Academic Pathways Study

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What is the Academic Pathways Study?

The purpose of the Academic Pathways Study (APS) was to investigate how engineering students decide on a major, make decisions along their academic journey, and then transition into the work force. This was accomplished through a series of both small sample longitudinal studies, including the Persistence of Engineering (PIE) survey, and larger sample cross-sectional studies, including the Academic Pathways of People Learning Engineering Survey (APPLES). APS was conducted under the umbrella of the Center for the Advancement of Engineering Education, an NSF funded center that ran from 2003-2010 (1022644).

Useful Links

For more information, please visit:
• APPLES Website:
• APS Website:
• Center for the Advancement of Engineering Education:

What is PIE?

The PIE (Persistence in Engineering) survey was an exploration of the learning experiences of 160 engineering undergraduates on four campuses over four years using quantitative and qualitative methods including structured interviews, ethnographic interviews and observations, and engineering design tasks. Conducted over the period of time from 2003 to 2007, the PIE survey, as part of the Center for the Advancement of Engineering Education, has provided valuable, in-depth insight into why students are drawn to engineering and what motivates them to persist through or leave the discipline of engineering.

What is APPLES?

APPLES (Academic Pathways of People Learning Engineering Survey) is a 10-minute online survey for undergraduate engineering students. APPLES was one of several modes of data collection in the Academic Pathways Study (APS), a branch of the NSF-funded Center for the Advancement of Engineering Education. The APPLE Survey was first administered in 2007 to a larger sampling of engineering students at the four campuses that had participated in the Persistence in Engineering (PIE) survey . A streamlined version of the survey ("APPLES2") was administered to over 4,200 engineering students at 21 American universities in Spring 2008. Participating campuses were selected to ensure a broad range of size, academic mission, demographic makeup, and geographic location. APPLES looked at factors of why students choose to enter the field of engineering and whether or not they choose to stay in an engineering major.

Publications from the Academic Pathways Study Data

Available in this website Library or on Zotero.

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