Transgender Graduate Students: Considerations, Tensions, and Decisions in Choosing a Graduate Program

Abbie E. Goldberg, Nora McCormick, Em Matsuno, Haylie Virginia, Genny Beemyn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This study explored how 30 trans graduate students made decisions regarding graduate school. Specifically, it examined how the students chose their graduate program and, secondarily, how they chose their field, what led them to apply to graduate school, and their outness during the application process. In selecting a program, participants considered contextual and personal factors that encompassed commonly cited academic and pragmatic circumstances (e.g., reputation; cost) and factors salient to their gender identity, including state and university climate. Participants identified a number of tensions in choosing a program (e.g., whether to prioritize academic factors over program climate)—although some could not prioritize program climate because their field (e.g., STEM) was not LGBTQ savvy. In applying to graduate school, participants weighed the benefits of being out as trans (e.g., authenticity; finding a “good fit”) and risks (e.g., discrimination). Findings have implications for higher education administrators, career counselors, clinicians, and researchers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1549-1575
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Homosexuality
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Graduate school
  • decision-making
  • graduate student
  • higher education
  • nonbinary
  • trans
  • transgender

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Psychology(all)


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