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Major declaration numbers released; Course VI most popular

Earlier this month, the Registrar released enrollment statistics for the Fall 2013, detailing the primary majors chosen by students of the sophomore class. Course VI, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, was once again the most popular primary major, accounting for 367 students, or 32 percent of the sophomore class.

Course VI is more popular than ever, seeing its enrollment increase by seventy students from 297, or about 26 percent for the Class of 2015. The department’s 6-2 and 6-3 tracks saw the largest increases, accounting for 60 of the total gain of 70 students.

“A widely held view within the department and MIT administration is that the increases are a reflection of the job market,” said Albert R. Meyer, undergraduate officer of the Department of the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. “Enrollment went down when the economic bubble burst a few years ago, and it has gone up as the market has recovered.” In past few years, EECS has increased the flexibility of its major such as adding more electives and introducing the 6-7 Master of Engineering (MEng) program.

After Course VI, Course 2 (Mechanical Engineering), had 173 students. Course 18 (Mathematics) and 18-C (Mathematics with Computer Science) was third with 115 students, followed by Course 16 (Aerospace Engineering) with 71.

This year, Course 20 (Biological engineering) and Course 8 (Physics) were just edged out by Course 16, garnering 70 students each. In previous years, Course 20 has been more popular than Course 16. Last year, 86 sophomores declared Course 20 compared to 54 for Course 16.

The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences saw its primary major enrollment fall by half, with only 21 sophomores compared to 42 from last year. Two-thirds of those students chose Course 14, Economics, as their primary major.

Other majors saw relatively small shifts. These numbers represent sophomores declaring primary majors — they are different than the number of students who will graduate in any given major as students have the opportunity to switch majors or add second majors.

—Anthony Yu