Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Pan-African Studies

Committee Chair

Rajack-Talley, Theresa

Author's Keywords

Black women; Higher education; Intersectionality; Graduate school; Race; Gender


African American graduate students--Kentucky; Women graduate students--Kentucky; African American women--Education (Graduate)--Kentucky


Using black feminist perspective and standpoint this study explored factors that affect black women's matriculation and retention in graduate degree programs by examining how experiences and opportunities connected to race, class, and gender inform their decision to pursue and persist through graduate education. Specifically the study sought to investigate how the outlined factors affect the decision to pursue and matriculate through a graduate degree program. Those factors include: (1) educational preparedness, aspirations, and attitudes; (2) economic opportunities and restraints; (3) family obligations and expectations; (4) networks and mentoring; (5) and perceptions of usefulness. Data was collected by way of qualitative interviews with ten black women graduate students studying in various disciplines at two universities in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Findings revealed that information from the qualitative interviews was congruent with the literature that focused specifically on black women. Race, faculty mentoring relationships, and personal expectations had the most significant impact on the participants' experiences in their respective graduate programs.