Date of Award

Fall 2012

Project Type


Program or Major

Communication Sciences and Disorders

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Bryan Ness


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to explore the academic experience of student veterans who reported cognitive and psychological symptoms following their military service.

Design: Phenomenology, based on a conceptual model of self-regulated learning (SRL).

Participants: Six student veterans enrolled at a large public university who self-reported symptoms consistent with TBI/PTSD, or who were involved in combat operations, or who had an improvised explosive device (IED) detonate nearby.

Results: Despite often having service-related trauma symptoms, the participants did not report a strong connection between those symptoms and their academic performance. However, participants reported challenges with social interactions, low overall engagement in academics, and difficulty transitioning from the highly structured military environment to the low-structure post-secondary environment.

Discussion: Motivation and discipline were important factors for participants during their transition to post-secondary education. Personal attributes seem to attenuate barriers to academic achievement resulting from acquired cognitive and psychological combat trauma.