Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Computer Science


Computer Science


College of Engineering


Ayaan M. Kazerouni

Advisor Department

Computer Science

Advisor College

College of Engineering


As the demand for programming skills in today’s job market is rapidly increasing for disciplines outside of computing, CS courses have experienced spikes in enrollment for non-majors. Students in disciplines including art, design and biological sciences are now often required to take introductory CS courses. Previous research has shown the role of growth mindset, self-efficacy and relevance in student success within CS but such metrics are largely unknown for non-majors. In this thesis, we surveyed non-majors in CS1 at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo during the early and late weeks of the quarter to gain insights on their growth mindset, their self-efficacy and the perceived relevance of the course to their lives. In our analysis, we discovered that non-majors’ levels of growth mindset and of self-efficacy decreased throughout the duration of CS1 with additional differences by gender. However, non-majors largely found that the material covered in CS1 was highly relevant to their academic and professional careers despite being challenged by it. These findings provide important insights into the experiences of non-majors learning to code and can help better serve a more diverse population of students.