Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Counseling and Human Development

Degree Program

Counseling and Personnel Services, PhD

Committee Chair

Longerbeam, Susan

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Hirschy, Amy

Committee Member

Hirschy, Amy

Committee Member

Alagaraja, Meera

Committee Member

Rivers, Ishwanzya

Author's Keywords

Multiracial; sense of belonging; codeswitching; diversity; discrimination; inclusivity


Constantly feeling a lack of acceptance and getting the comment “You are too Black” or “You are too White” is a challenging, common occurrence for multiracial students, but especially those in predominantly White institutions. This is just one of the barriers that stand between multiracial students and forming a sense of belonging at a predominantly White institution. The majority of research examining sense of belonging focuses on either Black or White students, but neglect multiracial students and their experiences. This dissertation examines sense of belonging for multiracial (Black/White) students in a predominantly White institution, by interviewing 11 multiracial students at one predominantly White institution. Renn’s (2004) Ecological Theory of Mixed-Race Identity Development and Maslow’s (1954) Hierarchy of Needs are used as the theoretical framework for this study. Chronic codeswitching, multiracial bridge, multiracial students as pawns, and sense of belonging with close friends & student organizations are emergent themes in this phenomenological qualitative study on multiracial students and their sense of belonging in a predominantly White institutions.