After reading yesterday’s New York Times report on increasing enrollment in the nation’s computer science programs, I pinged Ed Lazowska at the University of Washington to see what’s happening there.
“Our numbers are in fact much stronger than the national numbers,” he said via e-mail, introducing the chart below, which plots rolling enrollment in the UW’s introductory computer science course over the last four and a half years. (Incidentally, the data was compiled earlier this year at the request of Google.)
Lazowska added this perspective on the UW’s undergraduate programs:
“At the undergraduate major level, it’s a bit harder to assess, because our enrollment in our major is ‘capped’ at 160 students per year, and we have never gone under that number. In other words, we have been forced to turn away fewer students in recent years because of the decrease in demand, but we have always had far more than 160 terrific students per year who wanted access to our major.”
From the Times story:
“The number of majors and pre-majors in American computer science programs was up 6.2 percent from 2007, according to the Taulbee Survey, an annual survey conducted by the Computing Research Association following trends in student enrollment, degree production, employment and faculty salaries for computer science, computer engineering and schools of information in the United States and Canada. …
“The latest report uncovered a series of bright spots for an academic discipline that underwent a midlife crisis after the dot-com collapse beginning in 2000. After a wave of students came to the discipline during the Internet boom, there was an equivalent decline during the past eight years as the nation’s college students decided en masse that the future lay in fields like investment banking and financial engineering.”