The Transformative Nature of Doctoral Education


  • Elizabeth Contreras Dallas County College
  • Laurie Bedford Northcentral University


Doctoral education is a complex and sometimes intimidating process. However, it is also transformative. Transformational Learning Theory, developed by Mezirow in 1991, helps to explain how graduate education is transformative through embracing education in a cognizant and reflective way. By helping students connect with the school community, their professors, and their own metacognitive process, Transformational Learning Theory helps explain the evolution students go through as they progress through doctoral programs. Written as a personal reflection on the transformative experience of doctoral education, this article explores Transformational Learning Theory in a real-world, practical manner, providing helpful strategies to apply the Transformational Learning Theory to the doctoral education experience, helping doctoral students embrace their own transformation.

Author Biographies

Elizabeth Contreras, Dallas County College

Elizabeth Contreras, Ph.D. is a professor of history at Dallas County College. 

Laurie Bedford, Northcentral University

Laurie Bedford, PhD, is a professor and Dissertation Chairperson for Northcentral University. 






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