Date of Award

Fall 11-15-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Robyne Elder

Second Advisor

Dr. Joseph Alsobrook

Third Advisor

Dr. Sherrie Wisdom


Declining enrollments, rising costs and increasing student debt have caused college administrators, potential students, and outside stakeholders to focus on certain student outcomes, including retention and timely degree completion. Colleges and universities are not only collecting data in these two areas, they are searching for strategies, which might have a positive effect. Research has provided a variety of factors, which contribute to retention and timely degree completion. High-impact practices, such as service learning, student faculty research and internships featured several characteristics that may contribute to retention and timely degree completion. Internships offer several advantages, such as preparation for future careers and skill development. The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to compare undergraduate students who completed internships and those not completing internships to corresponding retention and graduation rates. The quantitative research analyzed the impact of internship participation on retention and timely degree completion. The research question provided insight into the perceptions of internship participants and the connection between their internship experience and retention and timely degree completion. The statistical analysis found that internship participants are more likely to stay at the institution and to complete their degree. However, the analysis did not prove that internship participation influenced four, five, or six-year graduation rates. The survey of internship participants revealed that students do not view their internship experience as a reason for remaining enrolled at the university or for graduating in four years. Further recommendations for college and university administrators, as well as additional research, were made in regards to internship programs.


Copyright 2019