Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Department or School/College

Department of Sociology

Committee Chair

Kathy J. Kuipers

Commitee Members

Daisy Rooks, Mark Cracolice


academic motivation, pharmacy education, SDT, self-determination theory


University of Montana


This study examines the relationship between academic motivation and three different educational outcomes: academic performance, commitment, and satisfaction. This research explores these relationships by focusing on pharmacy students at The University of Montana. Pharmacy students tend to be driven by relatively high levels of external motivations (e.g., motivated by money or prestige), especially when compared to other health profession students. In contrast to previous work that simply describes the motivations of students, I uncover the links between motivation and various educational outcomes. This investigation contributes to a better understanding of motivations and their impact on education, especially among the specific population being studied. Drawing upon self-determination theory, I argue that intrinsic or internal motivations will be related to positive educational outcomes, while extrinsic or external motivations will be related to negative educational outcomes. I used a survey to collect data from the entire population of pharmacy students (from first-year pre-pharmacy students through fourth-year pharmacy students) at The University of Montana during spring semester of 2013. I use ordinary least squares regression to show the direction and extent of relationships between my variables. Results show that motivation is related to the educational outcome variables included in this study, although not in all cases and not always in the predicted direction. I found that internal motivation is positively related to both overall academic commitment and academic satisfaction. Additionally, I show that external motivation is negatively related to academic satisfaction, but positively related to commitment. Finally, results indicate that neither internal nor external motivations are significantly related to academic performance. I address the implications of these findings for pharmacy students and pharmacy schools as well as suggest directions for future research on the topic.



© Copyright 2013 Michael Dustin King