Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Higher Education

First Advisor

Franklin A. Tuitt, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Nicole Nicotera

Third Advisor

Caroline Turner

Fourth Advisor

Frédérique Chevillot


Afghan, Doctorate, Women


This study explored the experiences of seven Afghan women pursuing doctoral degrees in a variety of disciplines and programs across the United States. The guiding question for this study was: What factors influence Afghan women's journeys to and experiences in doctoral programs?

In an attempt to understand Afghan women doctoral students, I provided a historical background of Afghanistan and education in Afghanistan followed by a literature review on South Asian women, the broader category for Afghan women. Within this literature review I explored the following components: culture, gender, immigration, experiences in postsecondary education; all factors that may be influential in the journey of South Asian women in U.S. postsecondary education. Finally, a critical race feminism theoretical framework was utilized to fuse the factors affecting South Asian women in higher education and provide a theoretical guide for further research specifically investigating Afghan women in doctoral programs.

Through the use of narrative inquiry, I provided an individual and collective story of the lives of seven Afghan women in U.S. doctoral programs. From these stories, four themes emerged as influential in the lives of the participants. The four themes that emerged were faith, identity, capital, and family.

Upon a thorough investigation of the themes and multiple sub-themes, several implications and recommendations were made. The findings of the study showed that there are no formulas to understand the complexities in the lives of Afghan women doctoral students, but several intersecting identities and factors that create the journey and help the reader understand their experiences.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Bushra Aryan


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

192 p.


Higher education