Date of Award

2021

Document Type

Thesis

Terms of Use

© 2021 Lux K. Barton. This work is freely available courtesy of the author. It may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license. For all other uses, please contact the copyright holder.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Educational Studies Department

First Advisor

Lisa Smulyan

Abstract

Despite the increasing visibility of LGBTQ identities in today's society, there is still a lack of research on how students of these identities navigate higher education. In particular, the factors that determine the choices of major of transgender college students are not well known. This study aimed to answer several questions about how transgender students select majors, including whether they select majors differently than their cisgender peers, what factors drive their decisions, and how they navigate their chosen majors. The study utilized a mixed methods approach, including the use of a survey on major choice and satisfaction with majors distributed to LGBTQ collegians (N=53) as well as a series of semistructured interviews conducted with five volunteer transgender students. Surveys were analyzed quantitatively to determine whether several surveyed variables differed between cisgender and transgender populations. Interviews were transcribed, coded, and analyzed for trends in a qualitative analysis. Findings suggest that, while transgender students often face many challenges and a general lack of support for their identities regardless of major, these students display several forms of resilience within their majors that allow them to navigate their chosen fields. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications of this research as well as suggestions for future research.

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