Date of Award





Doctor of Education

Degree Type



Counseling, Foundations & Leadership

First Advisor

Kimberly McElveen

Second Advisor

Jennifer Lovelace

Third Advisor

Kimberly Gill


The study discusses the insufficient amount of research concerning the unique barriers faced by female military spouses in the pursuit of higher education. Although the information on military veterans in education has increased exponentially over the last decade, little is known about their female spouses. By adopting a narrative analysis approach to qualitative research, the study explored the perspectives of female military spouses and the barriers they may face in pursuit of higher education. Seven female military spouses were asked to complete 30-minute to 60-minute interviews with the researcher, to consider a more personalized experience. The following three primary research questions guided this study: For female military spouses, how has the military lifestyle impacted their educational experience? What perceptions do female military spouses have on how the military lifestyle has shaped their access and retention ability in their educational program? What are the personal experiences of female military spouses, regarding the barriers or challenges of pursuing a college degree? By analyzing the personal responses used throughout the study, the researcher was able to dissect reoccurring trends and themes during data collection and analysis. The themes found through the data collection process were geographic stability, program accessibility, institutional knowledge and support, and community support and assistance. The results of this study may inform post-secondary institutions and affiliated policymakers about these students, in hopes that new indicatives may be created to assist this under-served community.