Date of Award





Master of Science

Degree Type

Master of Science


TSYS School of Computer Science

First Advisor

Lydia Ray

Second Advisor

Shamim Khan

Third Advisor

Wayne Summers


Stress is a kind of feeling we experience when we are under pressure. Stress is the word that we use when we feel that we are overloaded mentally in our thoughts and wonder whether we can cope with those placed upon us. The effects of stress are different for different people when we take their age, profession, gender and other aspects into consideration. Many studies show that stress in a learning environment impacts learning negatively. In this thesis, the role of stress on students in an introductory programming course (CS1) at CSU has been explored. Introductory programming course has a high attrition rate nationwide. A project was developed to investigate whether students feel stress during programming . This thesis also gives whether that stress is correlated with gender, prior exposure to programming, and math background. A device called Neurosky is used to perform a low-cost EEG (electroencephalogram) by using inexpensive dry sensors to record the brain wave values of the participants in two different tasks. The test results have shown that the students feel stress during programming. A basic metric is used to determine the stress levels of the participants. Later four hypotheses are proposed by observing the comparisons and tested using statistical hypothesis testing to correlate stress with the participant's gender, major, prior programming experience and with their ACT/SAT scores. The test results proved that all these hypotheses are valid with the collected data.