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Growth of Computer Science Undergraduate Enrollments

Project Information

An ad hoc committee will examine potential responses to the current large influx of undergraduate students enrolling in computing and computer science (CS) courses in 4-year institutions. This study will investigate the following:

• Current and projected patterns of enrollment in undergraduate courses in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, and Information (within undergraduate Information Schools), including an analysis of the factors that have driven recent growth and may drive future growth. Data will be disaggregated by type of 4-year institution (e.g. top 50, R-1). The study will include an analysis of enrollment patterns among CS/CE/Information majors and minors and STEM and non-STEM majors taking service courses offered by CS/CE/Information departments or enrolling in CS/CE/Information courses on an elective basis. A primary goal of this effort is to determine whether the recent increases in enrollment are similar to other cyclic fluctuations that have occurred in the past or whether they are more likely to be sustained.

• Strategies that various institutions are using to respond most effectively to enrollment growth while maintaining or enhancing course access as well as the quality of instruction, considered by type of college or university. The study will examine the impacts those strategies are having on CS/CE/Information departments in terms of, for example, faculty and graduate student hiring and workload (including non-CS faculty), student retention, and support for the needs of different categories of students (such as non-CS majors, CS minors, STEM majors, and non-STEM majors).

• In addition, it will look at the impact of enrollment growth on efforts to increase the enrollment of women and under-represented minorities in CS/CE/Information courses and degree programs, as well as on strategies for retaining those students in the CS/CE/Information field and encouraging their pathways toward graduate degrees and careers in related fields.

The committee will produce a report with findings and recommendations, as well as questions for additional research.

The committee would like to hear from you.  If you would like to comment on this study, you may send your comments to

Project Links  

Project Scope, Timeline, Meetings and Sponsors

August 15, 2016-Workshop on the Growth of Computer Science Undergraduate Enrollments

Committee Membership

Jared L. Cohon, Co-Chair, Carnegie Mellon University
Susanne E. Hambrusch, Co-Chair, Purdue University
M. Brian Blake, Drexel University
Tracy Camp, Colorado School of Mines
David E. Culler, University of California, Berkeley
Susan B. Davidson, University of Pennsylvania
Brian K. Fitzgerald, Business-Higher Education Forum
Ann Q. Gates, The University of Texas at El Paso
Charles Isbell, Georgia Institute of Technology
Clas Jacobsen, United Technologies Corporation
Michael McPherson, The Spencer Foundation
Eric Roberts, Stanford University
Valerie Taylor, Texas A&M University
Jodi Tims, Baldwin-Wallace College
Sarah E. Turner, University of Virginia

CSTB Staff

Emily Grumbling,  Program Officer
Janel Dear, Senior Program Assistant
Jon Eisenberg, CSTB Director

BHEW Staff

 Tom Rudin, BHEW Director