Here’s a look at course availability in Princeton’s most popular departments
This coming fall, more than half of the courses offered at Princeton will have 15 students or fewer. Computer Science remains the most in-demand department, with eight percent of all course seats on campus falling within its field. And two of the most popular certificate programs historically — visual arts and creative writing — have reduced the number of course slots they will offer, compared to this spring.
In February, The Daily Princetonian completed an analysis of course enrolments, examining the number of courses and places occupied in certain departments. Now, after registering for classes for the 2022-23 fall semester and as the campus prepares for a major expansion of the student body with the addition of New Colleges East and West, the ‘Prince’ has re-examined academic scarcity through a new lens, breaking down course offerings by size, cast requirement, and department.
Next fall, the University will offer 32,882 places in 971 classes. This semester, the University offered 31,224 places in 999 classes, compared to last fall when it offered 32,081 places in 965 classes. These figures do not include writing seminars as they are not currently visible on the Registrar’s website.
In short, the number of courses and places offered varied very little from one year to the next.
Twenty-six classes next fall have unlimited enrollment spots, including 15 in the political department. The number of places for these courses has been calculated by taking the highest number of registrations for the past year or, for new courses, taking the current registration and adding 20.
For capped courses, the University calculates course maximums based on the capacity of the classroom in which the course was taught.
“For most courses, the listed capacity is based on historical enrollment and requested room size,” university deputy spokesman Michael Hotchkiss previously wrote in an email to “Prince “. “The listed capacity is generally not a hard cap for enrollment. (The exception is seminars, which are limited in size to ensure an appropriate academic experience.)”
In the following semester, there is an abnormal number of classes with an unlimited number of places – 26. This number has not exceeded 20 since the spring semester 2019-2020, when there were 24.
Paul Lipton, associate dean of undergraduate studies at the School of Public and International Affairs, previously told The Prince that course capacities could change from year to year when faculty departures coincidentally overlap.
“The other issue is what we sometimes see is the professors’ holiday schedules, which are quite generous here at the University, which will impact the courses we offer. This will have a particular impact on compulsory courses,” he said.
The “Prince” also looked at the distribution of seats in terms of distribution requirements and class size. Nearly a quarter of the courses offered this semester – 23.6% – meet the Literature and Arts (LA) requirement. On the other hand, less than four percent of courses meet the requirements for Epistemology and Cognition (EC) or Ethical Thinking and Moral Values (EM).
The percentages do not add up to 100 for several reasons. First, not all courses meet the distribution requirements. In addition, some courses may fulfill two distribution requirements, and these are counted in the count of the two relevant requirements.
Those who like small class sizes are in luck, as classes of 15 or less consistently make up about half of the courses offered at the University. In the next semester, 53% of the courses offered fall into this category. Twenty percent have between 16 and 30 seats, 24% have more than 30 seats and 3% have unlimited seats.
Previous “Prince” reports have analyzed courses in the three most popular concentrations – Economics (ECO), Computer Science (COS) and the School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) – as well as two of the most in-demand certificate programs, visual arts (VIS) and creative writing (CWR).
In the fall, creative writing, economics and visual arts will nominally decrease the number of places offered this semester compared to the two previous semesters. COS and SPIA have slightly increased the number of open places in recent semesters.
When reviewing courses listed by multiple departments, commonly referred to as “cross-listed”, the “prince” ranked the course by the first department listed. Several teachers who spoke with the “Prince” approved of this practice.
Jeffrey Whetstone, the director of the visual arts program, told the ‘Prince’ that it will be a long time before the number of classes offered by his program can increase due to staffing limitations.
“Hiring new teachers is a long process, and we have to start there,” he said. “But we can’t just acquire new teachers and create new classes, because we don’t have the people to teach those classes. It’s a long-term problem, and it won’t be solved in a semester.
Marion Young ’00, executive director of the Lewis Arts Center, discussed how eliminating the application to creative writing courses will affect enrollments in the department.
“I think we’re going to have more people trying to sign up,” she said. “What will be interesting is what we learn about the number of students interested and unable to enter. We have taken a step towards greater inclusion. Now we have to monitor what that means for demand and how to make sure a student who is very committed to creative writing and pursuit can get in.
The table below shows the number of places offered in each concentration at the University. The departments that offer the most courses are computer science (2,555), economics (2,315) and mathematics (2,310).
The classes of 2023, 2024 and 2025 registered for classes from April 12 to April 14, and the class of 2026 will register on September 2. There are two Add/Drop periods for the upcoming semester: April 25-29 and September 6. –20.
Charlie Roth is staff news editor and assistant data editor for The Prince, focusing on local city coverage. He can be reached at [email protected] or @imcharlieroth on Twitter or Instagram.