Majors at Brandeis: where do you stand?

March 13, 2020

Brandeis is known for having a large number of students with multiple majors and minors. It was not until 2017, however, that double majors were more common than single majors, with 49.4 percent and 45.9 percent respectively. Triple majors only accounted for 4.6 percent that year. Since then, the amount of double and triple majors continued to increase while the amount of single majors decreased, with the low in 2018 at 40.5 percent. The Class of 2019 had the largest number of triple majors at 5.2 percent.  

From 2010, which is the farthest back the data on the Brandeis website goes, there were an average of 866 bachelor’s degrees awarded, with the high being 957 in 2015, and a low of 777 in 2011. Through the decade, there have been more Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degrees awarded than Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees, with B.A.s averaging 667, and B.S.s averaging only 199. However there is an increasing trend in the Bachelor of Science degrees, with 242 awarded in 2019, in comparison to 128 awarded in 2010. 

Latin honors are used in some colleges and universities, including Brandeis, to show the level of distinction that the student with the degree has earned. According to the Brandeis website, at Brandeis Latin honors are determined solely by a student’s final grade-point average (GPA). They include Cum laude (with praise) for those with a 3.5 GPA, Magna cum laude (with great praise) for those with a 3.7 and Summa cum laude (with highest praise) for those with a GPA of 3.8 or higher, but only if “the student also is awarded departmental honors.” The overall trend has been an increase, with the class of 2019 being the highest, with 58.2 percent of the graduating class receiving Latin Honors. The average over the decade is 53.8 percent, while low is 49.2 percent in 2014.   

In terms of undergraduate degrees by division, social sciences has been the most popular division with an average of 780 students per year and a high of 890 students in 2015. Science has been the second most popular division, doubling in size from 2010 to 2019, from 210 to 420 respectively, with an average of 329 students per year. Science has a growing trend. Humanities, which started off with more students than science, with 223 in 2010, has been decreasing to 129 in 2019, with a low of 112 in 2018. The average number of students with humanities degrees is 155. Creative arts remained fourth throughout the decade, with an average of 48 students per year, a low of 41 in 2019 and a high of 65 in 2012. Independent Interdisciplinary Majors (IIM) have been the least common in the past decade, with an average of nine students per year, and a high of 15 in 2016. 

In terms of majors, economics has been the most popular major at Brandeis in the last decade, falling second only to biology between 2013 and 2015, with an average of 143 people majoring in economics. The highest number of students with an economics major was in 2019, with 188 students, which accounted for 23.4 percent of the graduating class. Biology has consistently been the second most popular major at Brandeis, only falling to third place in 2016 to business. The business major, which only began in 2011 with 34 students, has been placing third since 2016, which is also when it was at its high with 145 students, where it tied for the most popular major of the year with economics. Before the creation of the business major, psychology was consistently the third most popular major, falling into fourth place after 2016. Majors that placed after fourth place appear to change depending on the year. 

The least popular majors at Brandeis include: Biological Physics, German Studies, Comparative Language and Literature, Spanish Language and Literature, Russian Studies, Russian Language and Literature, Italian Studies and Hebrew Language and Literature. All of these majors have had years in the past decade where there wasn’t a single person graduating with the major. Russian Studies has had the most graduates with 26, and a high of five students each in 2014 and 2015. Biological Physics has the second highest amount with 25 students since 2010, with a high of seven in 2015 and 2017. Comparative Language and Literature has had 17 graduates, but has had a decreasing trend, with only two people graduating with the major since 2015. Italian Studies has had 18 students majoring in it, with no one majoring in it since 2014, when it had four graduates. Nine people graduated with a degree in Herbrew Language and Literature, one less than German Studies, which had 10 graduates in the last decade. Spanish Language and Literature and Russian Language and Literature have only had one person graduate in the last decade. Russian Language and Literature, Italian Studies and Herbrew Language and Literature have not had a student graduate with the respective degree since 2014.

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