Department of Educational Administration


Date of this Version

Fall 11-13-2012

Document Type



Rosario, Peggy K. (2012). General Education in Health Science-focused Institutions: An Explanatory Mixed Methods Study. PhD Diss. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Education, Major: Educational Studies (Educational Leadership and Higher Education), Under the Supervision of Professor Brent Cejda. Lincoln, Nebraska: November, 2012

Copyright (c) 2012 Peggy Rosario


The purpose of this study was to describe the structure of general education curricula at baccalaureate colleges of health science in relationship to Bergquist’s Career-Based Model of curriculum. Using an explanatory sequential mixed methods approach, the model was tested by examining whether the curricula were both prescriptive and specific. First, the researcher analyzed how prescriptive the general education curricula at 38 colleges of health science were by evaluating the institutions’ catalogs and websites. In the qualitative phase, the researcher interviewed general education leaders at six of the colleges to confirm the quantitative data and obtain information about how specific the general education curricula were to healthcare.

The quantitative findings supported Bergquist’s model that colleges of health science have a prescriptive curriculum with 71% of the colleges having a core, major-dominated or mixed model with a primary component of core or major-dominated. In addition, the number of required general education credits and the proportion of required math and science credits were higher than data from most national studies for other types of colleges. The interviews confirmed that general education is strongly prescriptive and also demonstrated that some colleges have a distribution model where students take a limited number of offerings in selected categories, but that the major program requirements dictate the courses students in each major must take within the distribution categories. Implemented this way, even the distribution model was prescriptive. These findings also supported Bergquist’s model by illustrating how specific the general education course content was to healthcare.

Adviser: Brent Cejda