have an approved proposal can be successful and are more likely to graduate, which is why we have created consulting and editing options, as well as Programs to help you regardless of where you are in your studies.

    The reason why nearly half of doctoral students do not graduate? Plain and simple. The dissertation. What’s arguably the largest milestone in the dissertation?
 The Dissertation Proposal. The second big hurdle? Data collection and finalizing your results.

    Our experience tells us that the problem doesn’t necessarily have to do with you.
    It’s often the structure of the doctoral education system. It's often underfunding. It's often the structure of the organization.

    If you made it to the dissertation stage, you likely have the intellect and perseverance necessary to earn a doctoral degree.

    We have been coaching dissertation students for over 50 years collectively, mostly students who are mentally blocked, exhausted, stalled, or in need of some practical guidance - someone who can see the forest for the trees and doesn't have analysis paralysis. (Yes, that's a real thing!)

    We have many programs or hourly options to get you quick help from a friendly, doctorally-qualified Research Coach who currently works with doctoral learners in the United States as a research mentor to help you:

    Refine your research topic to be laser-sharp and well-justified
 Plan a clear, logical structure that tells an engaging story from the gap in literature

    Write up a well-polished proposal that earns a “yes” from your committee!
    Help you as you work through IRB and begin to collect data.
    Assist as you write up your data analysis and conclusions.
    Prepare you for your oral defense!

    As you browse through the rest of the site, we’ll share with you exactly how we help you accomplish your goals of completing your doctoral degree. Finally - moving from Candidate to Completion!


    Dr. Dani Babb