Providing Multidimensional Support to Increase Retention of Physics Majors

UCI is a leader in serving low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented students. However, the rate of retention of physics and applied physics majors remains less than 40% even as admissions have grown.

This project investigates the effects of student supports including peer mentoring and faculty advising to achieve the following goals: (1) strengthen the departmental student community, (2) help students plan for future careers and research experiences,  and (3) help students access campus resources early in their careers. Additional research questions for this mixed-methods study center upon persistence, attitudes towards science, and changes in students’ physics identity.

Our work is supported by NSF #1565073 Multidimensional Support to Increase Retention of Physics Majors, PI: Laura Tucker, Co-PIs: Di Xu, Michael Dennin, Mu-Chun Chen, Manoj Kaplinghat.