Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department or School

Physics and Astronomy

Committee Member

Jonathan R. Skuza, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Ernest Behringer, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Marshall Thomsen, Ph.D.


This study examines students’ expectations for and experiences within a modern physics laboratory course. The course instructor and several students were interviewed using a semi-structured protocol at the beginning (pre) and end (post) of the semester. Interviews were video-recorded, then transcribed to text. This thesis presents the results of three students’ interviews as case studies; their interview transcripts were adapted to a more narrative style for inclusion in this report. An interpretation of each student’s responses from pre- to post-interview is given, followed by conclusions which incorporate all three students’ interviews. Particular attention is paid to students’ ideas about experimenting and experiences in the laboratory course which they found valuable or meaningful.