CS Enrollments on the Rise, Up 10% in 2011-12

Interest in computer science continues to grow among undergraduates, according to a survey conducted by the Computing Research Association (CRA). The number of students pursuing computer science majors rose nearly 10% in the 2011-2012 academic year, marking the fourth straight year of increases.

The numbers might have been higher had it not been for enrollment caps that some schools set because they don't have enough faculty members, equipment or classrooms to meet demand, said the CRA.

"We don't have a way to gauge how many students wanted to be admitted," said Peter Harsha, the CRA's director of government affairs. The association reported a 10% enrollment gain last year as well.

This trend is in sharp contrast to the state of affairs after the dot-com bubble burst in 2001. As dot-com fever built, so did enrollments in computer science programs at Ph.D.-granting institutions, the only schools that the CRA surveys. Average enrollments had risen to 400 computer science students at the height of the bubble; by 2006-2007, that figure had fallen to around 200.

Today's enrollments average is around 300 students per program, the CRA said.

This version of this story was originally published in Computerworld's print edition. It was adapted from an article that appeared earlier on Computerworld.com.

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