Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Mohammadi-Aragh, J Mahnas

Committee Member

Sullivan, Rani

Committee Member

Jones, Bryan A

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Engineering Education

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


James Worth Bagley College of Engineering


James Worth Bagley College of Engineering


The objective of this project is to examine the differences between Moroccan and American students with regards to the cultural influences that led them to pursue an engineering degree. Annually since 2015, a partnership between a university in Morocco and MSU allows senior engineering Moroccan students to study at MSU to obtain their graduate degree in aerospace or mechanical engineering. The roughly equal gender representation in most Moroccan cohorts prompted our research question: “How do students from Morocco and the United States describe the cultural reasons that factored into their choice to pursue an engineering degree?” This exploratory qualitative study is guided by the combined frameworks of Hofstede’s Cultural Dimension (HCD) and Expectancy-Value Theory (EVT). The influence of expectancy, family/social structure, and value are evaluated using EVT and cultural factors are evaluated through HCD. We conducted two phases of semi-structured interviews with senior and graduate Moroccan and American students. This study resulted in the modification of the EVT model to include the three constructs of Collectivism, Religion, and Power Distance Index. It also revealed how EVT’s task values manifest differently across cultures. Results indicate that cultural differences manifest primarily through the “Collectivist” mentality among Moroccans, explaining the gender participation difference between Moroccan and American engineering students.