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Ec 10b is Largest Course for Third Consecutive Spring

By Jonathan G. Adler, Crimson Staff Writer

Economics 10b: “Principles of Economics” is once again the largest course in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, marking the third consecutive year it has achieved that distinction, according to data from the registrar's office.

With an enrollment totaling 558 students as of Sunday afternoon, the flagship introductory economics course remains a popular choice for undergraduates. Economics 10a: “Principles of Economics” drew 700 students last fall, even with competition from courses like Computer Science 50: “Introduction to Computer Science I.”

“I’m delighted when we have high enrollment numbers in Ec 10,” N. Gregory Mankiw, Economics professor and the course head, said. “Students understand that knowing a little bit of economics is an important basis for being a well-informed citizen.”

Government 1359: “The Road to the White House” was another popular choice this term, drawing in 467 students, up from 299 the last time it was offered. The course, offered only in presidential election years, is more than just an exercise in current events, according to course instructor and Government lecturer Carlos E. Diaz Rosillo.

“It’s not just a class about the current campaign,” Diaz Rosillo said. “It’s a serious, rigorous class about how the political science theory applies to an actual campaign.”

Diaz Rosillo attributes some of the course’s popularity to students’ curiosity about politics, especially in an election year in which there are contested nomination battles in both the Republican and Democratic parties.

“There are a lot of people who are eager to learn about what’s going on,” Diaz Rosillo said. “My goal is to expose students to cutting edge scholarship on presidential campaigns.”

The introductory biology class Life Sciences 1b: “An Integrated Introduction to the Life Sciences: Genetics, Genomics, and Evolution” also remained popular this spring with enrollment totaling 398 students.

“As an instructor, I’m thrilled to see that there’s that much interest in biology and in particular genetics,” said Pardis C. Sabeti, one of the course heads and an associate professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology. “I do very much believe that genetics is one of those technologies that’s truly transforming and will field major breakthroughs in the years ahead.”

Rounding out the list of the semester’s most popular courses were Psychology 15: “Social Psychology” and Societies of the World 38: “Pyramid Schemes: The Archaeological History of Ancient Egypt,” a general education course.

“Obviously I’m delighted,” said Fiery A. Cushman, an associate professor and course head for Psychology 15, about the course’s popularity. “The whole point of teaching the class is that I think it’s interesting material and helpful, so I’m thrilled that more people will get exposure to it.”

Societies of the World 38, the only general education course ranking among the top five most popular courses this term, grew to 344 students from 77 last spring.

“The accessibility and the excitement of Ancient Egypt has a broad appeal, and I think the word is getting out,” Peter Der Manuelian, Societies of the World 38’s professor, said, referring to his course. “I view this as a gateway course... for those who want to stop in on the land of the pharaohs.”

Crimson staff writer Jonathan Adler can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JonathanGAdler.

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Ec 10 Remains Semester's Largest Course