Shifting Gears: Characteristics and Consequences of Latent Class Transitions in Doctoral Socialization

Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Research in Higher Education




Springer Netherlands

Publication Date


Award Number

NSF, Division of Graduate Education (DGE) 1760894


NSF, Division of Graduate Education (DGE)

First Page


Last Page



Using a national sample of 336 biology Ph.D. students, this study classified students based on their interactions with faculty and peers, and investigated longitudinal changes in their interaction classifications over 3 years. We also examined associations between students’ interaction classifications, their demographic backgrounds (e.g., gender, international student status, first-generation status, and underrepresented racial/ethnic minority status), and doctoral outcomes (e.g., sense of belonging, satisfaction with academic development, institutional commitment, and scholarly productivity). The findings revealed that three distinct subgroups existed among the current sample of biology Ph.D. students, with respect to their interactions with their faculty and peers: high interaction with faculty and peers, high interaction with peers only, and low interaction with faculty and peers. However, such patterns of doctoral students’ interactions with faculty and peers tended to, in general, be stable over time. In addition, while the differential effects of demographic variables on changes in these interaction patterns were widely founded, such changes were not substantially linked to doctoral student outcomes. Implications for research on doctoral education and socialization theory are discussed.