Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

Ed.D. Doctor of Education


Educational Services and Leadership


College of Education


Carol C. Thompson, Ph.D.

Committee Member 1

Trevor Smith, Ph.D.

Committee Member 2

MaryBeth Walpole, Ph.D.


Physics education, Socialization, Transfer Students


Physics students; Universities and colleges--Students--Transfer


Higher Education | Science and Mathematics Education


A host of individual and institutional sociocultural factors mediate transfer physics students' socialization experiences at 4-year transfer receiving institutions. The purpose of this study is to understand how sociocultural factors mediate transfer physics students' socialization while participating in upper-division physics coursework at a 4-year public transfer-receiving university. This study, rooted in sociocultural constructivism, aimed to shape discussion of seven transfer physics students, six regular admit physics students, and a physics course instructor's experiences connected to physics studies that emerged from qualitative data. These data included student and faculty surveys, interviews, and classroom observations. Several key findings emerged. First, a multitude of sociocultural factors mediate students' participation in classroom and co-curricular activities. Second, the instructor's deficit beliefs about transfer physics students contradict the students' expectations for success in their physics studies, the value that transfer physics students placed on participation in physics studies, and transfer physics students' interactions in physics-related educational settings. Last, the physics course instructor's pedagogy approach mediated physics students' classroom interactions and the students' critical evaluation of their own approach to problem solving, or other students' physics-related approach to problem-solving in classroom settings.