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Sharp Increase In Computer Science University Enrollment

The number of undergraduate students majoring in computer science increased 14 percent over the last two years, reversing the steep decline in computer science enrollment experienced during the previous decade. The Computing Research Association (CRA) reported these results as part of a nationwide study of 185 major universities.

Conducted each fall since 1974, the Taulbee Survey is the principal source of information on the enrollment, production, and employment of Ph.D.s in computer science and computer engineering, and in providing salary and demographic data for faculty in those disciplines in North America. Statistics given include gender and ethnicity breakdowns.

Specific findings of the 39th annual Taulbee Survey include:

  • Total enrollment by majors in computer science is up 5.5 percent over last year; and increased 14 percent cumulatively over the previous two years, reversing a steep decline since 2002.
  • The number of new students majoring in computer science in the fall of 2009 increased by 8.5 percent over last year. Computer science graduation rates should increase in two to four years as these new students graduate.
  • Total Ph.D. degree production decreased by 6.9 percent from last year. This is the first decline in seven years, suggesting last year's total represented a recent peak in Ph.D. degree production. In total, 99 percent of recent Ph.D. graduates surveyed are employed in academic or industry computing jobs.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer science graduates earn higher than average salaries, employment growth in computer science is expected to be much faster than average, and job prospects should be excellent. The BLS also projects that computing occupations are likely to grow by 22.2 percent between now and 2018, the fastest growing cluster of all professional occupations.

The Computing Research Association is a nonprofit organization representing more than 200 university computing departments in North America as well as the research labs for major tech companies including Microsoft, Intel, and AT&T.

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