Computer Science Enrollment Down, but Turnaround Expected
A computing research organization said that enrollments and degrees at United States-based computer science departments dropped further in 2006 and 2007.
- By Dian Schaffhauser
A computing research organization said that enrollments and degrees at United
States-based computer science departments dropped further in 2006 and 2007.
The non-profit Computing Research
Association, which is composed of academic and private industry members,
has done survey work on computer science degrees since 1974, tracking enrollment
trends among 170 Ph.D.-granting schools.
According to the CRA, after seven years of decline, the number of new CS majors
in fall 2007 was half of what it was in fall 2000 (15,958 versus 7,915). According
to a preview
report from CRA, "The sustained drop in total enrollments and student interest
in CS as a major suggests that degree production numbers will continue to drop
in the next few years."
However, the report also noted the number of new majors increased slightly in
2007, which means that the downward spiral may actually be starting to flatten.
This drastic drop in degree production among CS departments mirrors what happened
during the late 1980s. According to the report, between 1980 and 1986, undergraduate
CS production nearly quadrupled to more than 42,000 degrees. "This period was
followed by a swift decline and leveling off during the 1990s, with several
years in which the number of degrees granted hovered around 25,000," the report
stated. "During the late 1990s, CS degree production again surged to more than
57,000 in 2004."
Full results from the survey will be released in May.
Dian L. Schaffhauser is a freelance writer based in Northern California.