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Alternatives decrease Course VI enrollment

The declining sophomore enrollment in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) has alleviated overcrowding in Course VI, according to Arthur C. Smith, last year's chairman of the faculty.

In 1983, 380 sophomores declared EECS as an intended major. Only 354 sophomore students chose Course VI last year. Expected enrollment this year is 320, Smith said.

The Committee on Educational Policy (CEP) recommended last year that enrollment in EECS be restricted unless sophomore registration decreased over the years 1984-86. CEP set benchmark enrollment levels of 350 sophomores in 1984, 310 in 1985 and 270 in 1986.

The committee also recommended that a plan to restrict the choice of Couse VI as a major for some admitted students be implemented if the benchmark levels were not met. Approximately one-quarter of an entering freshmen class would be restricted from declaring Course VI. Transfer students currently cannot enroll in EECS.

The number of declared Course VI majors exceeded the CEP's benchmark level by only four students last year, making admissions restrictions unnecessary. Smith anticipated that enrollment this year will be sufficiently small that no limitations will be applied next year.

Smith said that Course VI enrollment is "not the overriding problem it once was." He attributed part of the decline in sophmore enrollment in Course VI to alternative programs, such as the recently-created XVIII-C mathematics with computer science program and the VII-A physics with electrical engineering option.

Other alternatives for students interested in Course VI include the Department of Management Science's new information systems program and the Psychology Department's cognitive science program.

Smith also mentioned the recent slump in the computer industry as an explanation for declining Course VI enrollment.

Despite the decline in sophmore registration, total EECS enrollment is unlikely to decrease until next fall because of the large number of junior and seniors still in Course VI, according to Smith.