Master of Arts in Higher Education (MAHE) Theses

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Tim Herrmann

Second Advisor

Scott Gaier

Third Advisor

Todd Ream


Sexual identity development has become an increasingly important issue in higher education over the last 40 years. This has prompted an increased level of discussion concerning sexuality on university campuses. Many factors can have an impact on undergraduate students’ attitudes toward lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) persons, and multiple studies have shown that religious beliefs are one of the most important factors in shaping student attitudes toward sexual minorities. In order to examine how undergraduate students’ attitudes toward LGB persons are affected by their personal religious beliefs, a qualitative phenomenological study was conducted at a small, liberal arts, faith-based university in the Midwestern United States. This study consisted of a dozen one-on-one interviews with residence life student leaders. The results of the study examined a potential cognitive distinction between sexual activity and sexual identity, specific attributes of faith that can have an impact on attitudes toward LGB persons, and the impact of personal relationships with LGB persons on attitudes toward sexual minorities.