Document Type



Doctor of Education


Counselor Education

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Angela Coker


Susan Kashubeck-West

Mark Pope

Sha-Lai Williams Woodson


This qualitative study explored the lived experiences of Black female doctoral students enrolled in education doctoral program at Predominantly White Institutions (PWI). Using semi-structured interviews, the study investigated the academic career development of Black female doctoral students guided by four research questions: (a) What perceptions do Black female doctoral students have of an academic career? (b)What factors shape Black female doctoral students’ academic career perceptions during the doctoral process? (c) What are the academic career intentions of Black female doctoral students? and (d) What factors influence the development of Black female doctoral students’ academic career intentions during the doctoral process? Participants included 13 individuals who self-identified as female, of African/African Diaspora descent, and were enrolled in an education on-site/face-to-face doctoral program at a PWI. Participants reported career intentions to either pursue a full-time faculty position or an administration positions within higher education. Three themes emerged from the data: (1) Higher Education is a Tough Terrain, (2) Access Makes a Difference, and (3) Self-Efficacy: I Can Do It! The findings from the study highlight Black women’s experiences with the intersection of race and gender during their doctoral studies, their perception of the academic environment as challenging, and their self-efficacy to continue pushing forward in pursuing the professoriate despite the perceived challenges. The study offers important implications for the development of interventions and career support for Black female education doctoral students in pursuit of the professoriate.

OCLC Number