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Why do different people choose different university degrees? Motivation and the choice of degree.

Skatova A, Ferguson E - Front Psychol (2014)

Bottom Line: We demonstrated that medical degrees were chosen due to a mixture of Helping and Career, while engineering degrees were associated with Career and low Interest in the degree.We also demonstrated gender differences: females were high in Helping (both samples) and Interest (only in the undergraduate sample) motivation, while males scored higher in Career (only in the undergraduate sample) and Loafing (both samples).The findings can feed into both theoretical accounts of proximal motivation as well as provide help to improve degree programmes at universities and support better career advice.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Psychology, University of Nottingham Nottingham, UK ; Horizon Digital Economy Research, University of Nottingham Nottingham, UK.

ABSTRACT
Different people choose undergraduate degrees to study at university for different reasons. To date, there have been limited attempts to identify individual differences in motivation that drive undergraduate degree choice. We identified that people choose university degrees for four reasons: career concerns (Career), intrinsic interest in the subject (Interest), an opportunity to help others (Helping) and because they are looking for an easy option to get into higher education (Loafing). We investigated whether these motivations apply to the choice of undergraduate degree in two samples: (1) undergraduate (N = 989) and (2) prospective (N = 896) students. We developed the Motivations Influencing Course Choice (MICC) questionnaire to measure these motivations. Scales of Helping, Career, Loafing, and Interest showed good psychometric properties, showed validity with respect to general life goals and personality traits, and predicted actual and prospective degree choices. We demonstrated that medical degrees were chosen due to a mixture of Helping and Career, while engineering degrees were associated with Career and low Interest in the degree. The choice of arts and humanities degrees was driven by Interest and low concern about future career, accompanied with high Loafing. We also demonstrated gender differences: females were high in Helping (both samples) and Interest (only in the undergraduate sample) motivation, while males scored higher in Career (only in the undergraduate sample) and Loafing (both samples). The findings can feed into both theoretical accounts of proximal motivation as well as provide help to improve degree programmes at universities and support better career advice.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Differences in MICC motivations between genders for Sample 1. Bars represent the mean standardized scores and error bars represent the standard error of the mean. Values represent the means with standard deviations in parentheses.
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Figure 3: Differences in MICC motivations between genders for Sample 1. Bars represent the mean standardized scores and error bars represent the standard error of the mean. Values represent the means with standard deviations in parentheses.

Mentions: Gender differences in motivations to choose undergraduate degrees were consistent with those reported previously in the literature in both samples (see Figures 3, 4 for mean standardized scores, as well as mean raw scores and standard deviations): females were higher in Helping motivation [t(940) = −5.16, p < 0.0001 Sample 1, d (95% CI) = 0.34 (0.21; 0.47); t(894) = −4.410, p < 0.0001, d = 0.33 (0.18; 0.47) for Sample 2], while males were higher in Career [t(940) = 3.73, p < 0.0001, d = 0.25 (0.12; 0.38) only Sample 1]. Females in both samples assigned more importance to Interest in their degree concerns [t(940) = −4.99, p < 0.0001, d = 0.33 (0.20; 0.46) Sample 1, t(894) = −2.09, p < 0.05, d = 0.16 (0.01; 0.30) Sample 2], while choosing what to study compared to male participants. In addition, in both samples males were higher in Loafing [t(940) = 6.67, p < 0.0001, d = 0.45 (0.32; 0.58) for Sample 1, t(894) = 4.62, p < 0.0001, d = 0.34 (0.20; 0.49) for Sample 2]1.


Why do different people choose different university degrees? Motivation and the choice of degree.

Skatova A, Ferguson E - Front Psychol (2014)

Differences in MICC motivations between genders for Sample 1. Bars represent the mean standardized scores and error bars represent the standard error of the mean. Values represent the means with standard deviations in parentheses.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4230040&req=5

Figure 3: Differences in MICC motivations between genders for Sample 1. Bars represent the mean standardized scores and error bars represent the standard error of the mean. Values represent the means with standard deviations in parentheses.
Mentions: Gender differences in motivations to choose undergraduate degrees were consistent with those reported previously in the literature in both samples (see Figures 3, 4 for mean standardized scores, as well as mean raw scores and standard deviations): females were higher in Helping motivation [t(940) = −5.16, p < 0.0001 Sample 1, d (95% CI) = 0.34 (0.21; 0.47); t(894) = −4.410, p < 0.0001, d = 0.33 (0.18; 0.47) for Sample 2], while males were higher in Career [t(940) = 3.73, p < 0.0001, d = 0.25 (0.12; 0.38) only Sample 1]. Females in both samples assigned more importance to Interest in their degree concerns [t(940) = −4.99, p < 0.0001, d = 0.33 (0.20; 0.46) Sample 1, t(894) = −2.09, p < 0.05, d = 0.16 (0.01; 0.30) Sample 2], while choosing what to study compared to male participants. In addition, in both samples males were higher in Loafing [t(940) = 6.67, p < 0.0001, d = 0.45 (0.32; 0.58) for Sample 1, t(894) = 4.62, p < 0.0001, d = 0.34 (0.20; 0.49) for Sample 2]1.

Bottom Line: We demonstrated that medical degrees were chosen due to a mixture of Helping and Career, while engineering degrees were associated with Career and low Interest in the degree.We also demonstrated gender differences: females were high in Helping (both samples) and Interest (only in the undergraduate sample) motivation, while males scored higher in Career (only in the undergraduate sample) and Loafing (both samples).The findings can feed into both theoretical accounts of proximal motivation as well as provide help to improve degree programmes at universities and support better career advice.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Psychology, University of Nottingham Nottingham, UK ; Horizon Digital Economy Research, University of Nottingham Nottingham, UK.

ABSTRACT
Different people choose undergraduate degrees to study at university for different reasons. To date, there have been limited attempts to identify individual differences in motivation that drive undergraduate degree choice. We identified that people choose university degrees for four reasons: career concerns (Career), intrinsic interest in the subject (Interest), an opportunity to help others (Helping) and because they are looking for an easy option to get into higher education (Loafing). We investigated whether these motivations apply to the choice of undergraduate degree in two samples: (1) undergraduate (N = 989) and (2) prospective (N = 896) students. We developed the Motivations Influencing Course Choice (MICC) questionnaire to measure these motivations. Scales of Helping, Career, Loafing, and Interest showed good psychometric properties, showed validity with respect to general life goals and personality traits, and predicted actual and prospective degree choices. We demonstrated that medical degrees were chosen due to a mixture of Helping and Career, while engineering degrees were associated with Career and low Interest in the degree. The choice of arts and humanities degrees was driven by Interest and low concern about future career, accompanied with high Loafing. We also demonstrated gender differences: females were high in Helping (both samples) and Interest (only in the undergraduate sample) motivation, while males scored higher in Career (only in the undergraduate sample) and Loafing (both samples). The findings can feed into both theoretical accounts of proximal motivation as well as provide help to improve degree programmes at universities and support better career advice.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus