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Economics Remains Most Popular Concentration for Class of 2022

Littauer Center for Public Administration Building is home to the Economics Department, which maintained its position as the most popular undergraduate concentration this fall.
Littauer Center for Public Administration Building is home to the Economics Department, which maintained its position as the most popular undergraduate concentration this fall. By Mia B. Frothingham
By Camille G. Caldera, Crimson Staff Writer

Economics maintained its position as the most popular concentration, with 612 undergraduate concentrators at the College this fall, according to the Director of the Office of Institutional Research Karen Pearce.

Despite these numbers, the department’s total concentrators went down from previous years. The department boasted 639 total concentrators last year and roughly 660 concentrators in each of the previous three years.

“We are delighted to see strong continued interest in economics,” Jeffrey Miron, the director of undergraduate studies for Economics, wrote in an emailed statement. “We strive to make the concentration interesting and appealing, despite the large size.”

Computer Science retained its second-place position with 503 undergraduate concentrators. The department has seen consistent growth each year since 2009, when it had just 93 concentrators.

Boaz Barak, the co-director of Undergraduate Studies for Computer Science, wrote in an emailed statement that the department is not focused on the number of concentrators it has.

“Our goal is not to have as many concentrators as possible, but rather to make sure that every CS student feels supported and included, no matter what is their background and prior experience,” Barak wrote.

Government was the third most popular concentration at the College at 328 students. The number of Government concentrators has been declining for over a decade, hitting a low of 325 concentrators last year.

“Our students are very diverse in their interests, so it is difficult to summarize why they chose Gov — except to point to the wide range of interests among our faculty,” Nara Dillon, the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Government wrote in an emailed statement.

Applied Math, at 299 concentrators, and Social Studies, at 271, came in at fourth and fifth place.

The most popular concentrations for sophomores to declare fell in nearly the same order as the most popular overall concentrations, with the exception of Applied Math and Social Studies.

According to the concentration data, a plurality of sophomores chose Economics, clocking in at 193 new concentrators. Meanwhile, 156 sophomores chose Computer Science and 127 chose Government. Social Studies and Applied Mathematics clocked in as the fourth and fifth most popular concentrations, respectively.

Miron wrote that he believes students choose to concentrate in Economics because of its “interesting” and “practical” subject matter.

“I think we attract significant numbers of concentrators because economics addresses intellectually interesting issues and teaches practical tools that help students in their personal and professional lives,” he wrote.

Eight sophomores declared a concentration in Environmental Science and Engineering, the College’s newest concentration. It had five concentrators last year, the concentration's inaugural year. The concentration now has a total of 19 concentrators, according to Pearce.

Theatre, Dance, and Media — another recently added concentration — also drew eight sophomore concentrators, bringing its total to 29.

Sophomores were required to declare their concentrations by November 14.

—Staff writer Camille G. Caldera can be reached at camille.caldera@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @camille_caldera.

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