Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Geological and Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Heather Petcovic, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Peter Voice, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Christopher Atchison, Ph.D.


Accommodations, geoscience, geoscience students, learning disabilities

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The purpose of this exploratory qualitative study is to better understand the lived experiences of geoscience students with learning disabilities in their geoscience classes. Students with learning disabilities bring a unique perspective while also facing unique challenges in post-secondary education. In the literature, there is limited information on what support and teaching strategies are beneficial to this population. Undergraduate and graduate geoscience students who identify as having a learning disability from colleges and universities in the United States were recruited. Six students consented to participate in the study, and each completed a semi-structured interview. Semi-structured interviews were designed to prompt students to talk about the accommodations, personal strategies, and teaching strategies that helped them to learn in their geoscience lecture, lab, and field courses. A commonly utilized accommodation was having access to the lecture slides. Reported personal strategies varied greatly among participants. A reported teaching strategy participants found useful was the use of visual examples. These findings could benefit other geoscience students with learning disabilities. Additionally, findings from this study may help inform instructors on how to design courses that are more inclusive to this population.