Master of Arts in Higher Education (MAHE) Theses

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Scott Gaier

Second Advisor

Drew Moser

Third Advisor

Todd Ream


Research on undecided students is contradictory at best. Studies both support and condemn the undecided states based on factors like persistence, changing majors, and graduation rates. Given the conflicting nature of the research on undecided students and the absence of research on undecided students and first-destinations (i.e., first jobs following graduation), it is difficult to discern whether or not institutions should actively encourage students to choose an undecided status.

This study sought to combine major declaration and first-destination data to explore what, if any, relationship exists between major declaration patterns and first-destination outcomes. Quantitative descriptive analysis was used to compare various groups of students in the graduation classes of 2015-2020 at Taylor University, a small, midwestern, Christian liberal arts institution. Students were categorized by first-destination outcomes and time to graduate then further analyzed by major declaration patterns.

Outcomes indicate that students who were ever undecided during their time at Taylor secured first-destination at rates nearly identical to their declared counterparts. The undecided status had strong implications on time to graduate. Recommendations for practice are provided.