Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership


The perceptions of adult graduate students concerning barriers to the educational process and their levels of motivation for pursuing a graduate degree were investigated. The established motivational theory first expressed by Abram Maslow in 1954 was used in defining the first variable of motivation to learning when pertaining to the healthy self-actualized individual. The second variable chosen was a listing of student perceived barriers to the educational process as defined by H. G. Schulze in 1987. It was hypothesized that the higher the level of the barriers overcome per Schutze's scale, the higher the level of intrinsic motivation in the learner per Maslow ’s scale. The purpose of the study was to find a correlation between level of motivation and level of barriers to learning so that universities could better provide services to more individuals who are interested in a graduate program.

It was hypothesized that the reasons students pursued a graduate degree had no relationship to the perceived barriers which must be overcome by the same group of students.

The study also looked at relationships between the variables of individual reasons to pursue and perceived barriers to overcome and the sample’s demographic factors.

The results indicated that the general null hypothesis of the study was retained because only one correlation of the variables out of the 3 X 5 table showed a significant correlation.

The study outcome of the hypotheses based on demographic data showed only twelve significant correlations out of a possible two hundred. Therefore, the ten secondary null hypotheses based on demographic data had to be retained.

Further study in the area of intrinsic motivation would include research with a larger and more diverse population from which to draw the sample, a more defined research tool for a more defined outcome, and a method of qualitative research based on follow -up interviews. These would add to the knowledge base for universities to use in their search for better ways to assist graduate students to reach their goal.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access