UTILIZATION OF A COHORT MODEL TO INCREASE GRADUATION AND COMPLETION RATES IN DOCTORAL RESEARCH PROJECTS
Studies demonstrate that students who begin a traditional doctoral program have approximately a 50% chance of completing the program within 10 years of their start date (Ewing, Mathieson, Alexander, Leafman, 2012 ; Sowell, Zhang, Redd, & King, 2008). Inability to conclude the doctoral dissertation is a primary reason for a student failing to complete his or her course of study and graduate with a doctoral degree. In a traditional doctoral program, students often complete the majority of their coursework and invest substantial time and finances in an effort to join the ranks of the doctoral community, but fall short of completing a dissertation, thus becoming all-but-dissertation (ABD). When a student is ABD, it is a disservice to a budding scholar. Preliminary data demonstrates that the use of a cohort model, in opposition to the traditional solo-research model utilized by most doctoral programs, increases student retention, completion, and graduation rates to approximately 80%. This presentation will define and discuss a novel cohort model which has been successfully implemented in the Doctor of Health Sciences Program at A.T. Still University.