Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Loree Gerdes Bykerk


This study assesses the relevance, accessibility, and effectiveness of U.S. Citizenship Preparation courses, specifically in relation to student outcomes. A historical perspective of laws and practices related to immigration and naturalization lays the groundwork for a discussion of current policies and procedures which impact residents who desire to naturalize. Citizenship courses in the Omaha, Nebraska, area are evaluated to determine the extent to which they are accessible and affordable to the targeted population and how well they teach the skills and knowledge needed to complete the naturalization process. Omaha residents who were formerly enrolled in citizenship courses were interviewed for this study to determine how effectively the courses prepared them for naturalization. The majority of students found the courses very helpful and all of the students who submitted to the INS interview after taking citizenship courses became naturalized citizens. However, the majority of students did not perceive that taking the courses improved their performance on the INS interview. Questions were raised as to whether structured courses are the most efficient and effective vehicles for providing naturalization assistance. Further study is warranted to gauge the effectiveness of citizenship courses vis-a-vis alternate methods of delivery, such as community workshops or agency walk-in assistance.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Political Science and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Science University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright Kathy Krainak May, 2002