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Universities Can't Accommodate All the Computer Science Majors


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computer science classroom visible through a keyhole

At certain colleges, students who do not score high enough in introductory computer science courses cannot declare it as their major.

Credit: Justin Morrison / Inside Higher Ed

Universities are introducing restrictions in the hope of capping the number of students majoring in computer science.

The rise in demand for CS has caused many programs significant strife. Class sizes, especially for upper-level courses, are ballooning; some students are unable to get seats in their desired courses. And while departments can add faculty to accommodate increased demand, financial limitations — coupled with the fact that most computer science Ph.D.s can make far more in industry — complicate that effort.

Instead, many institutions have resorted to limiting enrollment or taken other measures. One is to set a minimum GPA for introductory CS courses and only allow students who meet it to continue on in the major.

The University of Maryland, with 3,760 computer science students currently enrolled, first sought to limit the number of CS majors in 2019 by making it a "limited engagement program," in which incoming freshmen had to successfully complete three gateway courses and meet certain grading levels. Non-freshmen changing their major to computer science would have to complete the same introductory courses and have a 2.7 GPA over all.

The strategy made no dent in the numbers. Now the requirements are becoming even more stringent, at least for some.

From Inside Higher Ed
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