Intro to Computer Science overtakes Econ as Harvard’s most popular class

September 11, 2014, 7:20 PM UTC
Harvard banners hang outside Memorial Church on the Harvard
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 03: Harvard banners hang outside Memorial Church on the Harvard University campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S., on Friday, Sept. 4, 2009. Community activists in Allston, a section of Boston across the Charles River from Harvard's main campus in Cambridge, say university delays have left a (Photo by Michael Fein/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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The college campus that once (briefly) hosted future tech luminaries Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg as students is now overrun with tech-curious scholars.

The most popular fall-semester course at Harvard is “Introduction to Computer Science I,” according to data put out by the school’s registrar’s office, with almost 820 undergraduates enrolled in the class this semester. That total is the highest in the three decades the course has been offered and it’s the biggest class offered at Harvard in at least a decade, according to The Harvard Crimson.

Most interesting, though, is that the course has supplanted “Introduction to Economics” as the Ivy League school’s most popular course, as the Econ class came in second with just over 700 enrollees after topping Intro to Comp Sci last spring. It seems to be part of a trend at the country’s oldest university, where the number of students concentrating in Computer Science recently jumped 78% over five years, from 86 students in 2008 to 153 in 2013, the Crimson says.

Harvard students are wise to identify Computer Science as an area of study with a growing importance, according to Harry Lewis, Harvard’s director of undergraduate studies for Computer Science. “They have figured out that in pretty much every area of study, computational methods and computational thinking are going to be important to the future,” Lewis told the Crimson. Of course, it’s also possible that the school’s current student body has ambitions to follow in the footsteps of certain successful techies who once roamed the same Harvard halls.