Social and Natural Sciences Boom Since 1929 While Arts-Letters Fade
Proof of the trend away from the study of Arts, Letters, and Philosophy during the last 17 years was shown conclusively last week when Provost Buck released a series of statistics on the number of concentrators in each area in the years 1929, 1939 and 1946.
In the period 1929 to 1946 the percent-age of men majoring in Arts and Letters dropped 18.1 percent while Social Sciences jumped into the lead by gaining 10.9 percent and Natural Science, new in second place, added 16.8 percent. This year the total percentage distribution in the three areas are Social Science 48 percent, Natural Science 30 percent, and Arts and Letters 21 percent. One percent of the upperclassmen have not selected a field.
Breakdown of the areas into specific majors this year shows Economics leading the field with 16.9 percent, while Government comes in a close second with 14.4 percent. English is the third favorite followed by History, and Science, and Engineering, in that order, in the current year, out of the 48 fields of concentration offered by the University, History and Science, which is a single major, and Greek had only one student in each and nine majors were entirely ignored by the veteran heavy registration.
General tendencies throughout the 17 year period reveal a steady decline in the esoteric Arts and Letters culminating in the middle of the war when these studies practically disappeared. There has been a slight comeback registered in this area since the end of the war.
In the thirties, Natural Sciences saw a steady increase in importance and during the early war years approached a dominating position when degrees in Physics and Engineering were supposed to be the royal road to a service commission.
As the first normal peacetime year, 1946 has seen a heavy upswing to the Social Sciences by the undergraduate veterans, who are supposedly trying to find out what they have been fighting about. The mefearie 200 percent increase in Government majors since 1929 demonstrates the trend in this area. Natural Science, though it has seen better days during the war, has evened off to about the 1939 level.