According to the Chronicle news blog, computer science enrollment is down by half since 2000.
…undergraduate enrollment in computer-science programs had fallen to half of what it was in 2000 (15,958 to 7,915, to be exact).
But according to Inside Higher Ed, the computer science major has rebounded!
For the first time since 2000, the number of newly declared undergraduate majors at doctoral-granting computer science departments is up.
They have a table that shows enrollment for the last 7 years. 2006 does look like the nadir, though it’s a bit soon to tell if the 2007 number is the beginning of an upward swing, or just an anomaly.
Whatever the enrollment trend, we know this:
Martin said, quoting some of her student recruiting ambassadors: “This is geek chic. Our students are getting sexy jobs. Computer science is the new sexy.”
It would be interesting to look at the data for the last decade or so broken out by gender. WEPAN’s site doesn’t include enrollment data for computer science. However, computer engineering data is available from 1996 to 2006.
Though total enrollment in computer engineering grew from 1996 to 2001, the percentage of women remained virtually unchanged. Beginning in 2001, total enrollment declined. Enrollment of females in computer engineering as a percentage went from about 16.0% in 2001 to 11.7% in 2006. When the data is broken down by race, you see a similar trend for women in every group.
Looking at NSF data, total enrollment in all engineering majors rose steadily over the same time period, beginning to decline in 2004. But the percentage of women declined from a peak of about 19.7% in 1998 to 17.2% in 2005.
According to both NSF and the Computing Research Association, the actual number of degrees awarded in computer science increased from 1995 to 2004. That’s where the NSF data ends; the CRA data shows a steep decline beginning in 2003/2004. The percentage of degrees awarded to women declined, however, from 1995 to 2004, from 28.5% to 25.1%. This is the continuation of a trend that began in the mid-1980s, which was the high point for women in computer science.
So much for the slow, steady progress over time theory.