Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - NLU Access

Degree Name

Psy.D. Doctor of Clinical Psychology

Academic Discipline

Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Leah Horvath, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Emese Vitalis, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

William Filstead, Ph.D.


College campuses seem to focus on meeting the needs of students who are in the 18–24 age range and are single (Mahaffey et al., 2015). With the focus being on these students, students who are mothers are an underrecognized population (Mahaffey et al., 2015). This study investigated the experiences of married mothers in graduate school. Six married mothers, who are full-time graduate school students, were interviewed. Participants were in their 20s and 30s, married for 2–13 years, and had one to three children. Their children’s ages ranged from 2 months to 9 years. Participants were enrolled in various graduate programs—Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.), and Master’s.

Various themes emerged from the participant interviews—motivation to begin graduate programs; rewards; time management; support system; and needs from graduate programs. The following research questions were answered in this study: How do married mothers in graduate school experience navigating and balancing marriage, child(ren), and graduate school? In what ways has being married been helpful and/or more challenging while in graduate school? What needs are identified by married mothers in graduate school and how do they think their campus can better serve these needs?