188/4 E-Commerce Group
Institute of Software Technology and Interactive Systems
Vienna University of Technology
Favoritenstrasse 9-11/188, A-1040 Vienna, Austria

On the Motivations to Enroll in Doctoral Studies in Computer Science - A Comparison of PhD Program Models

M. Calatrava Moreno, S. Kollanus
Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Information Technology Based Higher Education and Training
Speech with CD or web proceedings
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Department Focus: 
Business Informatics
TU Focus: 
Information and Communication Technology
ISBN: 978-1-4799-0086-2
While student motivation has been intensively researched, only a few studies cover motivation at doctoral level and even less focus on doctoral education in Computer Science. In this paper we investigate the motivation of graduate students to pursue doctoral studies specifically in Computer Science. We interviewed 63 doctoral students, from two different doctoral models (traditional and structured) in Finland and Austria, on their initial reasons and experiences that led them to enroll in doctoral studies. We identified five disjoint main motivational drivers that relate with different aspects of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. Together with a measure of the strength of their initial motivation, we develop clear motivation profiles of different doctoral program models. We observed that students in structured programs were mainly driven by extrinsic motivation while participants in traditional European doctoral studies were mainly influenced by intrinsic factors. Our results give a practical overview of student motivation for the enhancement of student selection, support, and supervision processes in doctoral programs.
Abstract German: