Drop out from higher education: Reasons and Consequences

PhD course

Drop out from Higher Education has been a public concern for several decades, by both education authorities and institutions.

The political concern assumes that low completion and high dropout rates entail loss of time and money for the individual student, for the HE institutions, and for society. This societal loss is arguably particularly worrying in welfare state professions like teaching and nursing, where prognoses estimate a considerable future labour shortage. For the institutions, student departure represents a problem by creating planning challenges and reduced income. High departure rates may also be interpreted as an expression of student dissatisfaction. For the individual dropout, the consequences are more varied, and vary from transferring to another program or institution, or getting an interesting job to unemployment or low paid work.

  • Course content

  • Syllabus

    Total: 448 pages

    • Bean, J. (1980). Dropouts and turnover: The synthesis and test of a causal model of student attrition. Research in Higher Education, 12(2), 155-187. (33 pages)
    • Behr, Andreas; Marco Giese; Herve D. Teguim Kamdjou & Katja Theune (2020): Dropping out of university: a literature review. Review of Education Vol. 8, No. 2, June 2020, 614–652. (39 pages)
    • Braxton, John M. (2000). Conclusion: Reinvigorating Theory and Research on the Departure Puzzle. In John M. Braxton (ed.) Reworking the Student Departure Puzzle. Nashville, Tn, Vanderbilt University Press. 257-274 (18 pages)
    • Braxton, John M. (2000). Introduction; Reworking the Student Departure Puzzle. In John M. Braxton (ed.) Reworking the Student Departure Puzzle. Nashville, Tn, Vanderbilt University Press. (1-8) (8 pages)
    • Goldrick-Rab, Sara & Fabian T. Pfeffer (2009) Beyond Access: Explaining Socioeconomic Differences in College Transfer. Sociology of Education, Vol. 82 (April): 101–125. (25 pages)
    • Hällsten, Martin (2017) Is Education a Risky Investment? The Scarring Effect of University Dropout in Sweden. European Sociological Review, Vol. 33, No. 2, 169–181 (13 pages)
    • Hovdhaugen, Elisabeth (2009): Transfer and dropout: different forms of student departure in Norway, Studies in Higher Education, 34:1, 1-17. (17 pages)
    • Johnes, Geraint & Robert McNabb (2004) Never Give up on the Good Times: Student Attrition in the UK. Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, 66, 1. pp.23-47 (25 pages)
    • Kuh, George D. and Patrick G. Love (2000) A Cultural Perspective on Student Departure, in John M. Braxton (ed.) Reworking the Student Departure Puzzle. Nashville, Tn, Vanderbilt University Press. pp. 196-212 (17 pages)
    • Meyer J & Strauß S. (2019) The influence of gender composition in a field of study on students' drop‐out of higher education. European Journal of Education, 54: pp.443–456.(14 pages)
    • Reimer, David (2011) Labour market outcomes and their impact on tertiary decisions in Germany: class and gender differences, Irish Educational Studies, 30:2, pp.199-213 (15 pages)
    • Rendon, Laura J.; Romero E. Jalomo and Amaury Nora (2000): Theoretical Considerations in the Study of Minority Student Retention in Higher Education. In John M. Braxton (ed.) Reworking the Student Departure Puzzle. Nashville, Tn, Vanderbilt University Press. pp127-156 (30 pages)
    • Schnepf; Sylke V. (2017) How do Tertiary Dropouts Fare in the Labour Market? A Comparison between EU Countries. Higher Education Quarterly, Volume 71, No. 1, pp 75–96. (22 pages)
    • Spady, William G. (1970): Dropouts from Higher Education: An Interdisciplinary Review and Synthesis. Interchange. 1 (1): 64-85. (22 pages)
    • St. John, Edward P.; Alberto F. Cabrera, Amaury Nora, and Eric H. Asker (2000) Economic Influences on Persistence Reconsidered. How Can Finance Research Inform the Reconceptualization of Persistence Models? In John M. Braxton (ed.) Reworking the Student Departure Puzzle. Nashville, Tn, Vanderbilt University Press. (pp. 29-47) (19 pages)
    • Thomas, Liz (2002) Student retention in higher education: the role of institutional habitus, Journal of Education Policy, 17:4, 423-442, (20 pages)
    • Thomsen, JP. The social class gap in bachelor’s and master’s completion: university dropout in times of educational expansion. High Education(2021). (18 pages)
    • Tieben, Nicole (2020) Non‑completion, Transfer, and Dropout of Traditional and Non‑traditional Students in Germany. Research in Higher Education (2020) 61:117–141. (25 pages)
    • Tinto, Vincent (1993) “A Theory of Individual Departure from Institutions of Higher Education”, In Tinto, V. Leaving college; Rethinking the causes and cures of student attrition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. (pp. 84-137) (54 pages)
    • Yorke, Mantz & Berhard Longden (2004) Theory: a multiplicity of perspectives. In Retention and Student Success in Higher Education. Society for Research into Higher Education & Open University Press. pp.75 – 88 (14 pages)
  • Application and admission

    Registration deadline is 16.01.2022

    Applicants must have completed their master’s degree and be students in a Ph.D.-programme. Conditioned by the number of applicants in a Ph.D.-programme and the relevance of the course topics of the applicants’ educational background, Ph.D.-project and paper, other applicants may be considered. The decisions on acceptance will be taken by course responsible lecturer.

    Applications should include approximately one page about the applicants’ background, education, Ph.D.-programme, a short description of the project  and a preliminary title of the paper

  • Spring 2022

    Time: 15th, 16th and 17th of February

    Venue: Pilestredet 46 PA308

    Course participants shall prepare and present a draft paper and hand it in a week before the workshop for it to be distributed to the other participants. The paper shall be at least 8 pages. The paper is assessed and approved by course responsible professor and visiting academic contributors to the course. The paper is assessed on the basis of the stated learning outcome for the course.

  • Course certificate

    You may order a transcript of records via Studentweb (fsweb.no) if you need to document the number of ECTS credits you have acquired so far in your studies.

    You can also collect your results from higher education in Norway by using The Diploma Registry (vitnemalsportalen.no) and share them with potential employers, educational institutions and other relevant recipients.

    Read more about Diploma and transcript of records (student.oslomet.no)

  • Course coordinator

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    Other contributors

    • Dr. Emer Smyth (Economic and social research institute. Dublin, Ireland.)
    • Dr. Nicole Tieben (Universität Tübingen, Germany)
    • Senior researcher Elisabeth Hovdhaugen (Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education)
    • Professor Bente Abrahamsen (Centre for the Study of Professions)
    • Associate professor Kjersti Nesje (Bjørknes Høyskole).
    • Researcher Rachel Sweetman (Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education)
    • Associate professor Jannecke Wiers-Jenssen (Centre for the Study of Professions)
    • Post.doc. Thea B. Strømme  (Centre for the Study of Professions)
    • Professor Liz Thomas (Edge Hill University, United Kingdom).

    For administrative inquiries please contact