Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Sean Hurley


This study examines impact of study abroad on early career outcomes at a professionally-focused northeastern private college. A mixed-methods sequential research design provides a thorough inquiry into the influence of study abroad on early career outcomes at this institution. In the first, quantitative phase of the study, The National Organization of College and Employer’s (NACE) First-Destination Survey data is analyzed to assess whether a study abroad experience has an impact on career outcomes. The quantitative results compare career outcomes for 2014, 2015, and 2016 graduates who have studied abroad (n = 523) and those who did not study abroad (n = 661). The quantitative survey contains 1184 participants and represents a response rate of approximately 90% of the total graduates at the college. The second qualitative phase examines the quantitative results in order to help explain and provide insights into the outcomes. A theoretical lens of appreciative inquiry is applied as a framework for interpreting the results and informs the qualitative line of questioning.

In this project, studying abroad did not prove to significantly impact early career outcomes. Based on the NACE First Destination Survey, the higher education industry standard for capturing career placement information, graduates from this college got no quantifiable positive early career impact from studying abroad. In fact, some trends in the data even show an early negative effect from having studied abroad especially for female graduates. Further trends in the results contradict assumptions about study abroad that are held by students and international educators. However, meaningful impacts of studying abroad on graduate’s vocational clarity along with personal and professional development are revealed in the qualitative phase of the study that simply cannot be captured in the NACE survey.



Number of Pages

80 p.