Factors that Influence Students in Choosing Physics Programmes at University Level: the Case of Greece

  • Kalliopi MeliEmail author
  • Konstantinos Lavidas
  • Dimitrios Koliopoulos


Low enrolment in undergraduate level physics programmes has drawn the attention of the relevant disciplines, education policy-makers, and researchers worldwide. Many reports released during the previous decades attempt to identify the factors that attract young people to study science, but only few of them focus explicitly on physics. In Greece, in contrast to many other countries, physics departments are overflowing with young students. However, there are two categories of students: those for whom physics was the optimal choice of a programme (“choosers”) and those for whom physics was an alternative choice that they had to settle for. We suggest that the latter category be called “nearly-choosers,” in order to be differentiated from choosers as well as from “non-choosers,” namely those candidates that did not apply to a physics programme at all. We are interested in the factors that attract high school students to study physics and the differences (if any) between choosers and nearly-choosers. A newly formed questionnaire was distributed within a Greek physics department (University of Patras), and the students’ responses (n = 105) were analysed with exploratory factor analysis and specifically principal component analysis so as to extract broad factors. Three broad factors have arisen: school-based, career, and informal learning. The first two factors proved to be motivating for pursuing a degree in physics, while the third factor appeared to have a rather indifferent association. t tests and Pearson correlations indicated mild differentiations between choosers and nearly-choosers that pertain to school-based influences and informal learning.


Physics education Higher education Motivation Inspiring factors 



We would like to thank our colleagues from the Physics Department of University of Patras, Evagelos Vitoratos, and Ekaterini Pomoni, for assisting us with the distribution of the questionnaire, as well as our partners from HOPE Network for inspiring us to work on this research field.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Educational Sciences and Early Childhood EducationUniversity of PatrasRioGreece

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