Program Specific Effects of a Semester Abroad on the Likelihood of Pursuing a PhD

  •  Laura Urgelles    


The present paper provides an analysis of the impact of a semester abroad during university studies on a students’ likelihood of pursuing a PhD. I use a sample of 66 812 German university students and analyze the program-specific subsamples. Propensity score matching reveals that business students who go abroad during their studies have higher intentions to pursue a PhD than their non-mobile peers. The findings are robust across matching estimators. In addition, I find positive and significant effects for cultural and social studies, whereas the effects for medical and law students are insignificant. When splitting the sample at the median grade, a semester abroad has a significant positive impact on below-median grade natural sciences students’ PhD decision. In contrast, for engineering students there is a positive and significant effect of a semester abroad only for above-median performers. I build on existing findings concerning the existence of a positive correlation between mobility and the intention to pursue a PhD.

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