The Gritty: Grit and Non-traditional Doctoral Student Success

Ted M. Cross, Grand Canyon University, Phoenix, Arizona, USA


As higher education is changing to reach larger numbers of students via online modalities, the
issue of student attrition and other measures of student success become increasingly important.
While research has focused largely on undergraduate online students, less has been done in the
area of online non-traditional doctoral student success, particularly from the student trait
perspective. The concept of grit, passion and persistence for long-term goals, has been identified
as an important element of the successful attainment of long-term goals. As doctoral education is
a long-term goal the purpose of this study was to examine the impact of doctoral student grit
scores on student success. Success was measured by examining current student GPA and other
factors. Significant relationships were found between grit and current student GPA, grit and the
average number of hours students spent on their program of study weekly, and grit and age. The
results of this research maybe important for informing how doctoral education is structured and
how students might be better prepared for doctoral work.


Higher education, grit, doctoral education, non-traditional students, online education,
academic success, attrition

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