Numbers of EECS majors rises sharply
By Marie E. V. Coppola
The percentage of students entering the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science will rise significantly in the fall for the second consecutive year, according the Registrar's current count of majors for the Class of 1993. The increase raises the possibility that the department may seek to limit future enrollment, possibly by reactivating its ban on transfer students.
Thirty-two percent (277) of the students who responded to the Registrar Offices survey last spring selected EECS, as compared to 27.3 percent last year. If the Class of 1993 continued to enroll in EECS at this rate, there will be 324 students in the department, not including the 21 transfer students who have also selected that department.
Several years ago, overenrollment in EECS was a major concern. The department said it wanted an enrollment of about 270 students a year. To lower the demand, which peaked at 380 student in 1983, the department did not accept transfer students. Additionally, the Departments of Mathematics and Physics added degree programs to draw students way from EECS, and the Committee on Admissions and Financial Aid considered (but never implemented) a policy limiting the number of MIT freshmen who could chose the field.
Yet, as enrollment in EECS dropped in the late 1980s (169 members of the Class of 1990 were in the department), concern over overenrollment wained. Last year, the department began accepting transfer students to the department again. These new enrollment figures may change that policy.
Engineering enrollment up
The School of Engineering attracted 69.1 percent of those members of the Class of 1993 who declared majors. The figure represents a small increase
from 1989 when 66.3 percent
of declared majors were in engineering.
The number of freshmen who declared majors in EECS was almost 100 more than the combined total of the second and third place departments -- mechanical engineering and aeronautics and astronautics. Mechanical engineering showed a small dip from last year, while aeronautics and astronautics experienced a slight rise in its share of the class, compared to the final numbers for the Class of 1992's majors released in October 1989.
Chemical engineering attracted 61 majors (6.3 percent), compared to 56 (6.5 percent) last year. Nuclear engineering and material science and engineering each experienced very slight decreases in their percentages of
the outgoing freshman class. The percentage of sophomores choosing civil engineering increased from 2.8 percent to 3.5 percent of the class, after a substantial 40 percent drop from 1988 to 1989.
About 21 percent of the Class of 1993 (182 students) who selected departments chose to major in the School of Science -- a moderate decrease from last year's 22.5 percent. This continues
a downward trend from 1988, when 25.2 percent of the incoming students chose the School. The Departments of Mathematics and Biology were less popular; physics, chemistry, and earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences showed an increase in enrollment.
The School of Humanities and Social Science registered an increase in its percentage of majors -- to 3.8 percent from last year's 3.2 percent. Economics showed a modest increase, while political science had a decline.
The number of students entering the School of Architecture and Planning increased to 30 from last year's 25. The Department of Cognitive Science, which is in the Whitaker College of Health Sciences, Technology, and Management, has so far attracted 7 new students, a slight decrease from last year. The Sloan School of Management drew 20 majors, down from 31 last year.
One hundred forty-eight of the 1014 outgoing freshmen have yet to choose a department. Students are not required to designate majors until the end of the sophomore year.