Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching & Learning


Purpose: The purpose of the study was to identify academic and sociological correlates which may determine speci f ic student populations showing tendencies to change major f ields.

Procedure: The research sample (N = 59 7) consisted of University of North Dakota students who were f i rs t - t ime, full- time students in the 1982 fall semester and who continued enrollment through or graduated by the 198 6 spring semester. These students also had an ACT composite score on record.

Selected information was obtained from the Student Profile Section of the American College Test (ACT) Assessment , the Student Information Form of the Cooperative Institutional Research Program, and the Student Record System of the University of North Dakota. Change of major was defined as a change between two academic majors characterized by changes in major codes on the Student Record System. For those students who were undecided upon initial enrollment, the change from "undecided" to the first academic major declared was not considered a change of major.

Conclusions: 1. Students who were undecided upon initial enrollment changed majors significantly fewer times than students who were decided. 2. There were no significant rela tionships between change of major frequency and students' sel f -professed indications of sureness of major and occupational choice s , need for a s s i s tanc e in deciding educational and vocat ional plans, and chance of changing major field and career choic e s . 3. Students from smaller graduating c la s s e s or with lower high school grade point averages made significantly more changes of majors than students from larger graduating c la s s e s or those with higher grade point averages. However, the size of the graduating c la s s e s and the grade point averages explained minimal variance in change of major frequency. 4 . No signif icant relationships were found between change of major frequency and parental levels of education, previous work experience, vocat ional coursework studied, high school academic rank, and ACT composite score. 5. Students with more frequent major changes had significantly lower cumulative grade point averages and earned le s s credit hours than students changing le s s frequently. However, change of major frequency explained minimal variance in cumulative grade point averages and credit hours earned.