Date of Award

2016

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in School Psychology

Specialization

School Psychology

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Margaret Rogers

Abstract

The purpose of the present study was to examine the experiences of students of color as they obtain advanced degrees in psychology. The study focuses on what students of color find supportive and unsupportive as they pursue their doctoral degrees. Twelve graduate students of color participated in the study. Qualitative methods were utilized and data obtained through semi-structured interviews were analyzed using both manifest and latent content analysis. During the interviews, the students shared the types of supports that helped facilitate their success in graduate school, the challenges and unpleasant experiences they experienced during graduate school, the types of strategies they used when faced with obstacles, and the advice they would give new students of color beginning their doctoral degrees in psychology.

The results revealed that students of color reported multiple factors that facilitated their success in graduate school such as support from faculty, mentors, upper level students within their programs, and university and campus resources. However, many of the participants reported negative experiences, such as how they do not feel included in their program. Commonly identified challenges included feeling like they are isolated or ignored and many reported experiencing stereotyping or micro-aggressions from faculty, students, and clients. In terms of strategies they used when faced with obstacles, the majority of participants stated that they relied on family and friends outside of school. In providing advice for new students of color beginning their doctoral degrees, most participants provided encouragement and advice about how to navigate graduate school as a person of color.

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