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.

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.”

Tell Me Why
  • 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%.


    A study conducted by the University of Delaware found that proposal approval rates average only 20–33%.

    And the longer your study is not approved, the higher the chance that you will not finish.

    WHEN SURVEYED AND ASKED WHY THESE DOCTORAL STUDENTS DROP OUT, THE TOP REASONS REPORTED WERE:


    • Lacking in mentoring or support

    • Feelings of aimlessness and exhaustion

    • Lack of community

    • Poor relationships with supervisors

    • The professional and psychological consequences of remaining in ABD status can be serious and debilitating


    From our experience, MOST students who have an approved proposal are on the path towards the light at the end of the tunnel and are much more likely to graduate within a year of their proposal acceptance.


    That’s why we developed the Velocity Proposal Program (VPP) and the Final Dissertation Velocity Program (DVP).


    But before we get into the VPP and the DVP, let’s look again at why nearly 50% of doctoral students do not finish their degrees.

    Plain and simple. The dissertation.

    And 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.


    We have firsthand knowledge of the countless obstacles that are put in your way that lead to the always-dreaded ABD status - All But Dissertation.

    The Velocity Proposal Program and the Final Dissertation Velocity Proposal Program were designed to help students complete their proposal within 12 weeks or finalize their study in 12 weeks.


    In this program, you get 1-on-1 research proposal help from a friendly, doctoral-qualified Research Coach who will 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
    Write up your data analysis and conclusions
    • Prepare for your oral defense!


    As you proceed through the rest of the site, we’ll share with you exactly how we help you accomplish guiding you through proposal or final dissertation approval and setting you on the right path to graduating with your doctoral degree!


    Sincerely,


    Dr. Dani Babb