Computer science enrollments increased for the third consecutive year at Ph.D.-granting institutions, are up 10 percent from a year ago, but are still below the peak reached in 2001, according to the Computer Research Association's (CRA's) latest annual Taulbee Survey.
The average enrollment in computer science departments was 398 students 10 years ago during the dot-com era, but that has dropped to 253 students today. "The dot-com run-up was a pretty heady time for computer science, with many students flocking to the discipline with dreams of Internet millions," says CRA director Peter Harsha. "It's hard to say whether we will see those numbers again anytime soon." Still, after reaching a low point in 2007, enrollment has steadily climbed, which Harsha attributes to the fact that computer science is an important part of many national priorities. "If you want to do work in science, engineering, health care, national security, finance, and on and on, a computing degree can be the ticket," he says.
The Taulbee Survey, which is based on responses from 195 universities, found that 12,500 students graduated with computer science degrees last year, compared to 20,677 in 2002. It also found that the number of women graduating with degrees in computer science rose to 13.8 percent in 2010, up 2.5 percent from 2009.
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