School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy


Sherrita Y. Rogers


Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Black students, graduate school, higher education, alma mater, Predominantly White Institutions


Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the perceptions of recent Black, Historically Black Colleges and University graduates who chose to transition to a PWI for graduate school. The theory guiding this study was the self-determination theory of motivation developed by psychologists Ryan and Deci. This theory explains how intrinsic and extrinsic motivations and the fulfillment of autonomy, competence, and relatedness impacts human functioning and decisions. This theory was used to determine what motivational factors influenced Black, HBCU graduates to transition to PWIs for graduate school. The research design was a phenomenological approach exploring the perceptions of a group of Black students lived experiences within an HBCU that motivated them transition to a PWI for graduate school. The participants graduated from one of the 101 HBCUs and transitioned to a PWI for a graduate degree. The study focused on 10 Black, graduate students currently attending a PWI or recently graduate a PWI for graduate school. Semi-structured interviews, a focus group, and graduate student video of advice to undergraduate HBCU students was implemented to gain the perspectives from the HBCU graduates. Data analysis identified three major themes: institutional offerings, programmatic academic offerings, and social relationships and interactions.