West Virginia University’s Eberly College of Arts and Sciences has experienced dramatic growth in total enrollments by major in the face of challenges resulting from state-imposed budget cuts.
Eberly College has seen an increase of 950 undergraduate majors in total enrollment from the fall 1999 to fall 2003, with the total number of students in majors rising from 5,512 to 6,313 in the last four years. Several degree programs have seen great expansion, including international studies, forensic and investigative science, communication studies, English, psychology, and sociology and anthropology.
Psychology, the college’s largest and most popular degree program, has nearly reached 800 majors. The forensic and investigative science program has nearly quadrupled in size since 1999. The international studies program has more than doubled. The largest increases in graduate programs have been in mathematics and social work.
“These dramatic increases reflect the recognition of many students of the value of a liberal arts and sciences education, at the same time that students respond to the changing needs of society,”said M. Duane Nellis, dean.
Student credit hours, which reflect the courses all WVU students enroll in, have also seen a major increase, including a 7 percent jump in the past year alone. That increase translates into about 5,300 additional seats in classes for students. For a 30 seat class, that translates into some 176 new class sections needed to respond to enrollment growth at WVU .
Since 1997, the English, foreign languages, mathematics and communication studies classes have been the most dominant during the fall semesters. However, biology joined the top three this year. During the spring semesters, mathematics, English and communication studies have the highest numbers of student credit hours. Spanish is the most popular area of study in foreign languages, with French and German following.
Eberly College departments and programs teach the majority of general education courses and historically have led the way in the number of student credit hours. All WVU students eventually enroll in Eberly College classes, with the college providing almost 60 percent of the instruction at WVU .