Core Courses Top List of Big Classes



It’s no surprise that Ec 10 tops this spring’s enrollment figures, but a historical studies Core on capitalism has ballooned to more than four times its previous size.

Ec 10, the popular name for Social Analysis 10, “Principles of Economics,” packs Sanders Theatre this semester with 736 undergraduates, despite a drop-off of more than 200 students from first semester. The course still has more than two times the number of undergraduates registered for the next largest course, Historical Study B-49, “History of American Capitalism.”

Beren Professor of Economics N. Gregory Mankiw wrote in an e-mail that he is “delighted” that so many students elected to take Ec 10.

“I wish every student would enroll in the course during his or her time at Harvard,” he added. Mankiw took over teaching responsibilities for the course in Fall 2005.

With 355 undergraduates, “History of American Capitalism,” previously History 1651, is a newcomer to the top of the list. When it was last offered in Fall 2003, only 77 undergraduates enrolled in the course, and before that, 30.

Its unprecedented popularity this semester forced Professor of History Sven Beckert and his teaching staff to relocate the course to Lowell Lecture Hall after students swarmed Sever 113 on the first day of class.

However, space is still an issue, according to Robert C. Spang III ’09.

“It took them a long time to move to a bigger location, and even in Lowell, people still have to sit in the aisles,” said Spang.

Beckert wrote in an e-mail to The Crimson that his course is “attractive” because of the importance of the topic.

“Understanding the development of the U.S. economy is of great relevance,” he wrote. “It probably also didn’t hurt that the course received high CUE ratings the last time it was offered.”

Beckert’s class holds a slim lead over Literature and Arts B-20, “Designing the American City,” which enrolls 353 undergraduates.

“I am proud of my class’ size,” said Professor in Practice of Urban Design Alex Krieger, who heads the course. “I’d like to think I’m the reason,” he joked, attributing the large enrollment size to a limited selection of Literature and Arts Core classes and the “unusual” mix of visual material and history in his class.

“Designing the American City” saw an undergraduate turnout of 313 the last time it was offered in Spring 2005.

“The subject is worthy of broad discussion, and I am proud to be reaching a broad audience,” Krieger said.

Enrollment in Life Sciences 1b, “An Integrated Introduction to the Life Sciences: Genetics, Genomics, and Evolution,” which also came in fourth place last spring with 412 undergraduates, dropped to 341 this semester.