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Addressing the Lack of Racial Diversity at a Graduate School of International Affairs: Perceived Barriers and Motivators to Enrollment Among Students of Color

Tyus, Hasanna (2020) Addressing the Lack of Racial Diversity at a Graduate School of International Affairs: Perceived Barriers and Motivators to Enrollment Among Students of Color. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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There is a high demand among employers for college graduates with an understanding of international knowledge, yet very few students of color (American students of color and non-White international students) neither choose global careers nor do they pursue graduate international affairs graduate programs at the same rate as White students (Belyavina & Bhandari, 2011). As a result, international affairs graduate programs lack diverse perspectives and this directly impacts the halls of government. This qualitative study explored the perceived motivators and barriers to enrollment in international affairs graduate programs among students of color at a small, private, graduate school of international affairs in Washington, DC. The purpose of this inquiry was to get a better understanding of participants’ perceptions and lived experiences that impacted their decision to pursue graduate school. Analysis of student narratives through the lens of English and Umbach’s (2016) graduate school choice model yielded six major themes. Three key findings emerged from the thematic analysis of the data: (1) the importance of cultural and social capital in the graduate school choice process, (2) the significance of racial representation in the field of international affairs and campus racial climate perceptions among perspective students of color, and (3) the need for financial assistance to cover the high cost of a graduate education. Implications for practice encourage schools of international affairs and graduate recruitment professionals within those institutions to take actions to evaluate their campus climate and adjust policies and procedures in order to improve recruitment strategies and attract students of color. There is little literature that explores diversity in U.S. international affairs graduate programs. This study contributes to the literature by adding an in-depth, qualitative examination of reasons why students of color choose to pursue graduate studies in international affairs and potential barriers to application and enrollment.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Tyus, Hasannahnt10@pitt.eduhnt10
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairGarcia, Ginaggarcia@pitt.eduggarcia0000-0002-6706-9200
Committee MemberDeAngelo, Lindadeangelo@pitt.edudeangelo
Committee MemberKearns, Kevinkkearns@pitt.edukkearns
Date: 2 September 2020
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 25 June 2020
Approval Date: 2 September 2020
Submission Date: 5 August 2020
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 117
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: graduate enrollment, graduate recruitment, international affairs, international relations, diversity, students of color
Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2020 15:55
Last Modified: 02 Sep 2020 15:55


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