Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

Ed.D. Doctor of Education


Educational Services and Leadership


College of Education


Monica Reid Kerrigan, Ed.D.

Committee Member 1

MaryBeth Walpole, Ph.D.

Committee Member 2

James Coaxum III, Ph.D.


major, narrative, persistence, retention, self-efficacy, sense of belonging


African American college students; Hispanic American college students; Academic achievement; College majors


Higher Education


The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the process of selecting a college major for African American and Latino male students and whether these decisions influenced their sense of belonging and development of self-efficacy, as it relates to persistence and retention at a four-year public institution in the northeast region of the United States. Utilizing Harper's (2012) Anti-deficit Achievement Framework, this study used a Narrative Inquiry design to highlight the stories of six African American and Latino male students and their experiences with selecting a major. I collected data/field texts from two individual virtual interviews for this narrative inquiry study. This study utilized Strayhorn's (2012) research on Sense of Belonging and Bandura's (1977) Theory of Self-Efficacy as the theoretical frameworks that helped explain the experiences of men of color with selecting a major. This study revealed that selecting a major influenced the participant's sense of belonging and the development of self-efficacy. Because both sense of belonging and self-efficacy are connected with persistence and retention, the findings of this study indicated that if these students continue to develop strong connections with faculty, staff and peers, as well as continue to do well academically, they will likely persist to the following semester, and ultimately graduate.