The Invisible Student: Benefits and Challenges of Part-time Doctoral Studies


  • Peter Bates University of Windsor
  • Lori Goff Brock University



Part-time, Graduate student experience, Autoethnography, Education


This autoethnographic study explores the experiences of two part-time doctoral students as we document our journey of balancing our multiple competing roles. As we reflected and consulted the literature, we began to identify many benefits and challenges that part-time candidature brings to students, universities and employers. Through our autoethnographic analysis, considered in the context of research, we hope to shed light on the part-time doctoral student experience and raise awareness of the benefits that part-time students can bring to universities and to society.

Cette étude auto-ethnographique explore les expériences de deux étudiants au doctorat à temps partiel qui documentent leur parcours alors qu’ils tentent d’équilibrer leurs divers rôles concurrents. Au cours de réflexions personnelles et de consultation de la littérature, nous avons commencé à identifier plusieurs avantages et défis que présentent aux étudiants, aux universités et aux employeurs les études doctorales à temps partiel. Nous espérons que cette analyse auto-ethnographique, considérée dans le contexte de la recherche, mettra en lumière l’expérience d’étudiants au doctorat à temps partiel, et fera mieux connaitre les avantages qu’apportent aux universités et à la société les étudiants à temps partiel.

Author Biographies

Peter Bates, University of Windsor

Peter Bates is currently a PhD candidate in the Leadership and Policy stream of the Joint PhD program offered through Brock, Lakehead and Windsor Universities in Ontario. His research interests include artist-teachers, second career teachers, and issues around curriculum policy implementation. In those rare moments when he has time for his own art making, he likes to work with clay and encaustic.

Lori Goff, Brock University

Lori Goff is a PhD candidate in the Leadership and Policy studies stream of the Joint PhD program at Brock University.  Her research interests revolve around quality assurance policies and leadership processes that emphasize the importance of enhancing teaching and learning within Canada’s post-secondary education system.


How to Cite

Bates, P., & Goff, L. (2012). The Invisible Student: Benefits and Challenges of Part-time Doctoral Studies. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 58(3), 368–380.