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Major counts, more or less (#1249)

Topics/tags: Grinnell, data

For the past few months, I’ve been telling colleagues in other departments that we have approximately 80 majors in the class of 2025 [1]. The other day, I decided to get the real number. Assuming that our directory software is correct [2,3], we currently have 81 CS majors in the class of 2025. Whoops. Checking today, I found 80. If history tells us anything, we’ll add a few more before the class graduates.

A few days later, I said to myself [4], We usually graduate about 400 students each year; does that mean that one in five students in the class of 2025 is a CS major?

Soon thereafter, I decided to check that assumption. Once again, assuming our directory software is correct, we currently have 468 students in the class of 2025 [5]. That’s significantly more than I expected. I forgot about the pandemic bump. In any case, slightly more than 1/6 of the students in the class of 2025 are CS majors. Of course, some of them are double majors. Still, 80 is a scary number as is 1/6.

As I said, 468 seemed high. How many students are in the class of 2024? Only 368, if the directory is to be trusted [6]. That’s the other half of the pandemic bump. Perhaps we should call it the pandemic dip. How many are CS majors? 62 [7,8]. Slightly more than 1/6. If I recall correctly, we had about 1/6 of the students in the class of 2023, too.

Who else has a bunch in the class of 2025? Let’s see … Psychology has 55 [9]. Biology has 41. Biological Chemistry has 40. Whoo! We have almost as many as both of those majors, combined! Sociology has 51. Economics has 58. Those are the larger majors that come to mind [10].

Yeah, 80 is a lot.

[1] Isn’t that a terrifying number? I’m pretty sure that it’s by far the largest class year in a major since I’ve been at Grinnell.

[2] Not the best assumption; the Microsoft directory software has many bugs.

[3] I’m told we’ll soon get new software for listing majors, software written in Power BI.

[4] Or did I ask myself?

[5] You might call students in the class of 2025 juniors. We aren’t supposed to use that term at Grinnell. They are third years or third-year students.

[6] I worry a bit that the numbers differ by exactly 100.

[7] You’ve probably figured out the disclaimer by now.

[8] Strange. We seemed to have 64 a few days ago. As I said, I don’t know if you can trust the Microsoft directory software. We may also have had two students go on leave.

[9] Please insert the disclaimer for all further numbers.

[10] Here’s the complete (or nearly-complete) list. I hope I haven’t missed any department. Can you tell I’m avoiding my more substantive work?

  • Anthropology: 11
  • Art History: 5
  • Biological Chemistry: 40
  • Biology: 41
  • Chemistry: 16
  • Chinese [11]: 4
  • Classics: 4
  • Computer Science: 80
  • Economics: 58
  • English: 28
  • French [12]: 12
  • Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies: 18
  • General Science: 4
  • German Studies: 2
  • History: 22
  • Mathematics [14]: 26
  • Music: 1
  • Philosophy: 10
  • Physics: 26
  • Political Science: 34
  • Psychology: 55
  • Religious Studies: 7
  • Russian: 2
  • Sociology: 51
  • Spanish: 15
  • Studio Art: 10
  • Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies [15]: 3

[11] It’s listed as Chinese and Japanese on Grinnell’s list of majors and Concentrations, but I think that’s incorrect. We have a Chinese and Japanese department, but the major is only in Chinese. I believe there’s a plan to add a Japanese major.

[12] It’s listed as French and Arabic on Grinnell’s list of majors and Concentrations, but I think that’s incorrect. We have a French and Arabic department, but the major is only for French.

[14] Bucking the trend of the previous two departments, our Department of Mathematics and Statistics is correctly listed as having only a major in Mathematics. There is, however, a concentration in Statistics.

[15] Listed as Theatre, Dance, Prfrmnc Stdies in the directory.

Version 1.0 of 2023-08-11.