Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Administration

First Advisor

Donahoo, Saran


In this study, I examined the lived experiences of 12 father doctoral students at Maywood University. The purpose of this study is to understand how the participants balance their roles as father and student. This study was influenced by identity theory and social identity theory along with the concepts identified in using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). A qualitative approach was used to gather the lived experiences of these participants. Data collection included two semi-structured, face-to-face interviews with each participant. All of the data collected were coded to develop themes essential to drawing critical conclusions that will help understand this population. The participants' understanding of their experiences as both father and student allowed for self-reflection on their use of time, finances, maintenance of relationships, mental health, coping strategies with stress as well as their future plans after they finish their terminal degree. This study offers the counterpart to research that already exists on mothers returning to graduate school, suggesting that the struggle to navigate the demands of school and family affects fathers, too. This study encourages institutions to develop support groups, practical programming, revision to dissertation timelines, and ways to develop community and care for this under-discussed population within graduate student culture.




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