Murray State Theses and Dissertations


The purpose of this study was to investigate the persistence factors of undergraduate engineering students and compare those factors at an R2 research university and a regional university. The study further investigated if these factors are different based on gender and race/ethnicity. This study used quantitative methodology to determine the significance of the differences in universities, genders, and races/ethnicities. Tinto’s (1975, 1993) student departure theory, Bean’s (1988, 2001) student departure model, Astin’s student involvement and development theory, and a study by Marra et al. (2012) provided the theoretical framework for this study. Findings from the survey sample of 52 students revealed pre-college, college, and retention persistence factors and the differences for university type, gender, and race/ethnicity. Pre-college included academic factors and college included academic support strategies, involvement, institutional climate, social, and personal factors. Co-op and internship involvement impacted persistence the most for retention strategies. University type, gender, and race/ethnicity had significant persistence factors when analyzed. The results of this study found persistence factors for engineering students extend from pre-college through college and are dependent on university type, gender, and race/ethnicity.

Year manuscript completed


Year degree awarded


Author's Keywords

academic factors, attrition, engineering, gender factors, persistence, personal factors, race/ethnicity factors, social factors, student departure model, student departure theory, student involvement and development theory, retention

Dissertation Committee Chair

Jonathan Parrent

Committee Member

Eric Batts

Committee Member

Sidney Martin

Document Type