Paper Type

Master's Thesis


College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Science in Psychological Science (MSPS)



NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Susan Perez

Second Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth Brown


Nationally, approximately 40% of students drop out of college, with one third of all college freshman dropping out before they enter their second year (Hanson, 2021). Previous research (van der Zanden et al., 2018) has examined predictors of student success that range from institutional variables (e.g., policies, academic supports) to student characteristics (e.g., academic preparation, emotional well-being, motivation, self-evaluation). The primary goal of the present research was to add more insight into the variables that might affect academic success by examining differences in college students’ implicit theories of intelligence, achievement goals, academic self-concept, and academic success at two different levels of academic experience (students in STEM vs. Non-STEM majors). Two hundred and forty participants were recruited from a mid-sized public university in the Southeastern United States and completed a survey which included measures such as the Theories of Intelligence Scale for Adults, Achievement Goal Questionnaire, Academic Self-Concept Scale, and a self-report measure for academic achievement. The results revealed significant differences between STEM and non-STEM majors on the variables of academic self-concept and academic success, in that Non-STEM students reported increased academic self-concept and academic success in comparison to STEM students. No significant differences were found across gender groups. Regardless of major, performance goal orientation and academic self-concept significantly predicted academic success while mindset and mastery goal orientation did not. In addition, major acted as a significant moderator in the relationship between academic self-concept and academic success. Insights and directions for future research are discussed.

Included in

Psychology Commons