Biology continues as College of Science and Engineering most popular major


Biology is the most popular major among students in the College of Science and Engineering. According to Heidi Mahon, director of student services of the college, 730 students enrolled in the program in the Fall 2016 semester.

Mahon said biology has been the most popular major for three consecutive years within the CSE. In the 2015-16 academic year, a total of 1,003 biology students were enrolled, and 1,239 students in 2014-15.

Biology Chair Tracy Galarowicz said students are attracted to biology because it covers a wide variety of topics.

“We attract students that are interested in pre-professional majors- that will prepare them for medical school, dental school, veterinary school, or (if) they’re interested in going into biomedical research,” she said.

Galarowicz also said biology is appealing to students who are interested in conservation and ecology.

“I think it’s something that’s relatable, too,” she said, “The (students) want to know about the human body or the environment around them and how things work.”

Sterling Heights senior Anna Rooney said she is pursuing a career in the field of biology because she feels passionate about conserving the earth and hopes to reverse the destruction of humanity's impact.

“I have always been passionate about wildlife and the outdoors, and wanted to be surrounded by people who cared more about the Earth than money,” she said.

Mahon said the dip in overall enrollment across the university is part of the reason biology enrollment has decreased 37.4 percent since last year. Low enrollment is a current trend across all Michigan universities, she said.

However, Mahon added, enrollment numbers might not accurately reflect the amount of student involvement in specific programs, Mahon said, because it only counts students who have officially signed their major.

“The problem I see at CMU is that we don’t require our students to declare a major until the end of their sophomore year,” she said, “that is way too late.”

Because students are not required to sign a major until their junior year, enrollment numbers do not account for freshmen or sophomore students.

“From the administrator’s point of view we need to know who’s interested in the majors so we have enough classes,” Mahon said. “Even though (students) can change their mind, they’re afraid of the commitment. I think it’s something we should move to the freshman year, because they can always change it.”