First Advisor

Grant M. Farr

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Sociology






Portland State University. Department of Sociology -- Alumni and alumnae -- Attitudes, Portland State University. Department of Sociology -- Students -- Attitudes, College students -- Oregon -- Portland -- Attitudes



Physical Description

1 online resource (143 p.)


An examination of sociology student satisfaction levels is performed and an attempt is made to explain variations in degree program satisfaction. A comparison is made between current student and alumni regarding the coursework and experiences they feel should be offered in the undergraduate degree program in sociology at Portland State University (PSU). The study population consists of all PSU students who have obtained an undergraduate degree in sociology since the program's inception and all students currently attending PSU and majoring in sociology. The typical respondent is female (the ratio of females to males being higher for current students than for alumni) and is 39 years old. Close to half of the respondents have at least one parent with a college degree. Most current students work while attending school. Current students earn less than alumni (they are also more likely to work part-time). Around half of the alumni respondents stop their educational career with their undergraduate degree. The majority of those who continued beyond the undergraduate level do so in a field outside of sociology. Alumni are predominantly employed in white collar jobs involving computers and writing -- skills they rank as important attributes of a good department. The majority of current students are full-time seniors who transferred from another institution, and chose to attend college to gain personal knowledge and to prepare for employment. When asked about their goals, the majority of current students intend to find employment in the six months after graduation. Current students are more satisfied with the degree program than alumni respondents. Age is not related to a stronger vocational orientation. The level of financial hardship incurred by alumni to attend college is positively correlated with a vocational orientation. This was not the case for current students who show no relationship between the two variables. Degree program satisfaction is positively correlated with job satisfaction, but the relationship is weak. The more vocationally oriented students and alumni are more satisfied with the degree program. Finally, the more useful the student feels sociology is in their present job, the more satisfied they are with the program.


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