Period of transition: Stanford computer science rethinks core curriculum

I heard from Mehran Sahami, Eric Roberts, and Steve Cooper at the ACM Education Council meeting that CS is now the largest undergraduate major at Stanford. That’s pretty exciting, but not really too surprising. The Silicon Vally entrepreneurial atmosphere is palatable, even with my short visit there in March. This is an interesting piece on the revision that Stanford is making to its undergraduate CS curriculum.

Though computer science enrollments are up in general nationwide, owing much to the success of social and mobile applications like Facebook and Instagram, Stanford is outpacing the broader trend. The program has seen an 83 percent increase in enrollment in its first two years, and computer science has become the largest major on campus. In the 2011-12 academic year, the department broke the all-time record for students declaring computer science as their major: More than 220 students in that one class alone chose to major in computer science, a 25 percent leap from the previous record in 2000-01.

“We were surprised at the level of interest and the speed at which the community responded,” said Sahami. “Today, more than 90 percent of all Stanford undergrads take at least one computer science course. It’s pretty astounding.”

Deepa Singh
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