Psychology among the top 5 hottest majors at UW–Madison

Higher education is constantly evolving to reflect the changing interests of students and specialized needs of employers. At UW–Madison, the majors with the greatest enrollment growth are a good barometer of the university’s responsiveness to these trends.

“Student demand plays a major role,” says Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs John Karl Scholz. “But it is also the case that the leadership, staff and faculty of the schools and colleges are constantly revising curriculum to improve and adapt.”

The undergraduate majors adding the most students from fall 2018 to fall 2022 are:

No. 1: Data Science (+914 since inception in 2019)

“Our world increasingly depends on data and computing to produce knowledge and to make decisions, and we have seen an intense demand from students for these skills,” says Yazhen Wang, professor and chair of the Department of Statistics. Both Data Science and Computer Sciences reside in the School of Computer, Data and Information Sciences (CDIS), formed in 2019 to combine existing programs in statistics, computer sciences and the iSchool with new offerings in emerging fields.

No. 2: Computer Sciences (+642)

“We are proud to not only have one of the fastest growing majors, but also the largest,” said Computer Sciences Department Chair Remzi Arpaci-Dusseau. “The key is to ensure a positive experience for every student looking to gain the skills need to succeed in the digital age. To do so, we’ve redeveloped our entry level courses and hired more teaching faculty, advisors and staff.”

No. 3: Consumer Behavior and Marketplace Studies (+410 over the previous Retailing and Consumer Behavior major)

“Today’s students are seeking not only lucrative jobs, but also work they find meaningful and fulfilling,” says Annette McDaniel, associate dean for undergraduate education and innovation in the School of Human Ecology. “Our program is attracting students who want to positively influence global commerce and technology from a people-first perspective, blending business, analytics and technology with creativity and empathy.”

No. 4: Psychology (+363)

“Psychologists are in demand as mental health continues to be a concern worldwide. But Psychology is an incredibly versatile major, offering our students the skills needed to flourish in a variety of careers from health care to law, business, teaching, conservation and so much more,” says Allyson Bennett, psychology professor and chair of the psychology department.

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