Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

EdD Educational Leadership


Educational Services and Leadership


College of Education

First Advisor

Walpole, Mary Beth

Second Advisor

Coaxum, James

Third Advisor

Kerrigan, Monica


attrition, education majors, graduate enrollment, graduate student, master's student, persistence


Master of education degree--United States; College dropouts


Higher Education


Graduate student attrition is arguably one of the most significant challenges facing the higher education community, and determining why master's students attrit is an important consideration for all universities. Despite the vast research on graduate education, little is known about master's student attrition. This dissertation explored why education master's students depart from one institution and provides recommendations for future practice. Key finding of the study indicate that financial, personal, and dissatisfaction with course content were reasons that influenced education master's student attrition.

In-depth qualitative interviews with 12 former students challenged the notion that attrition is intrinsic. Participants' points of view were gathered, interpreted, and synthesized to achieve insight and knowledge into this important topic. This study utilized the Satisfaction-Retention Matrix along with well-known attrition theories, academic integration, social integration, academic and institutional attributes, and consumer behavior to create a conceptual framework to examine education master's student attrition. The key findings of this study provide a leadership perspective, ideas for future research, and suggestions that would enhance the lives of future graduate students.