Date of Graduation

8-2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Higher Education (EdD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders

Advisor

John W. Murry, Jr.

Committee Member

Michael T. Miller

Second Committee Member

Ketevan Mamiseishvili

Keywords

business students, choice of major, information systems, selection of major, undergraduate

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine student perceptions of factors affecting the decision to select information systems as an undergraduate major. Additionally, information systems students were compared to other business students to see if significant differences existed between groups. The four factors studied included: (a) personal interest in the major, (b) student competence, (c) value and utility, and (d) external influences of other people and academic experiences.

A convenience sample was used at a public university in the Southeastern region of the United States. Two hundred junior/senior students were selected as participants. One hundred of the students were information systems students, and 100 were from other business majors. Both descriptive statistics and inferential statistics, including t-tests, were conducted to determine which factors influenced major selection and to see if statistically significant differences were observed between groups of students.

The findings suggested that the profile of an information systems student was male, Caucasian, and 20-24 years of age. Participants generally selected their major in the freshman or sophomore year of college. As suggested by several other studies, student personal interest in the subject appeared to be the most important factor. Interest was generated in large part by being good in high school math and computers and enjoyment in using computers. Those students interested in information systems recognized that the major was more than coding and programming. It was also determined that many information systems students secured information about the major from the Internet, and they did not rely heavily on parents or other people to assist them in deciding on their major. Another factor influencing information systems students to select their major was their perceived competence in the subject matter, including academic performance and level of confidence. Students opting for other majors suggested that information systems were influenced by the value and utility of an information systems degree. These participants acknowledged that the degree led to immediate jobs, career opportunities, and good salaries.

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