Educational Administration, Department of


First Advisor

Richard Torraco

Second Advisor

Nick Pace

Third Advisor

Jiangang Xia

Date of this Version



A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of the The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Educational Studies (Educational Leadership & Higher Education), Under the supervision of Professor Richard Torraco. Lincoln, Nebraska: December, 2020

Copyright © 2020 Celeste Spier


The purpose of this study was to examine two required career courses to determine if they produced an increase in career self-efficacy and outcome expectations, and which components of the learning theory from Social Cognitive Career Theory have the strongest influence. Participants were undergraduate business students at a midsized, Midwestern university enrolled in two required career courses and a comparison group of students not yet enrolled in the courses. Students took four measures (i.e., Career Exploration and Decisional Self-Efficacy Scale, Career Search Self-Efficacy Scale, Career Expectations Survey Scale, and Career Exploration and Decision Learning Experiences Scale) at two points in time – once before the first course and once after the second course. The main purpose of the study was to examine the process by which required career courses affect career development using social cognitive career theory (SCCT) as a theorical framework. Following three two-factor ANOVAs, the courses did not have an effect on career decision self-efficacy, career search self-efficacy, or outcome expectations. Further analysis on the specific learning experiences used in the courses using multiple regression analyses were not conducted due to low reliability scores. Implications and recommendations for future practice and research are discussed.

Advisor: Richard Torraco