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Percentage of Course X-B, XXII Majors Rise in ’07 Class

By Marie Y. Thibault

STAFF REPORTER

The percent of students choosing to major in Chemical Biological Engineering and Nuclear Engineering have increased from previous years, while the percent of students pursuing a major in Computer Science and Engineering, Course VI-III, has continued to drop.

The numbers of declared majors in other departments have remained steady.

Of the 1,021 students in the class of 2007, 23 of these students chose to pursue a major in Chemical Biological Engineering, Course X-B. In the class of 2006, 4 students from a class of 924 students chose X-B as a major.

In addition, the Nuclear Engineering department has again attracted a much larger number of students than in the recent past. This year 20 students, about 1.9 percent of the class of 2007, declared XXII, compared to a similar percent last year and a low of about .2 percent of the class of 2004.

In the class of 2006, 6.7 percent of students chose to major in Computer Science and Engineering, Course VI-III. The major drew 44 students, or 4.3 percent, in the class of 2007.

Given that a total of 98 students in the class of 2005 chose Course VI-III, almost 10 percent of the class, this year’s numbers confirm a trend of declining interest in computer science at MIT.

Major Fair Held Earlier

The Choice of Major Fair took place yesterday, occurring during fall term for the first time ever, said Daniel W. Chapman, the event organizer.

He said the fair was held earlier because freshmen had been asking questions about spring semester classes as early as October. Holding the event in February, as before, “negated all ability to have exploratory classes,” Chapman said, referring freshmen taking a class to satisfy curiosity about a subject.

The event, sponsored by the Academic Resource Center, was less about choosing a major and more about exploring options, Chapman said. He also said that the fair helps freshmen narrow down which departmental open houses to attend later in the year.

Michael R. Price ’08 said he was “just passing through and picked up useful information.” He said that the fair helped him to decide on the classes he would like to take in the spring and next fall.