Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Agricultural Education and Studies


Agricultural Education

First Advisor

Gregory S. Miller


Agriculture is a fast-growing career field and employers are looking to universities for graduates to fill the myriad of employment opportunities that are available; therefore, recruiting students into colleges of agriculture is important to meet the growing job demand. The purpose of this research study was to determine the demographic profile of students; find out what factors influence a student’s decision to major in the field of agriculture and discover if these factors are different based on major, demographics or type of entrance into the university. The quantitative survey that was administered to all first-year students in Iowa State University’s (ISU) College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) was developed from qualitative focus groups and interviews that were conducted. A majority of students in this study were Caucasian and female, as well as being raised on a farm or in a rural area. Findings showed that influencers of a college major included parents, websites, campus visits, written correspondence from the university and personal conversations with a professor. The quality of the facilities, prestige of the department and university and campus environment are all important influencers in a student determining their major. Career factors are also important influencers for students as are personal characteristics like enjoying a challenge, being outdoors and science. Few statistically significant differences existed when comparing the factors between gender, race, place of residence or type of entrance into the university. Findings indicate that the influential factors are similar between majors, but the level of influence is different depending on the major.

Copyright Owner

Amy Margaret Powell



File Format


File Size

166 pages