Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Melissa Dark

Committee Member 1

Dennis Depew

Committee Member 2

John Springer

Committee Member 3

Baijian Yang


The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationships of social cognitive career theory factors of past performance, verbal persuasion, vicarious experience, outcome expectancy, interest, and former students’ cybersecurity research self-efficacy; and examine whether the relationships were different among gender, academic classification, and career status. This study was a descriptive study using a posttest-only design that surveyed undergraduates, graduates, and former students using Likert scales. The contributions of this study are useful for educators to adjust their classroom practices, curriculum strategies, and advisement; and are useful for students as it provides insights into developing their cybersecurity research self-efficacy and guidance towards being part of the cybersecurity workforce. The results indicate that developing students’ cybersecurity research self-efficacy, educators may want to focus their efforts on students’ successful past performances and outcome expectations. Educators need to be mindful that particular career development factors were found to be important to particular groups. Former students working a cybersecurity job provided insights on career development factors that they found important for students to use as guidance in developing their cybersecurity research self-efficacy. These factors included successful past performances, encouragements, outcome expectations, and interest.