Abstract: The continuing losses in Information Systems (IS) enrollments over the last few years have generated a widespread concern in the IS community. Despite many speculations about what led to the downturn and what should be done to reverse it, there bas been surprisingly little research that systematically investigates this issue. This paper reports a study that applied the theory of reasoned action (TRA) to understanding undergraduate students' intentions to choose an IS major. Factors that could influence students' choices are identified from previous research and categorized according to the TRA theoretical framework. In addition, the study explored how gender affected students' intentions. Survey data were collected to test the research model. The results identified genuine interests in the IS field, job availability, the difficulty of the IS curriculum, and opinions from family and professors as important factors that affect students' intentions to choose an IS major. They also suggested that female students were discouraged socially from majoring in IS. On the basis of the findings, this paper offers several recommendations on how to improve recruiting efforts to increase IS enrollments.
Keywords: IS enrollments, Major selection, Theory of reasoned action, Gender
Download this article: JISE - Volume 18 Number 4, Page 447.pdf
Recommended Citation: Zhang, W. (2007). Why IS: Understanding Undergraduate Students' Intentions to Choose an Information Systems Major. Journal of Information Systems Education, 18(4), 447-458.