Why Does Interest in Government Careers Decline Among Public Affairs Graduate Students? Academic Article uri icon


  • 2015, Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. This study explores the predictors of government career preferences using a higher education socialization framework. Existing research suggests that students interest in government careers declines over the course of training in public administration graduate programs. This study investigates the extent to which characteristics of degree program, individual background, professional community, and personal community could explain this downward trend. One hundred public affairs masters degree programs were randomly selected for involvement in this study. From the programs invited, 26 programs agreed to participate, and 552 masters degree seeking students responded to a survey. While the findings confirmed that career interest in government is related to a number of factors, such as gender, work experience, interaction with professionals, and involvement in a professional association, these findings did not fully explain the declining interest among students in graduate programs in public administration. Implications of the findings are discussed.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Bright, L., & Graham, C.

citation count

  • 21

complete list of authors

  • Bright, Leonard||Graham, Cole Blease Jr

publication date

  • January 2015