One of the best kept secrets about doctoral education is the large proportion of students who are mid-career. Yet, few researchers focus on these students. Daring the Doctorate is the first major work to address the life circumstances of these mid-career doctoral students. Based on the experiences of fifteen successful graduates, the author develops perspectives and frameworks to assist those contemplating doctoral study, as well as faculty and staff advisors and even recent graduates who wonder whether only they found the road to graduation so complicated. In this thorough guide to the doctorate degree, study participants speak freely about their reasons for pursuing doctorates, as well as the financial, personal, intellectual and professional challenges they faced. Their circumstances reflect a variety of situations: single, married and partnered; some mothers and fathers; male and female; some as young as twenty-six, and others approaching their middle ages. We learn about their passion for learning, about guilt and isolation, the time pressures, the exhilaration, and key supporting roles played by family, peers, advisors, mentors, Wizards and Guardians. We come away with a profound appreciation of the courage and tenacity of these talented individuals and a better understanding of how to help others like them succeed.