Educational Administration, Department of


Date of this Version



A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: Educational Administration, Under the Supervision of Professor Brent Cejda. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2014

Copyright (c) 2014 Stacy A. Dam


Numerous studies exist on the undergraduate choice process. This has led to undergraduate models being applied to the graduate selection process even though there are known differences between groups. Graduate program enrollment is increasing, yet there is little research on what factors encourage prospective students to enroll in a particular master’s or doctoral program. This study seeks to add to the graduate program choice research for student affairs master’s programs. The sample population of this quantitative study was current master’s students who are members of the professional organization NASPA region IV-West and currently enrolled in a student affairs master’s program. The survey instrument used was a modified version of Talbot, Maier, and Rushlau’s (1996) Doctoral Choice Survey, which studied the factors influencing potential student’s choice of doctoral programs in student affairs. The survey was distributed through the NASPA region IV-West graduate student LISTSERV, NASPA region IV-West Facebook page and website. There was a 28% response rate of the known population of 263. A wave analysis was completed to determine response bias and the final data was analyzed to determine which factors influenced choice of a student affairs master’s program, what sources of information were vital in the search and if there were differences between age groups, race/ethnic groups or first generation and non-first generation students in the decision making process. The results of this study were compared to the replicated survey, graduate program choice in general and with undergraduate program choice. Implications for practice and recommendations for future research are also discussed.

Advisor: Brent Cejda