Courtesy of Yale News

With course registration now closed, students have confirmed their classes for the fall semester. In registration numbers, one department stands out from the rest: economics.  

Leading the list of Yale College’s most popular courses are Economics 115, Economics 159 and Economics 121, with 463, 339 and 336 students respectively enrolled as of Sept. 1. 

“Even if I didn’t find [Economics] 115 that interesting, I think an Economics degree leaves you open to a lot of options after graduating,” Bryson Gates ’26, who took the course last year, said. “I am still undecided about my major but am considering going into finance after school, so it might make the most sense.”

Gates speculated that for many students like him, who have not yet settled on a major, economics is particularly appealing. 

Economics 115, “Introductory Microeconomics,” also held last year’s spot as the University’s most popular course, although its total enrollment is down from 491 in fall 2022 and 503 in fall 2021. 

Economics 159, “Game Theory,” saw a roughly 40 percent increase in enrollment by welcoming 97 more students than last year, the biggest increase in enrollment for any course across the University.

“What initially drew me to the class is the aspects of it that can be applied to the business world,” Pratiksha Bhattacharyya ’26, a computer science and economics major, told the News. “I thought it would be useful to know more about strategy and topics like game theory if I want to work in business.”

The class fulfills a credit for the economics, global affairs and cognitive science majors.  

Bhattacharyya added that she is excited about the diversity of students who take the class.

“You have students that want to be politicians, doctors and financial analysts in the same room,” she said.

Economics 121, “Intermediate Microeconomics,” saw the second largest increase in enrollment, skyrocketing its 260-student fall 2022 enrollment to 336 for this semester. Registration in the course is up 41 percent since fall 2021, when the course had only 198 students enrolled. 

Economics was the most popular major for students in the graduating class of 2022, with 150 students earning the degree. The three next most popular majors were history, political science and computer science, all with 90 graduates. 

“I’m taking the class because I want to learn more about consumer theory,” Arnav Bhakta ’26 said of Economics 121. 

Bhakta, a computer science major, believes that the course will be valuable because of its “application to a wide variety of industries, such as tech.”

Faculty from the Economics Department did not respond to immediate requests for comment. 

Other classes, too, are climbing the ranks: “Introductory Machine Learning” increased its enrollment to 251, which represents a 6 percent increase from last year. 

Just four years ago, in 2019, the course enrolled only 85 enrolled students. 

Broadly speaking, the statistics and data science major has been increasing in popularity over the last decade: its number of graduates has steadily trended upward to 45 in 2022, from a measly five in 2016.

One course that has witnessed a notable decrease in enrollment is “Introduction to Psychology.” The class, which had 287 students enrolled last fall, saw its registration drop to 197 this semester. 

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Ben Raab covers faculty and academics at Yale and writes about the Yale men's basketball team. Originally from New York City, Ben is a sophomore in Pierson college pursuing a double major in history and political science.