Generation CS: The Growth of Computer Science
As discussed previously, data was collected from institutions for
two types of introductory courses: an intro-level course mainly
for nonmajors and an intro-level course mainly for majors. At
doctoral-granting units, mean enrollment by nonmajors in the
representative intro-level course for nonmajors had an increase
of 55% from 2005 to 2015 ( 38 respondents). Enrollment by non-majors in the representative intro-level course for majors had a
much larger increase of 184% ( 47 respondents).
Non-doctoral granting units have also seen growth (from
2005 to 2015) in the number of nonmajors taking both types of
introductory courses. The growth, however, is somewhat less
dramatic than the growth seen at doctoral-granting units—a
25% increase in the intro-level course for nonmajors ( 13 respondents) and a 92% increase in the intro-level course for
majors ( 19 respondents). We note, however, that the sample
size is small, especially when one considers the large number of
non-doctoral granting units that exist; in other words, as mentioned previously, more study of non-doctoral granting units
is needed to fully understand the situation at the diverse set of
non-doctoral granting units.
MID-UPPER LEVEL COURSES
The growth in mid-level and upper-level courses from 2005 to
2015 due to nonmajors was also phenomenal at doctoral-granting units. Specifically, the number of nonmajors in mid-level
courses grew by 265% ( 45 respondents) and the number of non-majors in upper-level courses grew by 146% ( 44 respondents).
The growth in the number of nonmajors in mid-level
and upper-level courses from 2005 and 2015 at non-doctoral granting units was also quite dramatic. Specifically, the
number of nonmajors in mid-level courses grew by 133% ( 21
the number of nonmajors are occurring throughout the curriculum (i.e., at the introductory course level, in mid-level courses,
and in upper-level courses). Any analysis that only considers the
growth of computer science majors therefore underrepresents
the increased demand that units are trying to meet. To fully understand the demand that exists, we need to also consider the
large increase of nonmajors taking computing courses.
An overview of the nonmajor growth in computing courses,
based on courses surveyed from both doctoral- and non-doctoral granting units, can be found in Figure 10. Between 2005
and 2015, in representative courses primarily intended for majors, the number of nonmajors in computing courses increased
at a rate equal to or greater than the increase in majors. For the
intro majors course, majors increased by 152% and nonmajors
by 177%; for the mid-level course, majors increased by 152%
and nonmajors by 251%; and for the upper-level course, majors
increased by 165% and nonmajors by 143%.
In the following, we consider these increases separately for doctoral and non-doctoral granting units. Specifically, Figure 11(a) summarizes the mean enrollments of nonmajors in each course category
for doctoral-granting units, and Figure 11(b) summarizes the mean
enrollments in each course category for non-doctoral granting units.
Figure 9: IPEDS data (CIP 11.0101 and 11.0701) on CS bachelor’s degree
completions (2009-2015) for private institutions (red) and public
Figure 10: Cumulative nonmajor enrollment (red) and major enrollment
(blue) in computing courses at doctoral- and non-doctoral granting
units from 2005 to 2015. The number in parentheses in each category
indicates sample size.
Figure 11: Average enrollment by nonmajors in computing courses at
doctoral- and non-doctoral granting units from 2005 to 2015.
The number in parentheses in each category indicates sample size.
(a) Doctoral-Granting Units
(b) Non-Doctoral Granting Unit