Sex Roles

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Men Pursuing an Undergraduate Psychology Degree: What’s Masculinity Got to Do with It?

  • David Marulanda
  • H. Lorraine RadtkeEmail author
Original Article


Using discursive psychology as its theoretical and methodological framework, the present study explored male Canadian undergraduate students’ accounts of their reasons for studying psychology, their experiences of being male undergraduate psychology students, and their anticipated future careers. Ten men (19–29 years-old) who were at least in their second year of study in the psychology major program were interviewed. Contrary to survey research concluding that men who make gender-atypical vocational choices conform less to masculine norms than do men who make typical academic and career choices, our participants produced contradictory accounts. On the one hand, in talking about their experiences as psychology students in the context of the gender gap, they argued that gender does not matter. On the other hand, they showed that gender does matter in brief “boy moments” when they shared tacit gender knowledge with the interviewer and in justifying their academic paths toward futures that involved leaving psychology for a male-concentrated field. Thus, gender-does-not matter was the preferred argument when gender was an explicit topic of conversation, and the doing of gender occurred in unacknowledged ways.


University students Discourse analysis Gender Masculinity Occupational choice 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

The research project reported in this article was approved by the Conjoint Faculties Ethics Review Board of the University of Calgary.

Conflict of Interest

There is no potential conflict of interest associated with this research project.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Counselling Psychology, Werklund School of EducationUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

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