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Introductory Economics Most Popular Spring Course for Fifth Year

Professor N. Gregory Mankiw addresses students last spring in Sanders Theater during the first lecture of Economics 10B: Principles of Economics.
Professor N. Gregory Mankiw addresses students last spring in Sanders Theater during the first lecture of Economics 10B: Principles of Economics. By Casey M. Allen
By Cecilia R. D'Arms, Crimson Staff Writer

Economics 10B: “Principles of Economics” topped the charts in undergraduate enrollment for the fifth consecutive spring semester, boasting 585 students as of Monday morning, according to the Registrar’s office of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

But enrollment in Economics 10B falls short of its fall semester counterpart, Economics 10A: “Principles of Economics,” by 42 undergraduates. Still, the introductory macroeconomics course, taught by Economics professor N. Gregory Mankiw, currently enrolls 200 more students than the next most popular course on campus.

In keeping with previous trends, Michael I. Parzen’s Statistics 104: “Introduction to Quantitative Methods for Economics” had the second largest undergraduate enrollment at 356 College students. Societies of the World 38: “Pyramid Schemes: The Archaeological History of Ancient Egypt,” was the third largest course, in terms of College enrollment, with 350 undergraduates.

Christopher L. Foote, who teaches Economics 1010b: “Intermediate Macroeconomics,” the fourth most popular course at the College with 340 undergraduates, said he wishes more people continued with economics past the flagship Ec 10.

“A lot of things we learn in Ec 1010 are really helpful to understanding economic debates today, and economic issues today,” Foote said.

Foote added that Harvard undergraduates who wish to be educated citizens of the world would do well to get an intermediate grounding in economics.

“I believe the stuff we learn in intermediate macro is incredibly important and my only regret is that we don’t have even more students in the class,” he said.

Fiery A. Cushman ’03 , the course head of Psychology 15: “Social Psychology," said the class—tied for the fifth largest College course with 338 undergraduates—is always popular because it is applicable to every person’s life.

“It’s been a popular course for decades—social psych is just a really awesome topic,” Cushman said. “For me, it’s hard to ask for an easier or more rewarding teaching assignment.”

Cushman, who has been teaching the class at Harvard since 2014, said the lecture titles alone show how applicable the course is in the lives of students.

“Stereotype and prejudice, morality, attraction in romantic relationships, willpower,” he listed. “We’re trying to understand everyday human behavior and make sense out of it. It’s hard to know what could possibly be more relevant.”

Life Sciences 1b: “An Integrated Introduction to the Life Sciences: Genetics, Genomics, and Evolution” also has 338 students enrolled.


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