Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Cooperating University

University of Kentucky


Social Work

Committee Chair

Faul, Anna

Author's Keywords

Retention; MSSW; Attrition; Social work; MSW; Success


College dropouts--Prevention; Social work education--Kentucky--Louisville; Social workers--Training of--Kentucky--Louisville; Academic achievement--Kentucky--Louisville


This study tested a hypothetical model for predicting both graduate GPA and graduation of University of Louisville Kent School of Social Work Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW) students entering the program during the 2001-2005 school years. The preexisting characteristics of demographics, academic preparedness and culture shock along with the subjective experiences of academic stability and academic performance were studied. A hierarchical multiple regression analysis was used to determine the best predictors of final GPA. The best predictors were age, undergraduate GPA, differences between undergraduate and graduate institution size, continuity index, and the course completion ratio. A hierarchical logistic regression analysis was used to determine the best predictors of graduation with an MSSW degree. The best predictors were age, prerequisite classes, rural/metropolitan nature of hometown, continuity index, course completion ratio and full-time student status in the first semester. Potential interventions and policy changes are detailed at both entry into and during the MSSW program. There is a need for future research in subsequent years at the Kent School of Social Work and other schools of social work that offer Master's degrees.