Date Approved


Date Posted


Degree Type

Campus Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department or School


Committee Member

Amy Flanagan Johnson, PhD, Chair

Committee Member

Cory Emal, PhD

Committee Member

Chiron Graves, PhD

Committee Member

Harriet Lindsay, PhD

Committee Member

Beth Kubitskey, PhD


This study investigates how students and faculty members define chemistry as well as students' views towards the discipline. Several students in General Chemistry I and II, Analytical Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, and Biochemistry labs, as well as the faculty, were interviewed using a semi-structured method. The interviews were transcribed and analyzed for emergent themes. For the students, the three main themes that emerged were their definitions, attitudes, and perceived relevance of chemistry to their lives. Analysis of the interview data revealed that an overwhelming majority of students in this study have positive attitudes towards chemistry. These students also held differing views of the relevance of the chemistry content learnt in their classes to their lives as compared to how chemistry in general impacts them. Comparison of the faculty and student interview data indicated a number of similarities as well as differences between how the two populations define and think about chemistry.