Wilson School sees big drop in sophomore concentrators, economics receives most in social sciences| Apr 22, 2015
Three hundred sixty-three sophomores declared concentrations in the social sciences as of Wednesday, compared to 393 at the same time last year.
The most dramatic change was the decline in Woodrow Wilson School enrollment, from 155 last year to 109 this year.
Wilson School departmental representative David Wilcove deferred comment to undergraduate program administrator Jan Burch, who declined to comment.
Charles Kanoff ’17, who is concentrating in the Wilson School, was also considering ecology and evolutionary biology, A.B. computer science and economics when finalizing his choice of major.
“I was very undecided on my major up until the last moments," Kanoff said. "The Woodrow Wilson School lets me take classes in all of the departments I was considering majoring in, while also getting to learn about current relevant problems through the independent work."
Quentin Becheau ’17, another Woodrow Wilson concentrator, noted that the program aligns with his career aspirations, which are potentially to work with North Atlantic Treaty Organization or with the French Ministry of Defense or Foreign Affairs.
“I chose [the Wilson School] because the department provides access to incredible resources from faculty to seminars and conferences that are not necessarily offered by the department of Politics, the other I considered,” he noted.
Sixty-eight sophomores are politics concentrators, Adam Meirowitz, acting chair of the politics department, said, compared to 70 politics concentrators at this time last year.
"We do observe that the count is rough at this point," Meirowitz noted. "Some students declare after the deadline."
A politics concentrator, Kathy Chow ’17, explained she was attracted to the politics department over the Wilson School by the specificity of academic programs offered by the politics department.
“I realized that my main passion was ethics, political theory and American politics, so it made a lot of sense for me to join the Politics Department with a Values and Public Life Certificate,” Chow said. “I think concentrating in a specific field like politics, as opposed to WWS, which is a lot broader, allows you the unique opportunity to really dive into one field and know it really, really well.”
There are 34 new sociology concentrators, sociology departmental representative Robert Wuthnow said. Forty-two declared at this time last year, but Wuthnow noted he had a different final count from last year of 37.
"[We're] just where we want to be," Wuthnow said. Despite the stable numbers for the sociology department, the department experienced significant growth from two years ago when only 22 sophomores declared a sociology concentration.
The social sciences major with the largest concentration was economics at 130, which is up from 112 last year.
Economics professor Uwe Reinhardt explained that the number of economics concentrators isn’t unusual, as the department has grown increasingly popular in recent years.
“Students see that it is a portal to go to Wall Street,” Reinhardt said, explaining that after the economic crisis of 2008, firms on Wall Street became more selective in hiring and recruitment, placing greater demands on a candidate’s quantitative skills.
Anthropology saw 22 concentrators this year, only one more than the number of sophomores who declared last year.