Story | Wisha Jamal, Managing Editor. Aryan Chhabra, Managing Editor Graphs | Avani Adhikari, Editor in Chief
With 228 students declaring their majors, the major declaration exercise for the Yale-NUS College Class of 2022 concluded last semester amid a time marked with uncertainty due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Continuing the trend from last year, the number of students joining each major followed the same distribution pattern. While Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) experienced a minor increase in enrollment from last year, Mathematical, Computational and Statistical Sciences (MCS) continued to receive fewer declarations with only 24 students declaring into the major. This is substantially less than the 33 students for the Class of 2020. Economics replaced MCS as the second most popular major with 27 declarations and an impressive 44% increase compared to last year. With a 141% increase, the Literature major witnessed the fastest growth of all majors with 19 students declaring this year.
Global Affairs, with an impressive increase of almost 70% (20 declarations in the Class of 2022 as compared to 12 declarations in the Class of 2021), has grown to be the fourth most popular major for the cohort (along with Environmental Studies) after being one of the most unpopular majors (7 declarations) just two years ago for the Class of 2020.
The Physical Sciences major continues to surprise. After being one of the biggest winners for the Class of 2021 with an increase of 151%, the Physical Sciences major witnessed a drop of almost 50%, which is the biggest decrease among any major.
The Arts and Humanities major, which used to be the second most popular major for the Class of 2019, has now become the least popular major for the Class of 2022, along with Philosophy and Physical Sciences. With the exception of Literature, almost all the other humanities majors witnessed a drop in enrollment. While the percentage of students who declared into humanities majors increased slightly from 15% last year to 17% this year, it is still a far cry from the 25.2% witnessed for the Class of 2017. On the other hand, the social science majors continue to be the most popular faculty, recording a two percentage increase from last year and capturing well over half of all major declarations. The science faculty, recording slightly over 17% of the Class of 2022 received the largest drop of any faculty with an almost 5% decrease from last year.
An impressive 156 students or almost 70% of all students participating in the major declaration exercise declared a minor. It is interesting to note that while Arts and Humanities is the least popular major for the Class of 2022, it is the most popular minor with over 20 students signing up. On the other hand, the Physical Sciences is one of the least popular minors, which broadly keeps in line with trends in major declarations. The demand for minors in social science seems to be robust with courses such as Economics, Global Affairs, Psychology, and Urban Studies receiving 10 or more declarations each.
With the world experiencing one of the biggest economic downturns since the Great Depression and research suggesting that recessions lead to decrease in demand for humanities and increase in STEM enrollment, next year’s major declaration statistics will be particularly interesting to see. Will Yale-NUS buck this trend? Only time will tell.