Factors relating to engineering identity

Kerry L. Meyers, Matthew W. Ohland, Alice L. Pawley, Stephen E. Silliman, Karl A. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


Engineering identity is believed to relate to educational and professional persistence. In particular, a student's sense of belonging to the engineering community is critical to that path. The primary research questions were: 1) which students self-identify as engineers?; and 2) what are the key factors that relate to self-identification? To address these research questions, a cross-sectional study of all undergraduate engineering students at a medium sized, Midwestern private university was conducted in the spring of 2009. The majority of engineering students did self-identify as engineers, with educational progression, gender and future career plans all being significant attributes. The factors that students most frequently identified as being necessary to be considered an engineer were intangible in nature and included: making competent design decisions, working with others to share ideas and accepting responsibility. Students' self-identification as engineers can be linked to a sense of belonging to the engineering college, as well as organisational recognition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-131
Number of pages13
JournalGlobal Journal of Engineering Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 9 2012


  • Engineering education
  • Engineering identity
  • Persistence
  • Professional persistence

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