Tag Archive: Data

  1. DATA: Yale College trends toward graduating more STEM than humanities and arts majors

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    Yale is witnessing a shift in student major preferences.

    For the first time since public records started at the Office of Institutional Research in 2000, the number of graduates in science, technology, engineering or mathematics fields has outpaced the number of Yale College arts and humanities graduates. 

    According to public records from the Office of Institutional Research, which date back to 2000, Yale has seen a consistent decline in humanities enrollment — majors like English, history and classics — since 2007, reflecting a broader national trend toward STEM.  

    In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, there appeared to be a moment of revival in the number of humanities and arts majors at Yale. The overall trend, however, still leans overwhelmingly toward STEM, and more Yale students are declaring STEM majors than ever before. 

    In the 2021-2022 academic year, registration in arts and humanities were at 320, compared to 340 and 579 in physical sciences and engineering and social science, respectively. Broadly, STEM encompasses majors like Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Computer Science and Mathematics.

    National data reflect the same trend; the National Center for Education Statistics found that the number of graduates in the humanities declined by 29.6 percent from 2012 to 2020, as students have increasingly come to view college as an investment rather than an experience.

    In part driven by a desire to attract and retain more STEM students, Yale has made landmark investments in some of its science and engineering sectors in recent years.  The University is investing $350 million in a new Physical Sciences and Engineering Building and Yale’s expansion of its School of Engineering & Applied Science is planning to add 45 new faculty members.

    In February 2022, Yale also announced plans to distinguish the School of Engineering & Applied Science faculty from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. 

    The admissions office’s keenness for prospective STEM applicants and the University’s overall institutional emphasis on STEM is not new. Nine years ago, in 2014, although the University aimed for a first-year class that consisted of 40 percent STEM majors, only about 25 percent of the class of 2014 graduated with a STEM major. 

    In 2014, responding to concerns that other higher learning institutions were offering more rigorous STEM programs, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeremiah Quinlan assured prospective students that they would not miss out on opportunities for cutting-edge research and funding opportunities if they chose Yale. 

    “If [the trend toward STEM] happens here, it’s just a sign of how bad it is in the country because you know, Yale is a great university across the board,” said Lucas Bender, the director of undergraduate studies, or DUS, for the East Asian Languages and Literatures major. “But historically, Yale’s strength has been in the humanities and the arts. It’s one of the only universities that has top-ranked music programs, drama and opera programs.”

    Bender said that applicants often self-select when they choose Yale. He gave the example of someone having a choice between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Yale, commenting that if the applicant were a science person, they would probably have chosen MIT. However, the increasing emphasis on STEM at Yale reflects much larger national trends that merit further exploration, he added. 

    Another reason for these patterns, according to Bender, is economics — he said that students with art or humanities degrees may be concerned that they will not get high enough paying jobs to cover the costs of college.

    But an overall trend within arts and humanities does not necessarily reflect individual trends on a major and degree basis. According to former art DUS Lisa Kereszi the number of art majors increased from 2013 to 2023. She cited the eradication of course fees and a surge in interest in “self-expression” and “artmaking” as a possible cultural reaction to current events and the political landscape. This in turn could have driven increases in art majors, she explained.  

    The options and flexibility offered by double majors might also explain the rise of STEM. According to Kereszi, there were more arts major students who also had another major last year than ever before: about 40 percent in 2022-2023, compared to the usual 25 to 30 percent, she said. Bender echoed that students who are double majoring have a high tendency to choose humanities as their second if their first is STEM-oriented. 

    Some students remain hopeful about the future of arts and humanities at Yale, calling attention to the importance of studying what speaks to one’s interests.

    “While there is a place for the pre-professional, I find it more rewarding to study our intrinsic humanity through the words and deeds of the world’s greatest thinkers, and seek the roots of the beauty of our shared culture,” said Camillo Padulli, ’25, who is majoring in history. “Yale has traditionally been a nexus for learning about the classic tenets of high Western civilization, and I would feel loath to miss out on that.”

    In 1861, Yale conferred the first doctorate of philosophy ever awarded in the United States.

  2. MEN’S HOCKEY: Looking back at a decade of Yale Hockey

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    In the past 10 years, Yale men’s ice hockey has built an impressive trophy case, filled with NCAA, ECAC and Ivy League accolades. Its resume over the past decade boasts a 2013 National Championship, two consecutive NCAA regional finals and an ECAC Championship. It also includes a regular season title and four Ivy League championships. Formed in 1893 — it is the oldest existing intercollegiate ice hockey program in the country — the program has ascended into a powerhouse with head coach Keith Allain ’80 at the helm.

    The hockey players’ professional journeys highlight the team’s continued success. In the program’s 127-year history, 20 players have suited up in the NHL — seven of those players did so in the last decade of graduates alone. Although the players have a wide range of professional career paths in hockey after leaving the University, they most commonly end up playing for international leagues.

    “We place a great emphasis on player development here in our hockey program,” Allain said. “Drafted or not, many of our guys are working to play professional hockey after they graduate, either here in North America or in Europe or Asia. Our young men are passionate about their sport and work extremely hard each and every day to maximize their abilities and our program is designed to foster that.”

    A chart depicting players’ career trajectories in hockey over time (Data visualization by Akshar Agarwal)

    Of the 74 graduates in the past decade, 25 elected to forego professional hockey careers. While only two players played in the NHL directly after graduation, many others started in other leagues: 20 in the ECHL, 13 in the AHL, 10 in international leagues and two in the CHL. Two players transferred to other NCAA institutions.

    The first destinations of Yale men’s hockey players following graduation (Data visualization by Akshar Agarwal)

    There is no typical professional hockey journey for Yale grads. While some players spent four or more years in various international leagues, others bounced around between minor leagues before skating in the NHL. Only center John Hayden ’17 and winger Kenny Agostino ’14 went to the NHL without first playing in the minor leagues. Both were Hobey Baker candidates, and the latter remains the most decorated defenseman in Yale’s history.

    “Playing in the NHL is a privilege,” Hayden told the News in 2017. “It’s a lot different than college — more games and more travel — but it’s a lot of fun.”

    Now entering his fifth year in the NHL, Hayden attributed his direct jump to the national league to “patience and consistency with development.”

    “Two years at Brunswick, two years in Ann Arbor with NTDP and four years at Yale, plus all of the off-seasons in between, were a necessary prerequisite for professional hockey,” Hayden told the News on Monday. “I had plenty of support and guidance from Keith Allain and his staff. I think the combination of hockey, academics and a diverse social life at Yale helped me mature and become more well-rounded.”

    A bar graph describing the current status of Yale hockey players who played in leagues after their time as Bulldogs (Data visualization by Akshar Agarwal)

    Data from the past decade of professional hockey outcomes for Yale grads shows that the most popular destination for Yalies is some form of international play, following stints in the American minor leagues.

    Forward Mark Arcobello ’10, who has been playing professionally for a decade, has had stints in the ECHL, AHL, NHL and now suits up in the Swedish NL. He has also represented the United States in various international contests.

    “After going up and down between the AHL and NHL for five years, I decided I wanted a more stable environment to play in,” Arcobello told the News. “My first year in Switzerland was the most fun I’ve had playing pro hockey … I am able to spend a lot of time with my wife, Mollie, and son, Hunter, since we do not travel very far for games. My success hockey-wise was just a bonus.”

    The NHL is widely regarded as the pinnacle of hockey competition. Although Yale has seen some success at that level, former Bulldogs generally prefer to don international sweaters. Of the 10 grads currently playing internationally, most are scattered across Europe: Destinations include Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Slovakia and Sweden. Yale currently has multiple NHL prospects, both in the minors and still in college. Current Bulldogs who have been drafted to NHL teams are Boston Bruins forward Curtis Hall ’22, Edmonton Oilers captain and defenseman Phil Kemp ’21 and Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Jack St. Ivany ’22.

    While the current team will have to wait until the 2021-22 season to get back on the ice for competition, this generation of Yale hockey is committed to working hard and improving, according to Allain. Whether players are pursuing a professional career post-graduation or not, Allain said that each of the Bulldogs is committed, competitive and extremely passionate about the sport.

    Last March, the Blue and White’s ECAC run was cut short due to the pandemic after an OT winner in the deciding game over Union.

    Correction, Dec. 1: A previous version of this article mistakenly stated that Hayden and O’Gara were the only two Yale grads to play in the NHL immediately after graduation. However, O’Gara played in the AHL prior to playing for the Bruins and Kenny Agostino played for the Calgary Flames immediately after graduating from Yale.

    Akshar Agarwal | akshar.agarwal@yale.edu

    Alessa Kim-Panero | alessa.kim-panero@yale.edu