The effect of graduate education timing on the retention of surface warfare officers
Clark, Eric S.
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This thesis examines the effect of the timing of graduation education attainment on retention of officers within the Surface Warfare community. Navy Surface Warfare Officers (SWOs) commissioned between fiscal years 1999 and 2003 were classified as having no graduate degree, or earning their master’s prior to service, before five years of service, between five and 10 years of service, and after 10 years of service. Differential bivariate probit analysis is used to determine the effect of the timing of graduated education attainment on retention to the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth year of service as well as promotion to O-4. The findings show that SWO Department Heads who earn a master’s degree at any point within their careers are more likely to retain. Officers who earned a graduate degree before commissioning or prior to five years of commissioned service are no more likely to retain, as compared with SWOs with no graduate education, while whose who obtained graduate education after five years of service are significantly more likely to retain. In addition, the findings show that Department Heads earning a master’s degree at any point within their careers are more likely to promote to O-4, compared with those who had not earned a master’s degree. Graduate education shows to have the potential of a strategic investment in human capital that can be used by the Navy as a retention tool. Future work can address the potential selection bias associated with higher retention of those with graduate education attained after five years of commissioned service by SWOs who might be already committed to a Navy career.
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