Program Progression and Completion among Postgraduate Students at Bishop Stuart University




Course Progression, Postgraduate Education, Academic Completion, Graduation Delay, Student Dropout


This paper was generated from findings of a survey that was done involving postgraduate students and lecturers of Bishop Stuart University to find out the status of course progression and completion among Masters and PhD students. The study sought to establish the factors impacting program progression and completion among postgraduate students at Bishop Stuart University. The data for the study was collected through online questionnaires and interviews with Masters and PhD postgraduate students that were registered between the years 2015 and 2018.

The findings indicated that the majority of students spend more than twice the amount of the minimum time allowed for the programs registered for. It was established that after the completion of the first academic year of class work, there is little follow-up on the students. As a result, most students graduate well behind schedule while others drop out. Financial constraints were mentioned by students as the main challenge causing delay in program progression and completion.

Other key challenges mentioned were the Covid-19 induced lockdown, disagreement between supervisors, personal health challenges and inaccessible or unresponsive supervisors that take a very long time to provide feedback when they are given work for review. Some students also mentioned that they were unable to access most online journals that required a subscription.

Author Biography

Richard Twebaze, Bishop Stuart University

Lecturer, Bishop Stuart University


Bishop Stuart University (2018). Post Graduate Handbook.

Brooks, R., Byford, K., & Batsleer, J. (2014). Postgraduate student retention and completion: An international comparative study. Studies in Higher Education, 39(2), 321-338.

Businge, C. (2019). Universities Student Drop out rates alarming. New Vision Newspaper. https;//

De Zoysa (2008). Factors Affecting the Completion of post Graduate degrees using Long Distance Mode. The Open University of Sri-lanka https;//

Eyangu, S., Bagire V, Kibrai, M. (2014). An Examination of the Completion Rate of Masters Programs at Makerere University Business School. Creative Education. Vol.05. No.22 (2014). Article ID:51899.

Heide S, Pante SV, Fleig A, Möltner A, Leis S, Fritz AH, Jünger J, Fischer MR.(2019). Individual and institutional influencing factors on completion rates in a medical education master's program in Germany. GMS J Med Educ. 2019 Nov 15;36(6):Doc75. doi: 10.3205/zma001283. PMID: 31844647; PMCID: PMC6905360.

Hommadai A.H (1990). Higher Education in Third World Universities. Indian Bibliographies Bureau. Delhi.

Ismail. A.G.H., (1997). A Critical Study on the factors influencing the Student dropout from the Educational Programs Offered by the open university of Colombo.

Johann Mouton, Milandré van Lill, Jan Botha, Nelius Boshoff, Astrid Valentine, Nico Cloete and Charles Sheppard (2015). A Study on The Retention, Completion And Progress

Muhammad. Z.K (2021). Factors Affecting Postgraduate Students' Research Performance: Evidence from Pakistani Universities. AWK University.

Muriisa, R.K (2015). The State of Doctoral Education in Social Sciences in Uganda: Experiences and Challenges of Doctoral Training at Mbarara University of Science and Technology 2003 – 2010. Journal of Education and Practice ISSN 2222-1735 (Paper) ISSN 2222-288X (Online) Vol.6, No.10, 2015.

National Council For Higher Education (2018). A Report on Higher Education Delivery and Institutions (2018/2019).

Olara, M.J. (2023). Makerere Lecturers Ordered to Acquire PhDs or lose jobs. The Monitor Newspaper. March 11th 2023.

Pasha-Zaidi, N., & Kemp, A. W. (2018). Factors affecting postgraduate program completion rates: A systematic review. Higher Education Research & Development, 37(2), 255-270.

Priyadarshini Muthukrishnan1*, Gurnam Kaur Sidhu 2 , Teoh Sian Hoon3 , Geethanjali Narayanan4 , Chan Yuen Fook. (2022). Key Factors Influencing Graduation on Time Among Postgraduate Students: A PLS-SEM Approach. Asian Journal of University Education (

Pugsley, L., & Davis, R. (2018). The determinants of successful postgraduate study: A review of the literature. Higher Education Research & Development, 37(2), 245-254.

Rates Of South African Postgraduate Students. A Study Commissioned By: The Department of Science and Technology.

Shaw, K., Partridge, H., & Hallam, G. (2013). Postgraduate coursework: Factors contributing to completion and non-completion. Studies in Higher Education, 38(1), 100-113.

UK Higher Education Academy. (2019). Postgraduate research experience survey 2019. Retrieved from

UNESCO (2020). Towards universal access to higher education: international trends UNESCO International Institute for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean [436] ISBN : 978-980-7175-53-1.

Yaritza, F.D.V.(2001). Departmental Factors Affecting Time-to-Degree and Completion Rates of Doctoral Students at One Land Grant Research Institution. The Journal of Higher Education. Vol.72. No.3 (May-June2001). PP 341-367. Taylor & Francis Ltd. https;//




How to Cite

Twebaze, R. (2023). Program Progression and Completion among Postgraduate Students at Bishop Stuart University. Bishop Stuart University Journal of Development, Education & Technology, 1(2), 83–100.