Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Houston Thompson

Second Advisor

Dr. Bonnie Perry

Scholarship Domain(s)

Scholarship of Discovery


The number of professional doctorates offered by universities has grown rapidly since the 1990s. Research has shown that professional doctorates offer relevant doctoral education in order to meet the needs of the modern workplace. Universities must understand both the needs of the marketplace and the needs of students, and determine the best use of limited resources for recruiting, in order to offer doctoral programs that meet marketplace and students’ needs. To address these issues, this study examined the level of interest that potential doctoral students—those currently in graduate school and those holding a master’s degree—had in earning a doctoral degree. Using a large convenience sample (n=934) of potential doctoral students affiliated with several institutions, this study discovered that 20% (187) had no interest in earning a doctoral degree, while 25% (236) had a definite or very high interest in earning a doctoral degree. This study further examined the attitudes, program preferences, and motivations potential students had toward earning a doctoral degree. While program costs and financial aid were extremely important or definitely important considerations for over 90% of those with any interest in earning a doctoral degree, chi-square analyses and multiple regressions found that one’s field, age, and various other factors influenced one’s level of interest in different types of doctoral degrees. While no one or two variables hold the key to predicting who will pursue a doctoral degree, universities offering a doctoral degree in Leadership should place some resources in forming partnerships with the business community.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.